Access to finance for small businesses

I was intrigued by details of the Governments Small Business Enterprise & Employment Bill this week - in which one recommendation is to introduce measures to help businesses that have been turned down for Finance by their Bank.

The underlying aim of it, is to explore alternative sources of Funding after a Bank has said “NO” – and to put the responsibility on the Bank to make sure they sign-post you to it.

In reality, this is likely to be more bureaucratic red-tape via a Government managed ‘platform’, another process box for the Banks’ to tick and an added paragraph to their standard Decline letter – and I suspect it will add little by way of real comfort to the Business owner.

I always recommend clients to approach their own Bank as the ‘first port of call’ – but would much rather see pro-active awareness raising of alternative sources of funding ( that are already there !!) so that a range of options can be explored before going to the Bank like:

  • Peer to peer lending
  • Crowd-funding
  • Regional Growth Fund Grants
  • The Start-Up Loan Scheme
  • The Business Finance Partnership
  • Business Angel Co- Investment fund
  • Asset Finance
  • Invoice Finance
  • Import Finance
  • GLE One London finance
  • Start up Loans up to £5k
  • £5k Loans for Croydon Businesses running for 6 - 12 months
  • Unsecured Business Loans £10k - £50k
  • Merton Business loans £10k- £20k
  • Wandsworth Business loans £10k - £22k

The most important thing is to do your ‘homework’ (and we can help with this if needed)

  • Prepare a ‘viability Plan’ with as much financial info as possible
  • Explore several funding options, and differentiate between capital expenditure funding and cashflow funding
  • Present your proposition in a “Lender friendly” format – and try to anticipate any questions they may ask.

The Governments Business Support Helpline has also improved a bit in the last 12 months. When I last checked it out, the “Advisor” couldn’t actually give any advice but could do a great job of signposting me to the Govt website for more information and fact sheets - ie no real help at all !!

This time, I got the same “Advisor” that couldn’t advise – BUT he could now book me in for a free one hour chat on the phone with an Advisor, who could apparently discuss all business related issues…so it is going in the right direction at last.

My advice is “GIVE THEM A CALL” and actually check them out. If you don’t get any joy RING US on 0845 260 0101 we have offices in Croydon, Bournemouth and London and can definitely help.
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