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Could Easier Cash Flow be Closer than You Think?

Paul Spencer, director at Haworths Chartered Accountants, discusses the funding opportunities available to small businesses

“It’s been a tough few years for small businesses. While the failure rate for new start ups is significant, the difference since the financial crash in 2007/8 has been that many small companies with a sound business model, established customer base and years of success under their belts have also struggled to survive.


“The pressure has come from both sides of the investment and sales cycle.  For both consumer and business-to-business based companies, the customer’s reluctance to spend has led to reduced sales, reduced margins and greater competition.  In many sectors, notably construction, the issue of late payment has also caused cash flow difficulties, which have increased the strain on small businesses still further.


“Meanwhile, despite Government programmes and political rhetoric aimed at releasing capital from the banks, the reluctance of traditional lenders to increase lines of credit or even maintain them at pre-recession levels have also put many businesses in jeopardy.


“However…there is good news on the horizon! Not only is the economy showing permanent signs of recovery (even in the regions!) but sources of funding for small businesses are growing.


“The reason behind this is that the investor groups, private individuals, business angels and asset finance companies that have traditionally focused their activities at the medium end of the SME spectrum are keen to spread their interests…and their risk.


“As a result, many want to get involved with smaller companies that can demonstrate innovative products or services, a viable business plan and a dynamic approach to achieving their goals.


“While this type of funding may often involve relinquishing a percentage of company ownership, it’s worth remembering that you may benefit from an injection of business expertise as well as cash, making private finance doubly valuable without the spectre of loan repayments or the threat of interest rate rises.


“Identifying and securing this type of funding may be easier than you think too, with private investors working closely with chartered accountants to gain introductions to new prospects. So, if your business needs a cash injection to help it make the most of the economic recovery, don’t assume that the bank is the only door you should be knocking on.”

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