Report on The Leader's Event 2015
Sandwiched between presentations from Simon Hall, an expert on E-commerce from 5xthinking and Lloyd Amsdon, Co-Founder of Watchfinder, our panel took questions from the delegates about funding options for growth and here's a snapshot of what was covered:
Q: Have any of you had any experience of Factoring?
A: I had a bad experience of factoring, but then tried boutique factoring companies and as factoring limits increased, our turnover increased. It was very flexible and changed the business so an excellent tool to use for a growing business.
Q: What stage of development, or when is the right time to consider finance options?
A: The earlier you seek investment the better, but keep as much equity as possible. If you think the idea has potential to be big, it's never too early to seek investment. Consider EFG or crowdfunding and make hay whilst the sun shines! Treat your crowdfunders in a decent way, be honest and upfront. Be aware that crowdfunding suits customer-facing businesses more than professional services. For professional services, banks are secure lenders with a low risk.
Some investors want to see that business owners have at least started off by investing some of their own money - if you aren't prepared to risk something in your own business, then why should someone else!
Q: What is the state of play with regards to bank financing?
A: There are options for bank funding despite the current thinking that banks are not lending. Banks have no limit on what they will lend, it depends on the risk and the customer.
Q: What preparation is needed?
A: You need to become very disciplined and have tight control over your finances as investors want to know that you can afford to repay.
Q: Can you give us one piece of advice regarding finance for start-ups?
A: Look at all the options and don't be blinkered about one area, have a clear plan.
Keep control with 51% and spread the risk.
Financial controls and real discipline take away the pressure and help with discussions with financial companies.
Make sure you are running the best business you can in terms of your financial controls and the team around you. Deliver what you say you are going to deliver.
Focus on the core company business and know how to scale it. Make it stack up on a small scale and then you will know how to scale it.