Branch numbers for UK banks have almost halved in number since 2015. That’s reduced your clients access to experienced financial advice. It’s also meant that banks are no longer the go-to place to visit when clients need a funding injection. But where can they go instead?
61% of small businesses are unaware of funding routes outside of the traditional banking products. That’s the message coming out of our recent Get Fit For Business report, where we asked 500 business leaders how fit, fabulous and funded they felt going into 2022.
If your clients are unaware of the growing landscape of alternative lenders, how can you open their eyes to new funding possibilities? And how can you kickstart these funding conversations?
1. Supercharge your funding conversations
59% of business leaders wish their accountant would make the first move, so they can start having more valuable conversations. That’s what the leaders we spoke to told us. Starting the right conversations with your clients lies at the heart of offering better funding advice. It’s these conversations that open up your understanding of their business and their funding needs.
Try talking about:
- Their plans for the future and how they see the business transforming over 2022
- How their cash reserves are looking and how they plan to fund these big plans
- Where they would usually go to access additional funding – and how strong their relationship is with the lender or investors in question
2. Drill down into the client’s financial position
To drive any funding conversation in the right direction, it’s important to have a detailed grasp of the client’s financial position. Walking through their accounts and management information is one way to improve your understanding. Our Monitor online reporting tool is a big help with this, allowing you to track the client’s cash and debt positions over time. You can even produce a Capital Report to give the client a detailed breakdown of their situation.
Set up a meeting and give their numbers a proper health check, while talking through the main financial ups and down with their top team.
- How their cash position is looking and if they have any current money concerns
- Whether they have any existing loans or debts and how those repayments are impacting on cashflow
- What funding routes and investment strategies they’ve used in the past
3. Get a handle on client’s aims and objectives for 2022
61% of business leaders we spoke to need funding to achieve their goals in 2022. There’s an optimistic mood in the market at present, and that’s fueling expansion, growth and scale-up plans. But to make these plans a reality, you need to have a drilled-down understanding of their goals and ambitions. When you know what their objectives are, you’re in a better position to work out budgets, routes to funding and a wider funding strategy.
Talk to clients about:
- Their key objectives for 2022 and whether they’ve costed out these projects in full
- The timelines for their growth plan and when funding would be needed
- Their strategy and tactics for the year ahead. And how your firm can help them craft a comprehensive business plan for the coming months.
4. Highlight the full range of funding routes
50% of the business leaders we spoke to don't know which finance options are the best fit for their business. With high-street banks increasingly playing a less pivotal role in business finance, there’s an opportunity for your firm to step into the bank manager’s shoes.
As a funding adviser, you can explain the differences between the types of funding that are available. You can also broaden the client’s understanding of the main options.
The wide choice of finance options can be overwhelming for leaders who are not experts in business finance. Based on their circumstances, needs and capital position, you can point them in the right direction and increase their funding knowledge.
Does the client need:
- An invoice finance facility to quickly bring extra cash into the business and cure an urgent short-term cashflow issue.
- Asset finance to help them buy a new piece of equipment or a new vehicle that’s needed for the next stage in their 2022 plan.
- A working capital facility to improve their liquid cash situation and cover the day-to-day costs of expanding their operations.
- A secured loan to provide a large lump sum and fund their growth plan – putting enough money behind the business to meet their ambitious goals.
- Property finance to provide a bridging loan, or a commercial mortgage to allow the client to buy their own business premises.
- An innovation grant or R&D tax credit to help them fund their research and development (R&D) projects and free up more cash for further innovation.
- A government-backed recovery loan to help them stabilise their post-pandemic recovery and put their 2022 plans into action.
When a client trusts your funding advice, you become their guide to a whole new world of funding. You don’t just identify the funding need. You help them work out their funding strategy, choose the most appropriate finance products and liaise with the lenders.
5. Work with Capitalise and our lending partners
59% of the leaders we spoke to find business finance a long and admin-heavy process that they don't have time for. In an ever-growing funding marketplace, it’s easy to see how bewildering the choice can be. As an adviser, cutting through the complexity and highlighting the ideal routes to deals and funding is a big part of your role.
Capitalise has a range of tools to make the funding advisory process easier, more streamlined and more productive for you and your clients.
- Capitalise accounting partners have access to CPD-accredited online learning, so you get comfortable with the basics of funding advice.
- You can use the Capitalise Marketplace to search our network of 100+ lenders and find the financial products to fund your client’s plans.
- Our Monitor reporting tool gives you a real-time overview of your client portfolio, with up-to-date cash and debt figures and regular notifications of threats and opportunities.
- We have a team of finance specialists and partner managers on hand to answer your queries, liaise with lenders and support the deal-making process.
- Our latest guide, More Talk, More Action, is packed with tips and conversation starters to help you get your client conversations flowing.
If you want to kickstart these funding conversations, we’ve got the resources you need to get the chat flowing. Get in touch and let’s start putting funding at the centre of your services.