I’ve had many conversations recently and the common thread is that It’s difficult to gauge how the rest of 2023 will pan out with so many factors that could facilitate growth and others that might continue to derail recovery.
Februarys’ GDP figures recorded no growth with the “strike” impact offsetting growth within Construction and Retail. Upward revisions to ONS data estimates monthly GDP to be 0.3% above pre-Covid levels of February 2020. Inflation remains eye wateringly high but is expected to ease as the year progresses and although fuel prices are settling the cost of energy and salaries continue to concern businesses.
A mixed bag but despite this, businesses have showed much resilience. However, for some the damage is great with the impact of the last three years proving insurmountable. Corporate insolvencies rose by 6% in February – the highest level in four years - and are 17.5% up year on year. Whether the increasing number of CVAs are down to the “fatigue” factor or firms bending under the weight of Covid support repayments. Overall, I remain positively optimistic as we navigate a lumpy road ahead.
To give businesses the best chance they need certainty of funding, and we are seeing an increasing number of businesses looking to access finance for positive reasons. Delivering the right solution is key but it’s easy to be attracted to the first offer of funding especially if it’s needed urgently to fund a specific business need. However, when entering a finance agreement, you are entering an ongoing relationship with a funder so, ensuring a good fit is crucial to make certain the relationship works effectively.
At Pulse Cashflow, we know how important it is to get the right funder as well as the right funding solution and believe firms and their advisors should ensure their funder meets the following criteria.
Every funder will voice their support, but the challenging economic conditions are seeing a tightening of credit especially in the banking sector which can see commitment wane. Look beyond the traditional funders as there is a wealth of alternative funders hungry to deliver deals and who aren’t affected by over reactive policy changes and perhaps offer the confidence of longer-term support.
Businesses need to know their funder is on their side and the most significant way they can do that is by adopting a practical and commercial approach to doing business together. Business can be tough so it’s not surprising that most firms will have some chinks in their armour. Some funders have a tick box mentality to doing deals and cannot flex but others will spend their time getting to know and understand all elements of the business so that they can confidently structure a funding facility to work for the client. A commercial perspective should be one of the biggest influencing factors when choosing a funder.
Running a business isn’t easy or predictable! Ensuring your funder is flexible in how they work with you is important. You could argue you won’t know this until after you have signed the agreement with them but there are signs that you can pick up on from the moment you first talk to a funder. How much effort do they put into understanding your business and what you are trying to achieve. Do they try to shape the facility to your needs. Will you have a dedicated account manager who works with you to ensure the facility works well and to resolve any issues should they arise.
“Our client manager is very helpful and assists us in every way he can to make our finances flow! With the support of Pulse Cashflow, we have ambitions to grow our business and increase our success. We are confident that we can grow our income by 20% this year and are looking forward to continuing that growth in future years”.
Sally Nelson, Financial Director, Silo Facilities Management.
In business nothing is certain, and situations change all the time, so it’s important that you know you have open and transparent lines of communication with your funder. At Pulse we strive for great communication, and work collaboratively with our clients to ensure this is the case. Our clients have contact details of their Client Managers ensuring easy access when needed. We encourage our clients to keep us up to date with how things are. Regular, open, and transparent communications always deliver a better outcome and ensures the facility is working effectively.
An open, transparent, and fair relationship with your funder is the foundation of success. The increased use of IT to manage clients and their accounts should not be at the expense of personal relationships. At Pulse we believe in delivering the very best in client service. Every client has their own dedicated account manager who is on hand to respond to any queries or issues they may have. We’re proud of our employee: client ratio which is one of the best in the industry and our well-earned reputation for never losing a client on service issues. We guarantee access to decision makers to ensure quick decisions are made when needed.
"We needed a funder who we could have that close personal relationship with. That would take the time to get to know us, our clients and how they work so that our funding solution could support our business effectively”.
Steve Knowles, Managing Director of ASA
With the right funding partner on board, a business should feel confident that they have the support they need to confidently put their plans in motion to grow their businesses.