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Why Your Fear Of Seeking Funding Might Be Your Biggest Impediment To Growth

Are you so wary of debt that you won’t look for external funding to grow your company? Do you still consider the banks to be the only real source of funding?

A ‘yes’ answer to one or both of those questions is a sign that you could be hampering your company’s future growth prospects. (If you’d like to find out more about your strategic funding options, download a free report now by clicking here.)

If you are hindering your company’s growth, you’re certainly not alone. Research conducted earlier this year revealed that 78% of the 500 UK businesses surveyed by specialist mutual financial services provider Wesleyan Bank were too wary of incurring debt to seek external funding.

About three-quarters of those surveyed said they had a better understanding of traditional funding options such as bank loans and overdrafts than they did of alternative funding options such as asset finance. A national SME alternative finance survey commissioned by Nesta and the University of Cambridge found that only 9% of respondents had approached an alternative finance provider.

The so-called alternative funding market is growing rapidly, and in the UK alone has more than doubled in size year on year from £267 million in 2012 to £666 million in 2013 to £1.74 billion in 2014, according to the ‘UK Alternative Finance Industry Report’.

Sean Read, Director of Sales & Marketing at Wesleyan Bank says, “Without external finance, many SMEs are stilting their chances of prospering and fulfilling their ultimate potential.”

That’s because funding—whether through debt or equity— is often the catalyst for taking your business to the next level. Without it, you’re likely to stay where you are now or worse, stagnate.

Nowadays, there are many options for both equity and debt financing to consider. There is also the option to combine both debt and equity in a funding mix to provide the capital base for long term growth and the working capital to support working capital requirements in the business.

While there’s a vast array of options available—including some that can provide funds within days—figuring out how to access these funds can be a very time-consuming, frustrating experience, even for the most seasoned business owner.

Worryingly, the Wesleyan Bank research revealed that many SME owners turn to the internet for advice about funding options rather than speaking directly to banks or independent funding experts. While the internet does provide some accurate information, it is just as likely to offer information that at best is outdated and, at worst, wildly off-the-mark. Following such unqualified advice is likely to be disastrous for your company.

After all, raising funds is critical to your company’s future growth. As such, it should only be managed by those with substantial experience and knowledge of the strategic funding market.

Typically, that person will be an FD or CFO. And there’s the rub, for as an SME, you probably don’t have a full-time CFO with the necessary experience in fundraising to manage the process for you. So what can you do?

You can hire a very experienced part-time CFO to manage the entire process for you. He or she will manage everything from determining your immediate and long-term objectives to finding the right kind of funding partner for the business. You can watch a 3-minute video here which explains the part-time FD/CFO model.

At the CFO Centre, our CFOs have sourced more funding (over £5 billion) for our clients than just about any other company around the world. We will provide you with a world-class CFO with ‘big business experience’ to manage your strategic funding process for you and we’ll do it at a fraction of the cost of a full-time CFO. It’s the business equivalent of having an Olympic coach to help your business thrive.

To find out more about your funding options, just book your free one-to-one call with one of our strategic funding specialists—just click here now.

Crowdfunding Is No Joke

People might have laughed when twin brothers Alan and Gerry Keery first said they needed to raise £60,000 to open a café that would only offer breakfast cereals, but thanks to the widespread publicity they garnered from their appeal on the crowdfunding site, Indiegogo, they were able to raise the funds they needed.

Although the funds didn’t come from the Indiegogo platform, the news of the Keery’s plan did attract the interest of outside investors who found it hugely palatable. That meant the brothers were then able to open the first Cereal Killer Café.

It has since become one of the most popular cafes in East London. The brothers are now offering international licensing on their website as well as their own recipe book. A second café has opened in North London, and a third is planned for Dubai.

But the Cereal Killer Café is far from being the oddest idea for crowdfunding. That honour might belong to the amateur scientists known as ‘3 Stags’ who wanted to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the British sci-fi TV series ‘Dr Who’ by launching a Tardis satellite. (To the uninitiated, the Tardis is a telephone box-shaped time machine and spacecraft in which the lead character travels through time and space.)

The project apparently captured the imagination of the people on the crowdfunding Kickstarter platform because they pledged a staggering $88,880—way above the 3 Stags’ original goal of $33,000. Incidentally, it’s important to know that many crowdfunding platforms operate an all-or-nothing funding model. In other words, if you reach your goal, you get the money, and if you don’t hit the target, everybody gets their money back.

As oddball as the Tardis satellite story is, don’t be fooled: raising money to finance projects and businesses from a large number of people via online platforms is becoming increasingly mainstream.

So much so that it’s now a recognised source of funding for some heavyweight SMEs. Take Cruise Automation, a producer of autonomous vehicle technology, as an example. In April this year, it became the first equity crowdfunded company to achieve a $1 billion exit having been acquired by General Motors.

Before the GM acquisition, the San Francisco-based company had raised about $18 million in venture capital, but its Series A and Series B funding each included $100,000 from syndicates put together via crowdfunding platform AngelList, according to Dan Primack of ‘Fortune’ magazine.

There are three common types of crowdfunding: peer to peer, equity and rewards crowdfunding.

  • Peer to Peer Lending. The people pledging funds lend you or your company money with the understanding it’ll be repaid with interest.
  • Equity Crowdfunding. You sell a stake in your business to a number of investors in return for investment.
  • Rewards-based crowdfunding. People donate to a project or business with the understanding at a later stage they’ll receive a non-financial reward such as goods or services in exchange for their contribution.

Crowdfunding is just one of many ways to provide your company with the growth or working capital you need. (If you’d like to explore all the non-traditional or alternative funding options, you can download a free report by clicking here.)

As you know, funding is often the catalyst for taking your business to the next level. Provided you find the right partner, the funding can make a huge difference to your business.

If you’re like most business owners, getting the funds is more important than the detail of how to get hold of them! That’s fine if your company has a full-time Finance Director (FD) or CFO since he or she will normally manage the process on your behalf to ensure you get the right funding for your immediate and long-term needs. But as an SME, you probably don’t have a full-time CFO. So what can you do? You can try to manage the entire process on your own. Or, you can make it easy on yourself by hiring a part-time CFO to manage the entire process for you.

You can watch a 3-minute video here which explains the part-time FD/CFO model.

The part-time FD or CFO will manage everything from determining your immediate and long-term objectives to finding the right kind of funding partner for the business. Meanwhile, you can get on with what you do best.

The CFO Centre will provide you with a world-class FD or CFO with ‘big business experience’ for a fraction of the cost of a full-time CFO. It’s the business equivalent of having an Olympic coach at your beck and call.

To discover your alternative funding options, book your free one-to-one call with one of our funding specialists—just click here now.

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