Looking out for others: How to spot a finance opportunity

An approach that has become accepted as the norm in modern business is that of collaboration and co-operation rather than the old traditional competitive attitudes.

With networking groups at the centre of business growth, today’s entrepreneurs appreciate that, when lots of enterprises thrive in an area, there’s a boost to the whole local or even wider, economy.

What people do often forget, though, is that it’s sometimes not “what you know” but “who you know” that matters. If you don’t have the answer to a contact’s problem, it’s just as useful to hook them up with someone who does. If you’re the “go to” person who always answers those recommendation requests, the business community will remember your name when looking out for someone who offers your service….and recommendations will surely come back round your way.

So, what has this got to do with Commercial Finance? Well in fact, a big percentage of the businesses we’ve been able to help – 59% at the last count – have been introduced to us by a mutual contact. This is because most people are unsure where to start when looking for alternative finance support, other than the traditional High Street banks.

A finance broker can access a plethora of different lenders, offering a whole range of packages that can be mixed and matched to suit the requirements of the borrower and the situation.

What to spot

In the UK we’re traditionally coy with regard to talking about our finances, so the business owner might not always spell it out. Here are some scenarios to pick up on, indicating that there’s a need for commercial finance help.

On the positive side:

  • People in your network, or perhaps even your own clients, are talking about business growth.
  • Someone has mentioned to you that they’re looking to expand a certain area of their business…..but it’s clear they’re unsure of how they are going to achieve it.
  • They’d like to purchase a new property, or more properties to expand their portfolio

Or alternatively you can see warning signs that a business is starting to experience financial difficulties: Are they:

  • Struggling to keep up with demand?
  • Finding it hard to keep up on top of their cashflow?
  • Having trouble collecting invoice payments?
  • Maybe they’ve mentioned their tax bill is higher than expected?

Each of the above scenarios would attract a different solution – from asset finance to help grow a business or acquire more equipment, to invoice finance easing cashflow, or VAT finance to take the sting out of that hefty tax bill. The point is that you don’t personally have to have this expertise to help another business realise their dreams – or get over a sticky patch.

It’s up to the broker to recommend the right option or create a hybrid package that is appropriate for each individual or organisation’s needs.

Perhaps your contact is already looking for finance, but doesn’t know where to go or is worried about the process. It IS easy to get things wrong in this area, simply because of the minefield of options and rates available. Which is why the most helpful thing to do is ensure your friend or contact is being supported by a professional that YOU know and trust.

Most successful people do remember those who helped them on their way up!

Photo caption: A COLLABORATIVE APPROACH: Networking at The Business Catalyst Club