The small and medium sized enterprise sector in Scotland continues to go from strength-to-strength and our own research shows that well over half (61 per cent) expected sales growth in the three months leading to October.
It’s vital that growth aspirations are coupled with the financial means to fulfil orders, invest in technology and develop new business. This is where funding types, such as invoice finance and leasing can help a growing business. But there is still a lack of awareness of non-traditional forms of finance, which prevents many viable SMEs from taking the next step towards growth.
Financing business aspirations
Since opening our doors in Scotland 1999 Bibby Financial Services has supported hundreds of businesses through our offices in Edinburgh and Glasgow, but we still feel there’s more to be done to spread the word.
In the midst of the independence debate in September, we held events in Glasgow and Aberdeen, where we were joined by world-record breaking adventurer Mark Beaumont and journalist and BBC broadcaster, Andrew Neil.
Our events are a great opportunity for us to engage with the local business community, and our teams talked at length with SMEs and advisors about the economy, access to finance and the future for Scottish businesses.
My team reported a growing sense of confidence in the Scottish economy but cited a clear lack of awareness of different funding options – not from the intermediaries in the room but from local business owners.
It’s clear that there’s still a lot to be done to educate entrepreneurs and business owners that there are alternatives to bank-lending and that options such as invoice finance are often much more suitable.
Looking beyond traditional funding sources
Prior to the events in September, we published our latest regional business report ‘SME Sentiment Scotland’, which includes a study of 500 businesses. The findings paint a positive picture of the Scottish business environment but again highlight this overreliance on bank-finance.
Traditional bank loans and overdrafts seem to be the funding platform of choice for modern business owners – with 42 per cent of businesses opting for overdrafts, and 37 per cent bank loans, but these options are often not the best fit for growth and expansion.
Furthermore, at a time when bank lending continues to fall, independent funders like Bibby Financial Services have funds available to support growth.
Raising awareness of ‘alternative’ finance
I often avoid using the term ‘alternative finance’ because to Bibby Financial Services and the 7,000 SMEs we support, our funding isn’t ‘alternative’, it’s fundamentally important to the way in which they operate. But I do understand that there is work to be done in changing perceptions and raising the profile of non-bank finance in the minds of media, business owners, the public and even some intermediaries.
We’re committed to leading the march when it comes to raising this awareness and our events are a great start.
With a strong team in place in Scotland, I’m confident that we will be able to spread the word even further and increase our funding support to the country’s mass of innovative businesses.
If you would like to speak to my team in Scotland, visit http://www.bibbyfinancialservices.com/
Thanks for reading.
UK CEO, Bibby Financial Services
About David Postings
David Postings is the UK Chief Executive Officer for Bibby Financial Services following his appointment in April 2012. David is an experienced senior executive with over 35 years’ experience in financial services. David has extensive knowledge of the commercial finance landscape.
You can read more about David Postings and his position at Bibby Financial Services in the About Me Section.