Following the news last week that small businesses could be facing a postcode lottery when looking for finance, new research commissioned by the British Business Bank1 has revealed one in three (33%) smaller business owners want to grow their businesses but are unsure on how to achieve it.
The research found that smaller businesses want to grow but just don’t consider, or know of, the alternative finance options available to them. Older business owners also appear to be far less likely to be aware of, or to have used, alternative finance options than their younger counterparts.
Despite this and the ever-present shadow of Brexit, business confidence is high amongst those surveyed, with more than half (51%) of business owners saying they expect to increase their income/turnover in the next financial year, with fewer than one in ten (8%) expecting their income/turnover to decrease.
Keith Morgan, CEO of British Business Bank said, “The financial landscape can be complex and confusing for smaller businesses trying to finance their growth ambitions. Today’s polling shows that too often smaller businesses want to grow but don’t know where to start meaning they miss out on growth opportunities.”
Peter Alderson, managing director at White Oak UK, stated, “I think it’s fair to say that businesses have continued to struggle with obtaining finance in recent years, and whilst many banks are making pledges to do more for smaller businesses, we may not see any rapid material change here.
"The more people look away from the traditional routes, such as their banks, the more they realise the world of opportunity that exists in the form of alternative finance.”
What are the alternatives?
Alternative lenders have been developing a wider range of products, within the business finance sphere this has given rise to a new wave of opportunity, with many businesses now choosing to spread the cost of many essential cash flow burdens such as tax and VAT, spreading the cost of equipment investment not to mention a significant rise in new products that are specifically designed to support growth.
The perception that finance is something that only struggling businesses would entertain has become increasingly redundant, instead, using finance to preserve cash flow in thriving businesses has become commonplace.
Andy Davies, Group Sales Director at White Oak UK explains, “Businesses have a lot more choice in the marketplace when it comes to access to finance. Long gone are the days when everything would hinge exclusively on your bank. For small business owners, it’s become more about simplicity, speed and service. When you are running a business, these are vital requirements.”
Access to finance remains a critical barrier to both growth and success for many small business owners, across all sectors, and making finance more readily available is something that must remain firmly on the agenda of providers.
To this end, White Oak UK are proud to work with the British Business Bank to provide a £51m facility to fund a portfolio of small businesses with asset finance facilities.
Learn about the benefits of using finance as an everyday business tool and find out why our customers come back to White Oak UK again and again, by downloading our free guide, 11 Ways to Make Money Work for Your Business.
1 One in three UK business owners want to grow their businesses but are unsure how - British Business Bank