"...excellent finanicial advice and, most of all, an exceptionally friendly service..."

    BFS is expanding its horizons

    Here at Business Finance Services (BFS) it has become apparent that there is an increasing demand among small business owners/managers for help in developing their businesses in what is an increasingly competitive and technology-driven economy. We see this manifested not only in an increasing demand for help in sourcing the best kinds of commercial finance, but also in requests for ongoing advice & guidance when the necessary finance is in place.

    In response to this demand BFS is constantly on the lookout for new, reliable sources of finance for our clients. We have, for example, recently added to our ‘stable’ of Funders another company that provides short term secured business loans (up to 2 years) plus a new trade finance company. We have also developed a working relationship with a crowdfunding platform who specialise in providing loans secured against a business’s average debtor book. These are just some examples of the ‘specialist’ Lenders that we work with on a day-to-day basis. We must emphasise, however, that BFS is completely independent and is not tied to any specific Lenders.

    We see our role as adding value to our clients’ businesses. The result has been that, over time, our range of services has expanded to meet that demand. So whether that be in the form of helping with business planning or in a strategic mentoring capacity we will provide a service to match our client’s needs.

    As part of our support for SME’s we are organising a series of Free Seminars on the subject of ‘Alternative Sources of Commercial Finance for the SME’. The next one is on the subject of ‘Crowd Funding for the SME’, which will be held in Milton Keynes on the 2nd March. Registration is via our web site www.bufinserv.co.uk .

    Finally we must add that we are not experts in all aspects of business operation. We are not, for example, accountants or HR specialists, but if we cannot solve a client’s problem then, with our background and experience, we will undoubtedly be able to point them in the direction of someone who can.

    If you would like to know more about the services we provide way then call us on 01327 349 779 or e-mail us at enquiries@bufinserv.co.uk but don’t leave it too late!! We look forward to hearing from you or to seeing you at one of our future seminars.

    Posted by peter

    Cookies by name – Bakers by nature! – How to buy a Bakery

    Cookies Bakery, with shops in Raunds and Oundle, is under new ownership, thanks to the finance arranged by Business Finance Services Ltd. (BFS).  The business, which was started in 1995, has recently been acquired by Ian Smith and Mike Doyle.  Ian has been head baker at Cookies since 2012, so when it went on the market he was keen to take over, and he teamed up with long-time friend and former colleague, Mike, to make the acquisition.  They intend to build on the reputation for quality products and great service, established under the previous ownership, to continue supplying the business’s existing clientele and establish new markets and customers. (more…)

    Posted by peter

    Crowd Funding for Property Development

    Some people are now aware of the existence of Business Crowd Funding as a means of financing commercial operations. Not everyone, however, grasps the true potential of Crowd Funding as an alternative source of finance for businesses. Well, it really is, and this has been proved again very recently with a client of ours who was seeking funds to complete a particular project. (more…)

    Posted by peter

    INVOICE FINANCE- Surely nearly 44,000 Businesses cannot all be wrong!!?

    Why, after 50 years of providing support to businesses, is there still resistance to the concept of factoring and Invoice Financing? By July 2015 the Asset Based Finance Association [ABFA], whose members provide asset based lending, factoring and invoice discounting and facilities, were successfully funding nearly 44,000 business in the UK and Ireland. ABFA’s.  By that time they were already advancing £19bn of funds to their clients. They believe, however, that their members’ facilities would be suited to over 250,000 businesses in the UK and Ireland.
    (more…)

    Posted by peter

    The Value of Experience

    How many times have you said “Well let’s chalk that one down to experience”? The point being that that experience may well have come at a cost and it will certainly have a value in the future (assuming one remembers the lesson!). To get philosophical for a minute, Life is a continual learning experience. The problem is that there are many occasions when one cannot afford the luxury of waiting a lifetime to gain the necessary experience.

    This is particularly true in a business situation. If the necessary knowledge and experience is not available ‘in-house’ then an awful lot of time and money can be wasted and opportunities lost. Sadly at BFS we come across this all too frequently. In some cases it is a question of Management simply making the wrong, uninformed decisions. On others they just wait too long before asking for help from an acknowledged expert. The results can be anything from vaguely annoying to disastrous and terminal.

    This is a point we have made on several occasions before of course. In the case of BFS we would always ask business managers to ask for our help sooner rather than later. Arranging finance takes time, particularly on those occasions when your Bank has said ‘No’. This is infact where we traditionally come into the picture! One of the questions we are asked on a regular basis is “how long will it take”. The true answer is that we can never be sure, especially if, during the application process, we find unexpected skeletons in cupboards. In general terms the funding period can run from a couple of weeks for Invoice or Asset Finance to several months for substantial Loans or Equity investment. What we can be sure of, however, is that for the business owner/manager it makes sense to approach us sooner rather than later.

    There are others, however, who can benefit from our help and experience. As you may be aware Opus Restructuring Llp recently took shares in BFS. Their main reason? They wanted to have better access to our knowledge, contacts and experience. Others can also benefit from an association with us. I refer particularly to Law Firms or Accountants whose clients are in need of finance but cannot get it from their own Banks for a myriad reasons including lack of sufficient security, over-gearing or even past record. In many cases we can help due to our wide range of contacts with ‘Niche’ Lenders in a wide range of specialist areas.

    Indeed we are already working with a number of Law and Accountancy Firms and with some success in terms of funding their clients. It is also worth mentioning that we are also working with some of the main Banks on the same basis i.e. if a potential client cannot meet their lending parameters they will approach us to see if we can help. We have recently had success with one such case locally and are working on others at the moment. Such arrangements will always be reciprocal in that, where possible, we will (and have) put leads back the other way.

    So, if sourcing commercial finance is something you struggle with, call in the experts at BFS on 01327 349 779 or e-mail us on enquiries@businserv.co.uk . We do not charge for an initial “Get to know you” Consultation and you will be surprised at how we can help, and if you are in serious trouble we can always call on our colleagues at Opus Restructuring!
    As we always say – Our Clients come first, and STAY!

    Posted by peter

    Crowd Funding – AN alternative not THE alternative to Bank finance

    At Business Finance Services Ltd (BFS) we have been involved in helping SME’s to raise finance for more than 10 years. Over that time we have discovered, and successfully introduced, a wide variety of types of non-traditional funding to our clients. Few of these “Alternative” forms of finance, however, have generated as much interest as the relatively recent concept of Crowdfunding for Businesses.

    Put simply this is a concept that allows Businesses to raise finance from private individuals rather than through the more conventional, but often less accessible, Banking route. The way it works is that the Business presents a case (via the Crowdfunding Platform) for why they need a certain level of finance. Investors (in most cases you & me – The public) are invited to provide whatever level of finance they think appropriate, in some cases as a loan at an agreed rate, in others in return for equity in the business. Most Crowdfunding Platforms offer one or other option, a few offer both.

    The concept has been proved in many cases to work well. The problem for the Business owner is to choose which Crowdfunder is most suitable for their needs. Do they choose Funding Circle or Crowdcube or Kickstarter or ThinCats, to name a few? In the case of smaller businesses there may also be a question of “how do we best present our case?”

    At BFS we have been talking to, and working with many of the Crowdfunders for some considerable time. As a result we have carefully selected a number to work with, all of whom offer different funding solutions, so that we can offer our clients the best possible option with the highest possible chance of raising the funding they seek. Of particular note is that in 2014 we (BFS) were appointed as one of an exclusive band of “Sponsors” for ThinCats, one of the UK’s leading Crowd Funding Platforms who specialise in loans from £100,000 up to £5 million.

    It is important to understand, however, that whilst Crowd Funding is an innovative and valuable addition to the Business Finance arsenal, it is only AN alternative and not THE alternative to traditional Bank lending. Indeed it only represents a fragment of the “Alternative Business Finance Market”.

    Furthermore, funding is by no means guaranteed with any of the Crowdfunding Platforms. Much depends upon the Funding Platform chosen and the manner in which the opportunity is presented. Thus if you are in need of finance and your Bank cannot help, come and talk to us at BFS. Just call us on 01327 349779 or 07770 866 955 or e-mail to enquiries@bufinserv.co.uk for a no-obligations chat. It should also be said that if we do not think the Crowdfunding route is the right one for your business we will say so and do our best to find a more suitable “alternative”.

    Posted by peter

    It usually pays to ask!

    At BFS we come across many cases where business owners/managers have spent far too much time trying to resolve cash flow problems rather than concentrating on what they do best i.e. developing and growing their business.

    We have all heard that well used phrase “Cash flow is King” but not every small business owner understands the truth of it, or the implications if you get it wrong! It is also the case that an increasing need for working capital can lead to a steady downward spiral caused by panic, frustration and the general inability to find a suitable source of finance.

    Another common danger is that of accepting the first offer that comes along without being fully aware of the terms applied thereto and the effect they will have on your business. As with most industries, there are many misconceptions concerning the way that the world of commercial finance works. Typical of these is the frequently held view that the ‘Big’ Banks are no longer interested in funding SMEs. Whilst in some cases this may appear to be true, the fact is that those Banks generally got it so wrong leading up to the 2008 Crash that they have had to concentrate in getting their own Houses in order ever since. The net result is that they are being forced to be a great deal more careful about what and who they lend to than they were pre-2008.

    This is not, however, a defence of our Big Banks. On the contrary, we at BFS come across instances where we are totally frustrated by of the way the Banks treat their smaller customers and by the way that they reject what are perfectly sound business funding opportunities.  The good news is, however, with the arrival of an increasing number of “Alternative” sources of Commercial finance. These come in a variety of forms covering both Debt and Equity finance. Include in these are some “New” Banks (although some of these are proving to be no more flexible than the Main Banks!) and the new Crowd Funding Platforms (of which there are increasing numbers). The problem for the Business Owner/Manager is to know Who they are, Where they are and What they offer in terms of funding options. Anther question may well be “which offers the best options”. Determining this comes back to our point about spending too much time worrying about the finance and no running the business. That is the time to call in the Experts.

    We at BFS have many years of experience in assisting SMEs to resolve their commercial finance problems, whether it be releasing working capital, arranging funding for growth or financing a start-up, we can offer a very wide range of solutions. Now, with the recent link with OPUS Restructuring LLP, we are also in a position to offer SMEs much more help with regard to Rescue & Recovery for those that are getting into severe difficulties . And don’t forget we not only represent a number of the major Crowd Funding Platforms but we also provide on-going business mentoring services.
    For more information on the wide range of commercial finance solutions available from Business Finance Services Ltd check us out on our web site www.bufinserv.co.uk , call us on 0800 093 5240 or e-mail us at enquiries@bufinserv.co.uk . Our initial consultations are Free and we look forward to hearing from you.

    Posted by peter

    Trade Finance for a New Venture

    As Business Finance Consultants we experience, on a daily basis, the trials and tribulations that small businesses go through trying to raise finance. For start-up enterprises it is particularly difficult but even for small businesses that have been established for a while it can present problems.

    A typical example is a client who approached us recently for help in finding funding to allow them to import raw materials from a new source. The company supplies leather for the UK shoe and bag manufacturing industry. The problem was that, whilst the quality and price of the new supplies were very acceptable, the Supplier would only ship by the Container load. Cost wise this put it beyond the immediate capabilities of this young business.

    Our client approached their bank for help but they were unable to help. The reason? – Our client did not have firm orders to cover more than a fraction of the product to be imported. Also the Directors were unable to offer any other assets to provide the Bank with alternative security.

    We took a close look at the company, and its owner. Having started from scratch just over a year ago the business had started to gain a reputation for quality and reliability with a number of major UK manufacturers. Both of these qualities are essential for suppliers to the shoe & bag trade which relies on continued & volume production. Added to this was the fact that the Owner, who had many years of experience in the business with other companies, knows exactly where he wants to go with the business and, more importantly, how to get there.

    Despite this it was obvious that, because of the lack of guaranteed forward orders, none of the other traditional lenders (banks) would consider funding this project. Luckily at Business Finance Services (BFS) we know a lot of specialist (niche) Lenders. This includes at least one who specialises in financing one-off or short term Trade Finance deals. We introduced this Lender to our client and, after some brief negotiations and due diligence a deal was struck which allowed our client to cover the costs of importing two container loads of leather. The first of these is already in the UK and, at the time of writing this blog, the second is en-route.

    The result is a happy client who has his supplies. He also knows that he can rely on BFS to source finance for him when needed, thereby leaving him with more time to get on with growing his business. For details on what we can do for you check out our web site at www.bufinserv.co.uk or contact us at enquiries@bufinserv.co.uk or simply call us on 01327 349779 . We look forward to hearing from you.

    Posted by peter

    Open minds open doors!

    For a new business to be effective one of the prerequisites is that it should have a sound financial base. This may seem to be stating the obvious, but it is amazing how often this key element is not properly dealt with, particularly by those setting up a new business for the first time.

    The amount of finance required will, of course, depend upon the size of the business being set up. In the case of small businesses the traditional source of initial funding is savings, friends and family. If those sources prove insufficient then the next step would normally be to approach the Banks or maybe Business Angels. These days however the Banks are reluctant to fund genuine start-ups unless they are an offshoot of an existing business with a proven track record or the management can demonstrate a high level of experience and are backed by significant amounts of security as collateral.

    At Business Finance Services (BFS) we always adopt an “open minds” policy when talking to a new client seeking finance. It is a mistake to take a blinkered approach to which type of funding will best suit a company. Indeed experience has shown that in many cases the solution to a client’s financial/cashflow problems may be to source finance from two or more different Lenders (I use the term in its broadest sense). Thus, for example, a client may approach us with a request that we find investors for them: on looking closely at their business model however, we may recommend a combination of investment and asset finance.

    This is particularly relevant in the case of start-up businesses where things are not complicated by existing loan agreements. What is important in this case, however, is that the client consults us at the earliest stage. Not only will this avoid them inadvertently getting involved in unsuitable finance agreements (which we see all too often), but it will also save them considerable management time by using BFS to identify the most favourable sources of finance, many of which the client may well not be aware of. As we said,  “Open minds opens doors”. For more information on our services or for a free discussion of your finance requirements please call BFS on 0800 093 5240 or e-mail enquiries@bufinserv.co.uk .

    Posted by peter