Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Latest Business Experience Exchange (BeXeX) Event: How Leadership Style Impacts on Culture and Business Success

Our more successful clients are forever curious and challenging. They constantly ask questions about business to their peer group. They are always curious about what works and what doesn’t and what practices have given other business leaders the edge. This is especially the case when it comes to leadership style, the topic of our next BeXeX event.

Every proactive business owner is curious about how some leadership styles can create success whilst others fail to generate results. For example, many have seen the ‘command-and-control’ style of management lose its impact whilst more collaborative and listening approaches have gained ground, especially with the younger Millennial workforce.

At our next BeXeX event on November 25th we will take a much more in depth look at the various leadership styles and how they can be used to determine business culture and success.

During the event, the Home Counties Business Advisors will present an overview of this subject whilst encouraging attending business owners to share stories based on real business experience. We will then facilitate discussion amongst the group to ensure learning and knowledge transfer.

So whether you are relatively new to business ownership or have successfully grown your business, come and share your experiences, ask questions and learn from your peers.

Our next session is at the Riverside café, Thames St, Staines TW18 4EA on 25th November 2014 from 1730-1930.

To book your place, click here, which will take you to Surrey Chambers of Commerce with whom we are hosting this event.

We look forward to seeing you in Staines for a challenging and provocative evening.

Friday, 7 November 2014

The Rise and Rise of Alternative Funding for SMEs

As peer-to-peer lending, invoice trading and crowdfunding shift into the mainstream, the alternative finance market is set to double in size next year, with the sector set to reach a value of £4.4 billion
The report from charity Nesta and the University of Cambridge said alternative finance to businesses and consumers was set to hit £1.74 billion in 2014, before jumping to £4.4 billion in 2015. The market was only around £666 million last year.
A raft of finance providers have sprung up in the wake of the financial crisis when banks cut back on lending to SMEs, forcing them to look for alternative sources of finance.

The co-author of the Nesta report, Liam Collins said:
“These findings shed light on a growing movement that is revolutionising banking, investing and giving by using technology to simplify the links between those who want to invest money and those who need it. With bank lending to SMEs down again this quarter, it’s no wonder that alternative finance is fast becoming an important source of funding for individuals, businesses and organisations who struggle to access finance elsewhere.
“The UK is leading the way globally, and with significant potential for the market to expand it won’t be long before we see alternative finance moving into the main stream.

By the end of this year, it is expected that alternative British lenders will have provided more than £1 billion in business finance to over 7,000 SMEs during the year - or 2.4% of all bank lending to such companies. This proportion set to increase further as bank lending continues to fall.
Nesta’s study found peer-to-peer business and consumer lending continued to dominate the market, P2P will account for 1.3 billion pounds in total in 2014, while invoice trading will pull in 270 million pounds and crowdfunding 84 million pounds - a 201% increase on last year.

Contact Peter Kelly on 01932 244810 to learn about Alternative funding for SMEs.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

The Growth of Equity Crowdfunding Around the World

The Crowdfunding Centre takes data from 120,000 crowdfunds across the World

The US leads the way in the number of crowdfunds, However, earlier this month, London originated 248 crowdfunds. The city in second place was Los Angeles with 158.

London has a 33% success rate compared to 30% across the rest of the UK and around 25% globally. It leads the way in big growth industries like gaming and films, which has fuelled a lot of growth in the US, is increasingly finding a home in the UK.

Evidence is also growing of the positive lasting effects of a crowdfunding round. These figures are from a recent report by Crowdfund Capital Partners:

- Reward crowdfunders reported an average sales revenue rise of 25%
- Equity crowdfunders reported an average sales revenue rise of 350%
- An average of 2-3 new employees are taken on after crowdfunding
- Just over half of firms that contributed to the report said crowdfunding was their first choice method for raising funds
- Crowdfunding embraces diversity. Pitches lead by women and minority groups is 40%, compared to 8% in the ‘old economy’.

To learn more about Crowdfunding please contact Peter Kelly on 01932 244810.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Funding for Growth

Now that the economy is firmly on the mend, management teams have a new challenge to think about and that is how do they obtain the funding that they need for the growth that they are now experiencing. It is vital to remember that more companies go to the wall in a recovery than fail in a recession. Over trading is a very real danger.
The best place always to go for funding is your own bank. You have a history with them and they should understand your business better than any other funder. Unfortunately over the last 6 months bank lending to businesses has fallen by a staggering £4 Billion.

So if your business is growing and your bank is not lending, then who do you turn to?

There are many independent sources of finance for growing companies. The independents are much more flexible in their terms and their attitudes and being smaller you are much more important to them.

Invoice Discounting and Factoring is one of the easiest to obtain and most flexible ways of raising finance for growth as this form of finance grows as your sales grow. If you do not want to or need to sign up for a full ledger facility then consider using selective or single invoice discounting. You just finance the invoices that you want to when you want to.

Trade Finance is also available to finance firm orders that you have won but where you do not have the resources to fulfil. The trade finance provider will purchase the goods for you and after you have delivered and invoiced you then pay the loan back.

Debt Crowdfunding is another interesting a quick way of raising funds from £5,000 to £1,000,000 for companies that have 2 years of accounts filed at Companies House. This is where ordinary members of the public ‘Crowd’ together to lend small amounts that aggregate into one loan for a business.

Short Term Loans This type of loan has sprung up since the beginning of the year. These companies lend from £3,000 to £100,000, depending on risk, for periods of 1 to 12 months, for companies that have been trading for at least 12 months. Some will lend to companies with adverse credit histories but then must not have any CCJs. This type of funding is very useful for purchasing stock that is fast moving and where the profit margins are good.

Pegasus Funding Resources is your one stop shop for any type of funding. Give us a call today: 01932 244810

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Simple Export Finance for SMEs

An existing funding provider has just introduced a new service to help small companies enter the export marketplace with a minimum amount of paperwork or risk.

This new ‘Export Overdraft’ is not only available to established companies but also to start-ups and recovery situations. The fees are simple with an arrangement fee, normally below £500 and a single interest fee depending on the risk and the length of the loan. This is not suitable for long term debt but for loans from a couple of weeks to up to 60 days. Longer loans of up to 90 days are available but then the charges may make it too expensive.

It works in the same way as single/ selective invoice discounting.

The exporter tells the finance house who they are exporting to, they then arrange a credit limit with a corresponding finance house in the destination country concerned. They at present have arrangements with 65 corresponding finance houses in mainly the EU and the OECD countries.

Once credit approval has been obtained, the goods can be shipped and invoiced. Letters of credit and bills of lading are not required. As part of the service the local finance house can arrange documentation in the customers own language. Once proof of delivery has been obtained then the funds can be drawn down.

For further details please contact:
Peter Kelly: 07778 670 236 London, South East, & East Mids.

Richard Olsen: 07976 642432 Cambridge, East Anglia, East Midlands.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

HCBA and Surrey Chamber of Commerce Event

BeXeXTM is an event format and methodology that enables peer to peer sharing of valuable information between business leaders and helps them solve their challenges.
Looking for fresh ideas to boost your business?
Got a business problem that needs a new perspective?
Want to share and gain experience with fellow business owners?
Then why not join us in Woking at 5.30pm – 7.30pm on Tuesday 3rd May for our Business Experience Exchange event where we will be providing business owners and directors the opportunity to exchange ideas and discuss issues as a group.

HCBA are running the event in partnership with the Surrey Chambers of Commerce.

There is no agenda except the one you help create. There will be other business experts on hand to discuss any business issue you want to raise, however the experts aren’t the only ones who know a thing or two about running a company. Some of the best ideas come from those that manage their own business, who not only have been there but are there and doing it, business people like you!
Benefits of Attending
 Gain valuable business insights
 Get to know your business peers
 Find solutions to local business issues
 Improve your motivation and confidence levels

This event will also include a short presentation by social media marketing expert Susanne Currid on maximising the impact of your social media communications. Her presentation will include case studies from local Surrey companies and will offer advice on using social media to help improve your business search engine results on Google.

Book a place now at Surrey Chambers of Commerce Events. Go to:

Event Date: Tue 3rd June 2014
Time: 17:30 – 19:30
Location: GU21 6QX
Venue: Arcom IT Headquarters, Export House, Cawsey Way, Woking

Thursday, 8 May 2014

New type of short term borrowing now available

Since the start of this year a new type of funder has appeared. They specialise in lending sums up to £100K for short periods of time. One I am dealing with at the moment will lend for as short a time as a few days, a few weeks or a few months, up to a maximum of 12 months.

This type of funding is not cheap but very useful if you need extra funds for just a month or two. One client needs to buy additional fast moving stock that has a good profit margin, he cannot get funding from his Bank so this type of short term funding is ideal.

Some of these funders want Personal Guarantees but others don’t. Typical charges, depending on risk are from 0.1% to 0.3% per day plus arrangement fees.

One funder has a useful revolving facility where a maximum level of funding is agreed and you can take money out and put money back in as the need arises and you are only paying interest on the money used at any one time.

The main criteria for these loans seem to be at least one set of filed accounts, followed by a sales forecast that shows that you can afford the repayments.

This is not cheap money but for short term borrowing it can be useful.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

South East Business Boardroom

We are pleased to announce the speakers and agenda for the next South East Business Boardroom meeting at the Five Bells in Chelsfield BR6 7RE.

We meet in the bar at 1:30 p.m. for networking. Free sandwiches at 1:45 p.m. and the meeting will start promptly at 2:00 p.m.

There will be a break for coffee and teas at 3:00 p.m.


Individual introductions and an informative introduction to the group by the Chairman.

All attendees will have a one minute opportunity to introduce their business.

The main speaker Paul Duckworth will present Creative Heads Ltd. a creative design agency. Based in Canterbury, they help to grow businesses by enhancing their brand image and marketing them effectively across all communications channels.

The second speaker David Gillespie will then present Group Trader, a buying and trading self help group based in Essex but trading throughout the South East.

Business to Business. A time for all attendees to share business opportunities, and to look for advice and guidance with challenging cases or situations.

Discussion on speakers for the next meeting.

Any other business.

Date of next meeting.

Close of meeting 4:30 p.m.

Networking in the bar afterwards.

Places are limited to 20 attendees only. Please RSVP a.s.a.p. to avoid disappointment. Go to:

Monday, 14 April 2014

Latest SME Monitor Results

In the latest SME Monitor produced by Cebr for Aldermore Bank many positive indicators show that the economy is on the mend.

Here are just a few of the indicators that the report highlights:
• The UK economy expanded by 0.7% quarter on Quarter in Q4 2013.
• Recovery is expected to gain further momentum over 2014 as a whole, as GDP is projected to rise by 3.3% year on year
• Growth is coming from all three major industrial sectors, production, manufacturing, and services.
• Annual cost inflation for small and medium-sized manufacturers fell back in Q4 2013 to 0.2% down from 0.7% in the previous two quarters
• Borrowing costs continue to fall back for UK SMEs, with the median interest rate offered to medium-sized enterprises falling to 3.2% in November 2013. Rates have not been lower than this since June 2009.
• The same goes for small enterprises where the median rate offered was 4.4% down from 4.8%
• The confidence level for SMEs climbed to +39.7 this quarter, its highest reading since Q1 2010.
• In Q4 2013 there were 3,800 business failures, down from 4,200 the previous quarter

All in all the future is definitely looking brighter for SMEs.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Can a recovery in the economy be dangerous for SMEs?

The answer is yes.

Naturally we all welcome the emerging recovery we are experiencing in the UK but SMEs should look very carefully at their finances as they need to be very aware that the pattern established following previous recessions is that more businesses go bust as the economy recovers not less. Typically businesses slowly wind down during a recession until they eventually run out of cash. Economic growth is often the last straw for them. They need to fill new orders and recruit more staff to meet demand but just cannot get any more credit and administration beckons. They may also have been slow in paying VAT and PAYE and built up large arrears which now must be paid as during a recovery the tax man becomes more aggressive.

Pegasus Funding Resources can help SMEs that find themselves in this situation and in need of growth funds to take advantage of the recovery.

Types of funding that are available in this situation include:

• Trade Finance to finance the importation of goods needed to fulfil orders
• Stock Finance to make certain they can meet increased demand
• Invoice discounting & Factoring to finance increasing debtor ledgers, and this also includes single/selective invoice discounting for those that do not want to sign up for more than the occasional invoice
• Turnaround Angel Funding to bring in new capital and ideas
• Sale and leaseback of existing plant and machinery to fund new equipment and add to working capital
• Debt Crowdfunding to fund growth and asset purchase

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Smaller manufacturers planning to Invest

The UK’s smaller manufacturers are planning to boost investment in the coming year, according to the CBI’s latest SME Trends Survey.

The survey of 335 small and medium-sized manufacturers revealed that total orders and the volume of output increased in the three months to January. Domestic orders rose, while export orders fell. However, in the coming quarter domestic and export orders are both expected to grow more strongly and production is set to rise again.

Stephen Gifford, CBI Director of Economics, said:

"As the recovery takes hold, the investment cycle is starting to turn.

It’s encouraging to see smaller manufacturers planning to boost investment, particularly in their plant, machinery and buildings.

Orders and output continued to grow at a healthy pace, although not as fast as predicted. However, firms remain optimistic about prospects, with growth in orders and production expected to accelerate."

Key findings – three months to January

• 37% of firms reported an increase in total new orders and 23% said they decreased, giving a balance of +14%
• 34% of firms reported an increase in domestic orders and 26% said they decreased, giving a balance of +8%, a slower pace of growth than in the previous survey (+20%)
• 23% of firms said export orders increased and 30% said export orders fell, giving a balance of -7%
• 30% of firms said output increased and 24% said output decreased, giving an overall balance of (+6%),
• Optimism continued to rise for the third consecutive quarter: 34% of respondents said they were more optimistic than three months ago and 13% said they were less optimistic giving a balance of +21
• Manufacturers’ investment intentions have improved significantly further on the previous quarter, with plans to spend on buildings (+14%) at their strongest since the data began in October 1988 and plant and machinery investment intentions (+14%) at their strongest since July 1995
• Average unit costs were flat on the quarter (0%), the lowest result since 2000 and are expected to rise modestly in the coming quarter (+8%)

Thursday, 23 January 2014

New Incubation Service for Media, Technology & Design

Ravensbourne's Incubation service is now open to applications from London-based media, technology and design businesses that show growth potential.

Business Incubation by Ravensbourne offers a platform for small creative digital businesses to develop and grow by providing access for up to 12 months to facilities, business development opportunities and access to our vast knowledge base. This is available for free due to funding from the European Regional Development fund.

Business Incubation by Ravensbourne has already supported more than 100 creative technology companies spanning transmedia, music technology, software development, graphic and web design, UX, architecture, TV and film production, product design and fashion.

The deadline for applications to be received is February 10th.

Full details are available here:

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Business Experience Exchange

BeXeXTM is a new event format and methodology that enables the peer to peer sharing of valuable information between business leaders to help them solve their challenges.

HCBA are running a series of Business Experience Exchange events in partnership with the Surrey Chambers of Commerce. The first of which is on 29th January 2014 in Redhill.

It is your opportunity to exchange ideas and discuss issues with other managers and owners of local businesses in a unique format.

Hot Topic: Social Media Marketing

The first session will cover the use of social media in a B2B context, lead by a social media marketing expert.

Afterwards we open the floor for an interactive discussion on the issues you face, there is no agenda except the one you help create. There will be other business experts on hand to discuss any business issue you want to raise, however the experts aren’t the only ones who know a thing or two about business. Some of the best ideas come from those that manage their own business, who not only have been there but are there and doing it, business people like you!

If you manage an SME business and would like to exchange your experiences, challenges and opportunities with other similar business people, make sure you are part of the Business Experience Exchange.

Date: Wednesday 29th January 2014 Time: 18.00 – 20.00 hrs

Venue: East Surrey College, Redhill, RH1 2JX

To Attend:
Tel: 01483 735540

Or Visit:

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Bank of Cyprus Owner Managed Business Barometer Shows Business Confidence Improving

The Bank of Cyprus undertakes research 3 times a year to provide an on-going measure of the level of confidence within the Owner managed business sector in the UK. The research is based on a survey of decision makers all of whom are sole or part owners of businesses with 50 or fewer employees. This latest research was carried out in November 2013.

The headlines of this research show that confidence has been growing throughout the year and were at its highest point at the end of the year.

46% of the respondents expect sales and revenue to grow in the next quarter, compared to 32% and 38% in the previous two surveys. Over the longer term the results are even more impressive with 56% expecting sales and revenue to grow in the next 12 months. This is up from 50% and 43% from the previous two surveys.

This optimism is being reinforced by real success with 39% reporting new contracts and 12% entering new markets.
They also believe that the chances of securing finance from the banks is improving. 41% now believe that their banks will support them with new finance, up from 24% in the previous survey.

This is great news for the UK economy and for the survival of small businesses.