Raising Finance

Smart SMEs need to cover basic costs themselves before they look for funding

5 min read

26 September 2018

Features Editor, Real Business

Many SMEs face funding concerns, but what are they? And can business owners do more to prepare for these roadblocks?

It shouldn’t count as breaking news that many SMEs are constantly searching for reliable means of funding. But small business owners shouldn’t wait until they are in desperate need of a ‘quick-fix’ funding solution before they start thinking of finance.

They should start by assessing their funding needs long before they need that cash injection, instead, they should be looking at what elements of their business requires funding in the long-term.

So SME owners, the key to improving your chances of gaining funding relies upon a coherent internal team strategy. Start by evaluating the cost-heavy arms of your business and incorporate these costs into your long-term finance seeking strategy.

According to research produced by Liberis, an alternative finance provider, there are some very common financial pressure points UK SMEs face. By addressing what these common pressures are, perhaps SMEs can save seeking finance for more important growth options. 

The context

SMEs may be small, but they offer significant contributions to the UK economy, some £200 billion, according to our friends at Liberis. But as many small business owners know, whilst they are lauded by business society as a cornerstone of the UK economy, they continue to struggle to access funding.

Over half of UK SMEs are unable to access vital funding, with a reported 30% of them requiring funding just to stay in existence, which leads them down the road to alternative finance providers. But before they run to these resources with cap in hand, SME owners should look to their most crucial funding requirements for their business before the juice runs out. To make a start, they should look at the most common funding requirements for UK SMEs below.

What are the main cost heavy concerns for SMEs?

What the statistics show is that there are many urgent funding requirements that SMEs commonly need in order to continue operating, such as paying taxes and bills, including insurance payments, and even just to stay out of the red.

  • New equipment – 39%
  • Marketing – 34%
  • Product development – 32%
  • Keeping up to date – 30%
  • Keeping afloat – 26%
  • Paying tax/bills – 23%
  • Insurance – 19%
  • Employee benefits – 17%
  • Relocation / new buildings – 15%
  • Domestic expansion – 15%

Popular concerns such as ‘operational costs’ including getting ‘new equipment’ and even simply keeping the business ‘afloat’ show that SMEs may wait until they are running on empty before they reach out for financing at the last minute.

Reputation

With these statistics in mind, we can’t blame ‘traditional’ finance providers such as banks being a little hesitant when it comes to the idea of offering SMEs funding. As so many of them evidently do not make reservations for the most basic operational costs.

But these facts shouldn’t make SME owners stick their hands in the sand and wait for a solution to fall out of the sky. Instead, what is needed before they even consider alternative finance, is making sure there is full communication between all arms of the business internally.

Solution: Reserve seeking funding for the bigger things

By holding team meetings and agreeing upon what cost-saving elements can be employed, and what services they can temporarily cut, SMEs can make provisions that mean the business can operate at a basic functional level.

This means they should only go and seek finance to grow, or to add another service to the business, instead of seeking finance in a haze of panic just to make sure the business can stay afloat for the short term.

SMEs must save their funding search tokens for when it’s most important, such as growing their business to the next level. When it comes to seeking finance, small business owners, if they can help it, should be looking for long-term funding vaccinations, not quick-fix cash injections.