Telling the truth about SME life today

“Remember who you are, Lord Sugar!”

Writing exclusively for Real Business, Meyer says:

“Far from calling SMEs who have been refused financing ‘moaners’, those of us at Entrepreneur Country take a ‘roll-up your sleeves’ approach to business building. We are trying to be a part of the solution, rather than adding to the problem and simply passing the buck of blame. "Whether it’s in the Dragons’ Den or through the companies we meet at Ariadne or through Entrepreneur Country, I find that it is training and guidance which is required to help match the right funds to the right company and at the right price. "Many managing directors who run SMEs will not have encountered such bad trading conditions before in their lives, and so they need extra assistance in understanding how to navigate their ships through the current challenges. "In particular, they need to understand better how to reduce fixed costs, tighten contracts, negotiate, market and sell more effectively, prepare more detailed and more flexible forecasts, and access more types of finance from grants, to factoring (where appropriate), to private equity, private debt and bank finance.    "There is generally a price at which debt or equity can be concluded if the entrepreneur is prepared to be flexible; he/she may not like the price, but that’s much better than not being offered a deal at all. Indeed, a large part of what we do at Ariadne Capital is to help entrepreneurs understand the real value that they have achieved in their business, and how the market of investors will judge them.     "In my experience, none of us would have got wherever we have arrived without some help and understanding along the way. We try to ‘send the lift down’ at Entrepreneur Country and help the next generation of entrepreneurs and SME business owners to get to the next floor up.  "We are unrepentantly optimistic about the role of the entrepreneur in society. It’s a better place to be. Dynamic entrepreneurship is the only way to create real, sustainable wealth in our economy and the growth will ultimately benefit all of us.  "Alan Sugar, of all people, should know that."

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