In recent years there has been a huge increase in the number of different financing options available to SMEs.
The enormous range of products and providers now on the market is leaving many business owners completely lost when it comes to understanding what their business needs, and which type of funders they should be approaching.
We spoke to CEO & Founder Matt Gubba about how BizBritain are trying to help connect the right businesses with the right finance providers.
- Company: BizBritain
- What it does, in a sentence: Sources specialist commercial finance for SMEs
- Founded: 2012, London
- Founder: Matt Gubba
- Size of team: 10
- Your name and role: CEO & Founder
What problem is BizBritain trying to solve?
BizBritain aims to help SMEs understand which financial products are right for their circumstances, then connect them with the right finance providers.
The biggest challenge right now for small business owners looking to raise finance is there’s such a large choice of products and funders it’s confusing. Most people simply don’t know where to start, so they go with the default option of applying for a loan either from their bank or one of the big-name alternative funders.
For most small businesses this is the wrong choice, and it often leads to disappointment and frustration. Those types of lenders base their decisions purely on algorithms designed to sniff out the lowest risk “Vanilla” deals. Most small businesses don’t fall into that category and therefore end up getting turned down.
Our approach is to take time to understand the story behind the business and the narrative around why they need the money. We can then use our expertise to advise which type of product is most suitable and connect the business with a provider who is likely to have an appetite for the deal.
How do you make money?
Our revenue model is quite simple. For every deal we facilitate we make a percentage commission which gets paid to us by the finance provider. This is great for the customer because it means in most cases, they pay us nothing for our service.
What advice would you give to entrepreneurs trying to secure financing?
Firstly, Preparation is key. Make sure you’ve submitted your latest accounts to Companies House and you’re coming from a position of strength. Nothing turns funders off more than businesses applying to them when they are desperate and have run out of cash. It shows bad management. The best time to apply for financing is before you need it.
It’s important you know why you need the money, as this will have a significant impact on which kind of product is right for you.
What metrics do you look at every day?
There are several things I look at daily. Our cash position is a given, but I also look at the number of new enquiries we’ve received, the breakdown of where they’ve come from, how many deals have been converted, and the financial value of those deals to us.
Understanding your cashflow and sales pipeline should be of key importance to every business owner.
What’s been the most valuable lesson you’ve learnt so far?
Undoubtedly, it’s that the most important factor in the success of your business is hiring a good team. Without a solid team you’re fighting a losing battle. You’re only as good as the team of people you employ at the end of the day. Always hire the very best people you can, then give them the freedom to do their jobs without micromanagement.
What’s been your biggest mistake so far?
Hiring the wrong people because it seemed cheaper and easier at the time. This was a tough lesson to learn, and it’s something which can kill your business if you don’t rectify it quickly. Very early on in our journey we made some bad hiring decisions because we thought we wanted to fill the positions quickly and we didn’t want to spend too much money. Ultimately this proved to be a false economy and it wasted a lot of our time.
A piece of advice for the budding entrepreneurs reading this?
Get the funds your business requires to operate in place as early as possible.
Nothing puts the breaks on a business faster than running out of cash, and if you wait until you run out the only options that’ll be open to you (if any) will be very high cost.