Let’s take a look at funding for Startups with 4 alternative options in 2015. Keeping any business competitive is a challenge for anyone involved at the sharp end of managerial strategy and financing will always play a key part in decision making processes that really matter in that context.
In fact, without working capital and ready access to cash, it is easy for financial constraints to squeeze the life out of even very viable and vibrant businesses. But with mainstream lenders broadly reluctant or unwilling to provide credit to enterprises at present, new alternatives are increasingly being made available in the UK and elsewhere.
Here’s a look at 4 such alternatives that are having a real impact on the way businesses are making their finances work in 2015.
1. Crowdfunding and peer-to-peer finance funding for startups
You may only have heard of crowdfunding in the context of somewhat gimmicky start-up scenarios through platforms such as Kickstarter. But the scope of these processes and peer-to-peer (P2P) financing more generally has radically expanded in recent years.
Indeed, in the scale of loans being accessed through P2P platforms in UK doubled to a value of £1.2 billion in 2014, during which time 90 per cent more borrowers made use of the financing processes involved. Every expectation is that there will continue to be fast-growing interest and a much expanded reliance on P2P funding among enterprises of all sizes over the course of 2015 and beyond.
2. Invoice finance
For businesses facing a potentially very damaging squeeze on their finances, the key focus tends to be squarely on accessing cash quickly and affordably. With traditional loans and other credit facilities notoriously difficult to make use of for SMEs, invoice finance solutions have been emerging as viable and appealing options.
As with P2P services, the processes involved in invoice financing are being streamlined and simplified by new online platforms that make it possible for businesses to quickly turn their unpaid invoices into upfront cash. There are fees and strict terms involved but the popularity of these processes is continuing to grow in 2015 as it has been for the past several years.
3. Growth loans
For ambitious small or medium-sized businesses in any field, growth is usually the essential aim being targeted year-on-year and financing is very often designed primarily to fuel that expansion as much as is possible. So for those companies that succeed in achieving that growth, a lack of finance at crucial moments can be a real source of frustration, which is why growth loans are increasingly playing an important role.
These loans tend only to be available to companies that can demonstrate consistently growing revenues and a solid business case for the future. So not all operators will be able to access finance through growth loans but they are increasingly being turned to by businesses keen to continue an upward operational trajectory.
4. Merchant cash advances
Our final non-bank finance option making an impact in 2015 is merchant cash advances, which won’t be suitable for all types of business but for those that use card terminals can be a real game-changer. The process involves merchants being advanced a lump sum amount by a lender on the basis of turnover likely to be derived through a payment card machine. The simplicity and all-important accessibility of cash advances as a financing solution is helping to make it an increasingly popular option in 2015.
John Baird is a personal finance and insolvency expert from Scotland Debt Solutions. He specialises in advising people on how to manage their money and deal with their personal debt problems.