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Challenging times and how to beat them

Published on: 1/24/2024 12:00:00 PM

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Being a business owner is an exciting journey, but it certainly isn’t for the faint hearted and carries a lot of financial uncertainty.

Luckily, there's plenty of financial support available and finance products on the market across Greater Manchester - for all types of businesses - no matter where they are on their journey. 

SimpliFi is here to help you understand the different types of finance options available, making the process of starting, scaling or nurturing your business a simple one.  

In this blog, we review the panel discussion from our launch held on the 30th of November 2023. Where we sat down and spoke to the GM Business Growth Hub’s previous Head of Access to Finance, Philip Hargreaves, our Head of Enterprise, Yvonne Sampson as well as being joined by Miles Rothbury from the GM Business Board and Group Treasurer for Boohoo Group. The panel explored the current market conditions and some of the challenges facing businesses, and how SimpliFi can help. 

Challenging economic times  

If we look back over the last 15 years. We've come from a period of incredibly benign financial and economic conditions in the UK since the global financial crisis of 2008. We've had interest rates at a record low, inflation under control, again at a very low level. And from around the globe a lot of generally peaceful free trade environments for businesses to operate in. 

Fast forward to the last couple of years and we've seen an incredible level of volatility. Whilst that might not look like a lot on a historic graph, the speed of that change is something that has been difficult for businesses and consumers to operate within. Interest rates have gone up from near enough 0% to 5% and closer to 5.5%. 

We've had inflation rising at the highest level in 30 years. Volatility in exchange rates have been changing the price of goods and services. All these things have an impact on confidence and on people's ability and desire to take risk. 

Navigate through the complexity 

We have seen a massive expansion in the number and style of financial products available to small businesses since the last recession. However, with this expansion, we now see a complex hierarchy of financial products, which increases the challenge of navigating the various services that are available. 

There has been a big explosion around fintech, big explosion around access to funding and finance instruments through online investment portals. We've seen changes in High Street banking from challenger banks to alternative finance solutions. 

There's never been a better time to borrow money or to seek investment. There's so much out there, but that comes with an added complexity, which means that a lot of entrepreneurs and business owners don't really understand what might be available for their business at any given stage of its life cycle. 

Today, it’s more about a blended approach to getting funding and finance, whether that might be debt-based products, like commercial overdrafts, loans and mortgages, or equity. Within asset finance, for example, there's a broad spectrum of products available.  

There’s also a wide breadth of providers out there, and so what our finance team try to do is educate businesses and help them understand what products and services might be right for them dependant on where they are along their business journey. In this way, you don’t have to go to 15 different places to have 15 different conversations. Come to SimpliFi and have 1, be targeted in your approach, this will ensure you unlock your business quicker. 

How to get business funding 

Business owners are wanting to take on potential investment or debt to grow their businesses, to move them on to the next level, but don’t know where to start. And that's where SimpliFi and our finance team within the GM Business Growth Hub come into it. SimpliFi is your entry point into the finance world and accessing further support. 

SimpliFi can really help businesses understand, in a jargon free, simple way, what might be available to them or what they might need to access. Then we can drill down to what products and services are available. But more importantly, we can help bring visibility to what some of those products and services might do when delivered for your business.  

What’s more, we can connect you with both public and private funding experts who can help navigate finance options that suit your business, ensure your financial assets are in order and support the process of engaging with investors.  

Our aim is to free up more pockets of locked up capital and make them accessible to the entrepreneurs who are going to grow this economy and make the businesses of the future.