Manchester entrepreneurs have always played a key role in the UK business landscape, with a bigger economy than either Northern Ireland or Wales. That economy has been growing even stronger since 2012, with a 42% increase as well as soaring numbers of jobs.
Besides remaining competitive thanks to lower operating costs than London, the only city economy still bigger than Manchester’s, a growing range of finance options provide plenty of opportunity for the city’s entrepreneurs the start that they need. More small and medium sized businesses are relying on a great range of funding options, so let’s explore which business finance options might be the right solution for you.
Traditionally the most common kind of business finance, there are more business loans available today than ever. Start-up loans and long-term loans are available from most major banks as well as the Greater Manchester Investment Fund from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.
However, there’s a growing range of short-term loans on offer as well. These can help cope with one-time costs or pay off loans. Peer-to-peer lending is also growing nationwide. These are mostly provided in online lending platforms, where investors put their money together to lend in the hopes of making a return. While banks are notoriously risk averse, peer-to-peer lending platforms tend to be more flexible in loan duration and terms.
Also known as business angels, informal investors, or seed investors, the angel investor is usually a successful individual with experience in business who offer capital for a business. The terms of such an investment can differ, with the most common being either a share of business in ownership equity or convertible debt to repay the investment. Besides the funding they provide, angel investors are often sought out for the prestige their name can add to the business as well as the advice and networking connections that they sometimes offer.
Another option becoming much more popular thanks to the internet, with Kickstarter currently being the most popular and successful amongst them, but competitors such as GoFundMe are growing. These platforms allow entrepreneurs to set a crowdfunding campaign and a time period in which they need to reach that goal. Anyone can contribute funding to try and reach it. If the goal is met, the entrepreneur gets the money but, if it isn’t, the money is most often released back to the funders. Because crowdfunding is not a loan, there are no repayments necessary. However, crowdfunding platforms do charge fees for successfully funded projects. Patreon is another option similar to crowdfunding. Rather than raising a lump sum for a specific goal, however, it sees contributors (or Patrons) paying the business as much as they want every month. Primarily, this is used in creative fields, with such as illustration, podcasting, or video production.
Dave Beard from Manchester based finance website Lending Expert explains that with more businesses relying on invoicing their customers or clients, the associated problems with invoicing are also on the rise. Primarily, late or slow paying customers which can endanger the cash flow of the business. Invoice finance has lenders buy outstanding invoices from entrepreneurs, subtracting a percentage of the overall invoice amount as a fee. Some invoice finance providers will then handle the sale and the customer themselves, while others will hold the business owner responsible for retrieving the money and paying it back directly to them, instead.
Merchant cash advance
Other businesses rely on card sales for their revenue. Merchant cash advances work similarly to invoice financing. However, instead of buying what a business is owed, they divine the average monthly payments made through credit and debit cards and offer a lump sum cash payment. The business owner then pays back the MCA providers with a share of future card payments.
The asset finance option helps business owners secure the equipment they need, often used for machinery, power tools, vehicles, and so on. The entrepreneur will pay a share of overall cost at the beginning, while the financier pays the rest. The business then continues to pay monthly for the use of the asset over an agreed amount of time. At the end of the payment period, the business owner will fully own the asset. This allows business owners to more easily gain access to equipment that can be crucial to the growth of the business without having to immediately take on the whole cost.
Whether starting a business, improving your cash flow, expanding a fleet, increasing your staff size, or scaling your operations entirely, Manchester entrepreneurs can benefit from an ever-growing range of flexible financing options.