SMEs looking further afield for funding

When it comes to securing finance, businesses working in information and communications are more likely than those in other sectors to consider alternative sources of financing such as peer-to-peer (P2P) lending or equity finance, a survey suggests.

The survey of 5,000 UK small to medium enterprises (SMEs) conducted by ICM found that information and communications businesses were the most keen to consider relatively new forms of funding such as P2P lending (32% and 33%, against a national average of 23%).

Information and communication businesses were also considering selling equity in their business to help raise funding for expansion (25% against a national average of 16%). Manufacturing, professional services, science and technology and real estate firms were also more likely to sell equity (23%, 21% and 20% respectively), with agricultural firms much less likely to do so (8%).

The survey, commissioned by the Business Banking Insight (BBI)- an independent project set up to assist micro and small companies – found that 73% of businesses would consider investing their own money to expand their business, 63% would consider a business loan and 59% would consider a business overdraft.

To find out more information about financing, 70% of small businesses would consider talking to their bank, 78% would turn to their accountant, 58% would talk to an independent financial adviser (IFA) and 41% would look online at financial advice websites.

Mike Cherry, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) policy director and spokesperson for the BBI, said: “Investment is a vital element of business growth, and finding the right finance for your businesses needs is critical. Today, there are increasingly diverse and innovative ways to secure business finance. However more traditional bank-sourced lending continues to dominate the market for SMEs.”

John Longworth, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and BBI spokesperson added: “The best financial guidance will be specific to each business, which is one of the reasons why accountants, banks and IFAs that offer personal interaction with customers score the highest among businesses.

“However, many firms are learning that there is a plethora of detailed and intelligent advice that is easily accessible online, which makes it important for banks and financial services providers to continue to adapt their services to support the changing needs of business customers.”


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