Alternative finance has grown enormously in size, recognition, and influence in the UK since Boost Capital launched in 2012. But, Britain’s SMEs still need all the help they can get – and that we, as an industry, can give. Which is why the importance of commercial finance brokers should never be underestimated. We launched our Commercial Finance Broker Programme almost as soon as our business went live because we recognise the strength of the relationships these professionals have with small businesses, and their ability to reach companies that may otherwise languish without proper support. It’s not surprising, therefore, that Boost Capital wants to develop a healthy relationship with brokers themselves.
We cultivate brokers who have a precise understanding of growing businesses’ needs, as well as invaluable experience of pairing companies with the right kind of financing. While Boost Capital is a direct lender, brokers are also a vital link in the chain connecting us to business owners. The bonds of trust between brokers and their SME clients are strong and well-established, brokers know what makes their regular clients tick, and they can see how a company’s goals may be best achieved. That knowledge is precious. Thankfully, over the past three years, more members of the broking community have come to realise our style of short-term, unsecured business funding can complement the work they already do with other finance providers. Our loans sit comfortably alongside invoice factoring, or leasing and asset finance, for example. Many SMEs employ a suite of finance at any one time, using different styles for different aspects of their operation. Experience shows that short-term loans prove particularly useful for things such as working capital, investing in new equipment or stock, refurbishing premises, marketing costs, or implementing expansion plans.
There are a number of aspects of Boost Capital’s operation that brokers tell me they like – our high acceptance rate is one. We specialise in working with industries that more traditional lenders often shun – hospitality, construction, wholesale, and retail to name just a few – and we don’t expect businesses to jump through hoops to stand a chance of success. Our application process is simple and fast, with minimum paperwork, and no security required. Usually, all it involves is an email or call to one of our dedicated funding analysts, providing basic company information, such as average monthly turnover, and the business’s background. Before you know it, you’ve got an instant quote.
Speed is also of the essence when it comes to getting money into a business’s bank account. Often, we give approval in as little as 24 hours, and funding within two days in some cases. We handle the application itself, swiftly go through the underwriting process, and, assuming all is well, make a pre-approved offer to the business owner. Subject to a few simple verifications, the funds are sent across as quickly as possible.
The frequency with which Boost customers tend to renew loans is also attractive to our broker peers, for obvious reasons. Seven out of ten of the SMEs with which Boost Capital works come back for a second or third tranche of funding. Such repeat business is evidently working for the enterprises concerned, it’s good for us, and, of course, it’s beneficial for the brokers involved.
Others in the broking industry say they like the fact we’re backed by such a successful US parent. Business Financial Services (BFS) has been operating in the US for more than a decade, and has a wealth of experience providing short-term funding for small firms in all walks of American life. The UK business is in the hugely fortunate position to be able to draw on this depth of knowledge, while shaping our own offering to suit the British market, which does differ in some regards. But the success of BFS is impressive – only recently it announced it had arranged more than $1 billion worth of funding for small businesses, which is no mean feat. All of this – and Boost’s own three years of successful trading in Britain – goes to show that we’re an operation to be reckoned with, I believe.
Alternative finance is opening up funding options for small business owners, as well as the brokers who work with them, and Boost Capital is an important part of that finance revolution. We’re keen to develop yet more relationships in the broking world to ensure that as many SMEs as possible are able to take advantage of the full range of funding opportunities now available to them. My door is always open to those who are interested to know more about what we at Boost Capital do, and particularly brokers who want to join us in helping the continued growth of the UK’s ambitious enterprises. As said, there’s still much work to do in that vein. But, together, I believe we can achieve great things for our own businesses, and Britain’s SMEs.
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