How to Maximise your Chances of Securing a Small Business Loan

One of the biggest challenges start-ups and fledgling businesses face is securing the funding they need to realise their potential.

A majority of business owners feel that finding finance is difficult in the current climate, and in particular, that banks are reluctant to provide business loans at competitive rates.

So to help you maximise your chances of getting that all-important business loan, we asked Rishi Khosla, the CEO and co-founder of OakNorth Bank – a bank that specialises in lending to entrepreneurs and growth businesses – to share his valuable insight and personal experiences with ByteStart readers;
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Last few days for Shell Springboard entries and the chance to win up to £150,000 of funding

With Global Entrepreneurship Week in full-swing, businesses are being urged to submit their entries for the 2016 Shell Springboard Program before the deadline for applications closes on Friday 20th, November.

The Shell Springboard Program offers funding awards of up to £150,000 to small enterprises with innovative, commercially viable business ideas that reduce carbon emissions and help in the move to a lower carbon economy.

Successful applicants will also enjoy the benefits of networking with the key players in the low-carbon sector and exciting publicity opportunities.
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How peer-to-peer lending offers start-ups and small businesses a new funding option

If you need more finance to grow your business, there are a number of options which you might wish to consider. You could turn to your own personal savings, ask family members for help, get a bank loan, issue shares, or speak to some business angels or venture capitalists.

Or you could consider peer-to-peer (P2P) lending.

P2P lending is fast becoming the norm for businesses needing finance to get an idea off the ground or raise the capital necessary to expand and take projects to the next level.

But whilst it’s become a more common financial avenue for SMEs to pursue, it’s still not as well-known as it could be. According to a 2014 Nesta Report, only 44% of UK small businesses have heard of P2P lending.

So what exactly is peer-to-peer lending and how can small and growing businesses use it to finance growth?
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What to do if your company is running out of cash

Starting up and sustaining a company is a tough challenge for even the most gifted of entrepreneurs or the brains behind the business world’s biggest and best ideas. Within that context, the margins for error tend to be slim, particularly when it comes to financial matters and the business of balancing your books.

Here are some of the best options potentially available to you if your company is facing a financial squeeze and is running out of cash, along with some ideas on how to approach the turnaround process.
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Cashflow Forecasting – top tips to produce a better cash flow forecast

When you are starting a new business, you will most likely need to produce a cashflow forecast.

If you’re looking to raise money, from either a bank loan or outside investors, a cash flow will be one of the financial forecasts that you will need to produce for prospective lenders and investors.

As your business grows, a cash flow forecast becomes an increasingly important tool to help you manage the business and to avoid any sudden cash flow problems.

We all therefore appreciate the importance of a cash flow forecast, but are there any trade secrets to doing it better?

Here are some top tips to help you produce a better, more accurate cash flow forecast first time, and how you can use it to give your business a commercial advantage.
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8 signs that a small business may be approaching insolvency

Although it does not necessarily herald the end of a small business, decline into insolvency can bring significant changes in company structure, operations and management style.

It’s worth checking your company for characteristic signs that, if spotted and acted upon early enough, could help you to steer the business away from danger.

Here are 8 early warning signs that indicate your small business could be heading for financial trouble, and the actions you can take to overcome them. (more…)

Business angels or dragons – who do you trust to invest in your company?

Looking for an investor to help fund your business? You’d better make sure they’re an angel, not a dragon!

Most businesses require outside investment at some point in their development. Whether you are a new business needing a cash injection to get started, or an established company looking to launch a new product or move into new markets, attracting investment will be essential to your venture’s success.
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How to get your customers to fund your business start-up

While “entrepreneur” may occasionally be a euphemism for “out of work”, there are more and more individuals working in earnest to start a business of their own. Indeed, statistics show no fewer than 400 million such individuals globally, with over 2 million in the UK and 20 million in the US.

Sadly, many of these ventures will never get off the ground at all. Of those that do, the majority will fail. Of those who submit business plans to venture capital investors, less than one percent will get the funding they seek.

Those elite few who do raise finance have to give away large portions of their company and control in return. Worse still, many business founders who do receive venture capital money get fired within a year of the investment.

Despite the challenge of raising money, and the serious potential downsides, there is a widespread notion that if you are an entrepreneur looking to build a successful, growing business, you need to write a business plan and raise a few million pounds. But this vision is essentially wrong.
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Factoring for small businesses – the pros and cons

If you’re doing well enough that your business is growing rapidly you would expect your finances to be healthy. But that isn’t always the case.

If your firm is expanding quickly, you could find that your cash flow becomes a problem, even though your business is profitable.

It’s a unique financial situation where you are selling so much that you can’t get the money in the door fast enough to pay for the raw materials you need for your next batch of products.
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£100 million business funding scheme now open to all high growth potential companies

The Angel CoFund, which provides investment capital for businesses with the potential for rapid growth, can now be tapped by companies from all over the UK.

Previously, only high-growth businesses in specific geographical areas of the UK were eligible for funding through the CoFund. However, a £50 million finance boost from the government’s Business Bank initiative sees the fund being opened to businesses from all parts of the UK.
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How to fund your business – Overview

One of the least exciting things about starting your own business is getting the finances sorted out (unless you’re an accountant of course).

But it is one of the most important tasks. It doesn’t matter how good you are at what you do – if the money runs out, your business is dead.
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