Six tips for those comparing alternative business finance

Conrad Ford gives advice on choosing the right funding options before taking the plunge into your business.

If your company needs funding, it isn’t always obvious what kind of solutions are available to meet your needs in the best possible way.

This is particularly true for the rapidly growing alternative finance market. This has massively increased the funding options accessible to UK companies beyond traditional lenders and mainstream financial service providers.

Here are some tips worth having in mind if you’re approaching the process of comparing potential alternative finance options for your business.

Consider specialist alternative lenders for your business stage

The specific challenges facing an individual company will often be unique to that particular business and the market it’s operating in.

Therefore, when it comes to business finance, a one-size-fits-all approach isn’t always appropriate. Demand for specialist services in these contexts has seen new forms of financing emerge rapidly in recent years.

You can get specialist funding products for newly trading firms, scale-ups, more established businesses and even those in a degree of trouble.

Be clear about your priorities

No-one is likely to be better placed to know your business and its particular financial needs more precisely than you.

Financial service providers can help solve any problems you’re facing but it is crucial to have a clear sense of your own priorities before approaching the process of weighing different funding options against one another.

From there you’ll be much more solidly placed to make the right calls and pursue the most appropriate course of action as far as your company’s finances are concerned.

Do your homework

The range of funding facilities available to businesses of any size in the UK has never been greater, which means that carrying out research can pay significant dividends in terms of helping company bosses find precisely the kind of solutions they need.

Understand different category alternatives

The various funding options available to different businesses in the UK can generally be bracketed into categories and it can be useful for relevant decision-makers to appreciate these essential distinctions.

For example, if your company needs to access items of equipment in order to develop and grow then asset finance could be the right option.

Or, if you’re in need of swift access to working capital then invoice financing or term loans could be the right way to go.

Beyond that there are a variety of other options including commercial mortgages and what are broadly described as alternative growth finance solutions, which vary considerably but can be tailored to meet the needs of particular circumstances.

Don’t assume the worst

It can be tough for business bosses to see a light at the end of the tunnel when financial pressures are mounting up but it’s important to realise than even seemingly dire situations can be turned around with the right support.

Plus, many of the latest finance solutions available are designed specifically to help ailing companies find a way back to sustainability and towards future prosperity.

Get expert advice

If you are considering your options in the context of any form of alternative finance then it can be prudent to seek the advice and guidance of experts in the field.

There are complexities involved in these contexts that can lead to uncertainty if you’re approaching the process unaided.

And, given what could be at stake, it generally makes good sense for company bosses to access at least some measure of specialist and impartial advice before taking on any form of unfamiliar finance solution.

Further reading on alternative finance

Conrad Ford

Conrad Ford

Conrad Ford is founder and CEO of Funding Options, an online marketplace for UK business finance.

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Business Finance

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