Simon Cureton has more than twenty years’ experience in finance, ranging from global corporate banks to alternative lending startups. He’s now CEO of Funding Options, the leading funding platform for SMEs in the UK and the Netherlands, so he’s well aware of the challenges that entrepreneurs and management teams face in securing the finance they need to grow and thrive.
Simon has seen the funding landscape shaken by two major shocks in not much more than a decade. First, the 2008 crash paralysed the whole lending market, drying up the liquidity in the system and placing the big banks under huge pressure. On the positive side, this jumpstarted the rise of a host of alternative, non-bank lenders offering innovative solutions such as peer-to-peer lending and funding circles.
Recovery was painfully slow, and before it was really complete, Covid changed the whole landscape once again, cutting off many businesses’ established revenue streams and forcing them to move online. The upside this time was that this gave further impetus to the digitalisation process that had been gathering pace over the last few years.
In business finance, lenders have been forced to be agile and innovative. New products are emerging all the time, and if entrepreneurs know where to go, they can secure the funding they need far more rapidly and efficiently than ever before. But that’s a big if. The lending market now is fragmented, constantly churning, and extremely confusing.
Funding Options’ aim is to help SMEs cut through this complexity and point them quickly towards the right lender and the right form of finance for them. The company takes care of the due diligence and allows borrowers access to all of the market in one hit, offering products ranging from merchant cash advances to property asset finance.
Simon Cureton believes that there are a few simple steps that business owners can take to improve their chances of securing that funding. They need to inform themselves about the market, get their management accounts in good order, and make sure they can communicate clearly what challenges their business faces and why they’re seeking finance.