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Finance Q&A: Ian Moore

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Ian Moore is managing director of TymeOnline, which offers marketplace solutions via online sales channels such as eBay, Amazon, OnBuy and B&Q amongst others. Blackburn-based TymeOnline offers a range of services to businesses to successfully outsource online sales expansion. In 2022, TymeOnline secured a £150,000 investment through NPIF – FW Capital Debt Finance, managed by FW Capital and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund. Ian shares some valuable tips from his own funding journey.

How important has funding been to the development of your business?

The funding has been of vital importance, allowing the business to further its growth and capacity expansion, and to finance the increase in staff resources and sales and marketing expenditure. Without the funding, TymeOnline would have had to drastically alter its approach to growing the business and this would have undoubtedly extended the amount of time needed to make the changes we have now made. The recent extension in the number of online marketplaces has been incredibly rapid and the business has had to react quickly to adapt and provide a service to businesses who wanted to take advantage of these new online sales channels. The funding has ensured we could do just that and we are now achieving some very good revenue growth for our business and our clients’ businesses.

What has been the biggest impact of funding for you and your business?

Probably the biggest impact has been our ability to retain the services of a high pedigree marketing agency which is helping us with a national publicity campaign, building brand awareness and also working alongside us in lead generation activities. The affordability of this initiative would not have been feasible without the funding we have received.

When looking for funding, where should a business start?

I would imagine most businesses looking for funding would naturally start with their bank. We did this but quickly realised this was not going to result in a successful or quick outcome. We found that traditional high street banks are not quick to make a decision and are still very risk averse. We therefore started to look at alternatives which included lenders such as Funding Circle but also regionally focused lenders such as FW Capital. We would recommend this approach as FW Capital were very responsive and supportive throughout the process resulting in a positive outcome for both us and the lender.

What are your top tips to get a business investment ready?

We have always paid particular attention to our numbers and have produced monthly management accounting information from virtually day one of our business commencing trading. Good conduct with your bank is of vital importance as is having a firm control of your numbers. To make the business investment ready we built a financial model that allowed us to project our business forward for the next three years and this included us to model various scenarios over areas such as revenue growth. We also made sure that we finalised our annual accounts with our external Accountants as quickly as possible and filed the accounts at Companies House to ensure our credit score was as up to date as possible.

What are funders looking for in a leader and management team?

Credibility from track record and being able to demonstrate you have the right team of people to be able to manage the business. Our business management team has many years’ experience and expertise in the sector in which we operate but also general experience in disciplines such as sales, marketing, finance, HR and technology. This all-round expertise is probably fundamental to the assessment the funder makes of your overall business proposition.

What has been the biggest lesson learnt from your funding journey/s?

The biggest lesson learnt is probably the benefit the funding has provided to the business. It has undoubtedly fast-tracked our growth ambitions and has enabled us to be able to respond to the rapidly changing market conditions brought about by the change in online shopping habits and the explosion of new entrants to the marketplace arena in the UK & Europe.

For further information, visit https://www.npif.co.uk/tymeonline/.

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