Mark Gibbons is senior access to finance specialist at Access to Finance Lancashire. Access to Finance provides fully funded (no cost to access) bespoke finance support for businesses. Its dedicated finance specialists have expert knowledge of public and private sector funding channels, helping local businesses to identify the most relevant sources of funding.
Mark shares some insights on business funding.
What gets you excited about helping businesses secure funding?
The joy a business owner gets from securing funding, and the realisation that they can put their plans into action. Also, the genuine appreciation for the help provided, especially on completion of a difficult funding proposition.
When looking for funding, where should a business start?
The starting point should always be asking the question if external funding is really required or whether the business could make improvements and changes to improve cashflow. If external funding is required preparation of financial statements is vital to the process.
What are your top tips to get a business investment ready?
Once a business identifies a need to finance, my top tip would be to have a targeted approach to the funding required. A very different approach is required to secure debt funding than embarking on an equity raise.
What are the common pitfalls businesses make when seeking funding?
Starting the process too late is one of the major pitfalls. The process starts with robust cashflow forecasting to know exactly what funding requirement the business will have and when. Then a targeted approach be made in a timely manner. Rushing and cutting corners on a funding application often causes needless and avoidable delays and declines.
What are funders looking for in a leader and management team?
Experience and track record are crucial, so this needs to be articulated in a pitch document or business plan. It needs to evidence the right team is in place to execute the strategic business plan. Highlighting key areas like background, skills and accomplishments are important, also to acknowledge if there are gaps that need to be addressed.
Why should investors and funders be looking to Lancashire businesses?
A wealth of historic and innovative businesses call Lancashire home – from manufacturing to a global aerospace sector consisting of many businesses in the supply chain to the acclaimed universities facilitating spin-outs and entrepreneurs provide many exciting investment opportunities.
For further information, visit Home | A2F Lancashire (growthco.uk).