Running a business isn’t easy. It’s all consuming, ever-changing and with the wave of digitisation, means modern businesses are practically running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Many people will remember the 'Crackberry' almost 20 years ago as an early catalyst. It was one of the first mainstream personal devices that allowed people to send work emails from home which was not great for work-life balance, but fantastic for showing your boss that you're still beavering away at midnight!
Fast forward to today. With the proliferation of smartphones and the heightened need for instant gratification, most goods and services can be bought, sold or shared in just a few clicks. And just like the modern 24 hour news cycle, the business environment has become much more dynamic and fast-changing. It's become necessary for business owners to keep up or be overtaken by more agile competitors. A lot of aspects of running a business have kept pace with the changing world and cloud accounting is a great example of this. However, until recently, accessing business finance has been lagging developments in other areas.
Traditionally, your local bank – most likely the one you have banked with since you were a kid – would be your first port of call for some funding for your business. They would have asked for a business plan, reams of supporting documents, probably a mortgage on your home, and with a little luck you might have received an approval two months later.
These days, the process for applying for business finance from a bank is pretty much the same and they take just as long to give you an answer. The main difference for small businesses is that the outcome is commonly a 'no'.
Now, that’s not to say banks won’t lend to you. They're generally very happy to lend to large businesses and are more comfortable if you put your house up against it as collateral. Outside of this it can be a drawn out, frustrating and ultimately disappointing experience for many small businesses.