As I travel around the country talking about alternative financing, and specifically pension-led funding, I am always surprised by the number of business owners, accountants, financial advisers and consultants who are simply unaware of some of the options and benefits in considering alternative, or non-bank, funding.
In our own specialist field, that of enabling business owners to invest a portion of their personal pension pots in their own business, the most common reaction is “this sounds too good to be true” followed by “and why haven’t I heard of it before?”
We’ve been in this business since the mid-1980s and have seen a decent rise in some areas of knowledge of alternative funding, however this rise still leaves general levels of understanding painfully low.
I wish I had a simple answer to this question. My guess is that we are really simple folk at heart and we like to keep things uncomplicated.
You get a pizza from a pizzeria, a house from an estate agent and money from a bank. And yet in each of these examples there have been significant disruptions to the traditional ways of doing business, brought about almost exclusively through the adoption of new technologies.
From centralised online ordering of delivery pizza, to websites that compare, contrast and value properties and the now increasingly popular banking from your smart phone. These innovations keep the businesses relevant and therefore visible.
Much the same needs to happen in the world of business funding. Disruption by using technology to improve choice, information and ultimately to lower costs. As those of us interested in the growth and success of alternative funding should realise, thoughts of business-as-usual should have been long banished.
The big operators, the banks and hedge funds are waking up to this in a big way. Now is the time for the more nimble of us to seize the opportunity to make providing finance to businesses quicker, easier and cheaper.
We just have to keep finding exciting and innovative ways to get in front of business owners at the point of maximum impact.
When they need us.