I was listening to the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 the other morning and was intrigued to hear a segment featuring an interesting engineering business, AB Dynamics, located in Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire.
Specialists in the manufacture of high value, high quality, advanced testing systems for the global motor trade, AB Dynamics boast auto behemoths Toyota and BMW among their clients.
A trip through their website quickly shows us that this company is the real deal. A business that is not only at the forefront of their field, but one that has identified what is needed to grow and thrive in today’s challenging commercial climate.
Interviewer Evan Davis described AB Dynamics as “the type of company we need, just what the doctor ordered.” It is from business such as this that we will find real growth in our economy.
It turns out that AB Dynamics recently raised £2.5m with a listing on the AIM market (the London stock exchange for small businesses). The funds raised will be used to increase Asian marketing efforts and build a new facility in Bradford-on-Avon. Inspirational stuff!
However, not every business can float on the AIM market, in fact only 23 have raised funds this way this year. With several million small businesses looking for finance each year this is a useful, but tiny, drop in the ocean. AIM are trying to encourage more businesses to list, but this will always be an option for the few, not the majority.
What brought me up short as I listened were the comments made by MD Tim Rogers when it came to discuss funding issues. Quizzed by Davis on his requirements for a bank overdraft to provide day-to-day working capital, Tim Rogers said, “Companies like ourselves will never go back to the bank for working capital.”
For those of us talking to business owners every day about funding issues, this comes as little surprise. We have spent the last 10 years developing pension-led funding as a real alternative to traditional, bank-led funding and know the issues that many business owners face in attracting finance well.
But to hear this from the MD of a thriving, future-forward business such as AB Dynamics should make every Bank Chairman in the country sit up and take notice.