There can’t be a business owner in the UK who isn’t familiar with the changes that have occurred in the business funding market over the last five or six years.
They may be one of the lucky ones who have not been seriously and negatively affected by the change in the financial climate. They may not have had their facilities reduced or seen their costs increase. They may not have been forced to provide ever greater security for their borrowings or found themselves frozen out of access to any new borrowing.
Indeed, although the last five years have been extremely challenging for many businesses in the UK, there have been those who have continued to grow in spite of these conditions.
The fact is that these are the businesses with options. They might operate in sectors not frowned upon by lenders. Their assets and profits support goodwill from lenders too. The ups and downs of the economy have only limited effect on their access to capital.
But for many, many others the reality has been very different. With the major High Street banks providing their one and only option, even a small change in attitude, a tweak in lender criteria and the results for these businesses can be disastrous.
What is needed is greater knowledge and transparency leading to greater choice for businesses.
I am proposing a radical, new initiative on this front. A form of clearing facility for business lending, somewhere that the business owner can go when the answer from their bank is no. A real alternative.
Watch this space.