COVID-19 Business Interruption: Next Steps – Working Capital
Going into Week 5 of lockdown, we’ve pulled together a short guide and summary about using and accessing working capital during this time, which will be a key part of economic recovery for businesses in the coming months. In this guide, we have given our view on alternative sources of working capital and CBILS which we hope will be helpful.
Given the unprecedented events which have occurred over the past few weeks, we thought it would be useful to provide our contacts with a summary of the government-backed initiatives available to help support companies through this difficult period. We’ve included links to various resources, and some helpful tips to consider when contingency planning over the coming months.
Tell us about your career path so far?
I’ve spent my entire career working within financial institutions. Having started in banking I then secured a graduate scheme for an independent IF provider, working exclusively within the SME market. Following this, I spent 5 years working in corporate banking, initially as a Director of ABL in the North East and latterly heading up an International Trade team across the UK. The exposure to different business types and sectors throughout my career should stand me in great stead as I embark on my journey with CCBS.
What challenges have you encountered?
Having witnessed both sides of the banking crisis it’s become clear that in recent times we’ve seen the funding landscape change dramatically, whether that be the credit appetite displayed from the mainstream banks or the emergence of independent and alternative forms of funding. What hasn’t changed however, is the funding requirements of SME businesses. As traditional forms of finance become more difficult to obtain, clients are routinely frustrated with the lack of guidance as to what alternatives exist. I’ve now witnessed this from the side of both the funder and the customer whereby each position can be challenging.
What’s attracted you to join the team at CCBS
I’ve maintained a close relationship with the team at CCBS over the past 5 years and watched on as they’ve worked to bridge the gap between the availability of traditional forms of funding and the needs of their clients. In recent years, as the funding landscape continues to evolve, it has become increasingly evident that clients require more support to help identify and navigate solutions for their specific set of circumstances. My experience over the past 12 years should stand me in good stead when helping clients in this regard.
What does 2020 have in store?
2020 promises to be a very exciting year for us. On the back of two years of steady growth, we’re looking to continue along the same lines, and with the additional resource within company, we’ll be aiming to add value to our clients at every opportunity. We are obtaining our FCA permissions whilst working to significantly enhance our marketing capability, allowing us to maintain regular contact with our existing intermediary and client base whilst reaching out to the wider SME and professional market alike. I’m very excited to be spearheading our business development strategy and working closely with businesses and intermediaries across the region.
What is your company’s USP?
CCBS is a unique, innovative commercial finance brokerage and business consultancy. We add value by engaging with our clients in the first instance and establishing an understanding of the key drivers and motivations behind their funding requirement. Often, when we have the complete picture, it becomes clear that the end solution may not be what was first thought.
What is the best advice you have been given?
“There’s no growth in your comfort zone and no comfort in your growth zone.”
Where would you like to be in five years time?
I think the next two or three years may well be turbulent and uncertain for the business community and I would like to be part of the CCBS team that has helped its’ clients through this difficult period and ultimately supported them to achieve their business aspirations. Hopefully, in 5 years, we’ll be continuing to support our ever-expanding customer base and will have further strengthened our relationships across the professional network.
How do you like to unwind ?
I still play a bit of football although I’ve definitely lost a yard of pace as I’ve hit my mid-thirties. I also spend a lot of time at gigs, buying records and generally being one of those annoying music types.
For any enquiries please call 07719560356 or email email@example.com
The Corporate & Commercial Business Solutions Group (CCBS) will be celebrating their 5th anniversary in business this month. Michael Grahamslaw met founder Peter Cromarty to discuss the story so far and look ahead to the future.
Why did you form the business 5 years ago?
I felt that there was a gap in the market and the clients I was working with at the time were unable to find the funding they were looking for from the traditional sources. I felt that the funding landscape was changing dramatically and they needed help identifying the right solutions for their particular circumstances. To that end I established CCBS to support businesses on the client side rather than the funder side. That way we could ensure the right solution from the right lender and therefore develop longer lasting relationships which would ultimately benefit client and lender alike.
Tell us about the services you offer?
We are essentially a commercial finance brokerage and business consultancy. We can help with all forms of business finance and also assist businesses on cash management and business processes, as well as operating on a Non-Exec basis for selected clients. We launched CC Recovery Solutions (CCRS) in 2017 offering commercial debt recovery to clients and also insolvency practitioners. This is headed up by Andrea Cummings who has a wealth of experience in this sector and we have also provided outsourced credit control and receivables management services to clients so they can improve their cash position and minimise the risks to their businesses.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
For any SME business getting the resource levels right is really difficult. You really want to maximise the opportunities whilst keeping a control on the costs and this is not easy. We’ve developed the business nicely over the last five years and been careful to bring the right people in at the right time which stands us in great stead for the next phase of development.
Tell us about your team?
Matt Lister joined the business in 2018 and we have seen a significant increase in fee income as a result. As the business develops Matt will be responsible for the ongoing client relationships, management of the funder panel and FCA compliance as Operations Director. We have a new Business Development Director starting in January to spearhead our growth in 2020 and beyond and this brings an exciting feel of pro-activity to the business. Andrea Cummings heads up CCRS and provides invaluable back office support to the wider team too.
What have been your highlights of 2019?
Amid a myriad of deals the following stand out this year: The disposal of the US division of a longstanding client and organising funding in the US of that transaction. The refinance of a large industrial estate with a new challenger bank. Refinance of property vested with Bona Vacantia (Government body dealing with businesses with assets that have been struck off). Arrangement of a syndicated asset finance facility allowing the relocation and refit of a serviced office business. Providing a revolving trade finance facility for a well known North East leisure business.
What is your focus for 2020?
We have begun our FCA authorisation process and hope to have this completed by the end of the year which will enable us to grow the business focussing on quality services and adding value to existing relationships. Organic growth will come from existing and prospective clients through our investment in our marketing capabilities, and we also look forward to continuing working with our established and growing network of intermediaries. We will look to expand our CCRS arm whilst continuing work with our strategic partners NMS Financial, Anglo Scottish Asset Finance and Reward Finance Group. All in all 2020 looks pretty exciting
For further information visit www.ccbsg.co.uk or contact Peter directly on 07715 409386
A North East fitness equipment company established by one of the original founders of Sage and a former Newcastle United physiotherapist has secured £500,000 in funding from the Leeds office of Reward Finance Group.
Speedflex supplies gyms throughout the country, and currently has 14 studios operating in the UK.
The business was established and funded by entrepreneur Graham Wylie, one of the original founders of Sage, and Paul Ferris, a former Newcastle United physiotherapist.
Unlike traditional exercise machines, Speedflex does not use weights. Instead resistance is automatically adjusted in response to the user. This means that the machine responds and adjusts the resistance, allowing users to train efficiently and at an optimum level for the individual.
The company has experienced an increase in demand for the Speedflex machine and studio concept, which has created an urgent need to manufacture a further 80 machines.
The Leeds office of Reward Finance Group has provided Speedflex with a £500,000 revolving facility to support the process, having been introduced to the company by Peter Cromarty of North East-based intermediary Corporate and Commercial Business Solutions.
Mark Simpson, group finance director of Speedflex, said: “We have had to act quickly to meet the demand for the machines and while this could have been funded from further internal investment, the process ideally suited utilising a revolving facility.
“We are therefore grateful to Reward who quickly recognised Speedflex’s potential and provided us with a flexible funding solution, which met perfectly with our requirement.
“The facility will enable us to settle stage payments, as they become due, and reduce the facility at the point of sale. It will also allow us to grow the business at the pace we require.”
Alan Sanderson, portfolio manager at Reward Finance Group, added: “The amount of orders being received for the Speedflex machines demonstrates that this new technology is a great addition to the gym market, moving forwards.
“We therefore had no hesitation in providing a flexible funding solution to help the company quickly fulfil the orders and facilitate further expansion, as demand dictates.”
Matt Lister joins the team at Corporate and Commercial Business Solutions Group. Michael Grahamslaw catches up with him shortly after his move.
Can you briefly outline your journey through business?
I started out in one of the high street banks, firstly working in their card acquiring division as a corporate account manager, before moving into commercial banking. That move was the first step into funding/ lending, working on a portfolio of trading business customers in a range of sectors and requirements. From there I moved into Invoice Finance with one of the independent providers and this came with a steep learning curve in a pretty full on environment. It was a rewarding experience in a challenging market, it was here that I developed good relationships with those that are now great contacts and friends. I moved to Anglo Scottish Asset Finance to develop their commercial finance side of the business. The learning curve was again steep, but it is genuinely amazing the breadth of options available for a client’s funding needs.
What attracted you to CCBSG?
It is a natural step to take following on from what I have been doing to this point. The funding market is constantly evolving, but there are wider opportunities to provide additional support to the business community, outside of simply the provision of funding. I will be working directly with existing and new clients, spotting potential opportunities to help. CCSBG is a young dynamic business and I look forward to taking the business on to the next level.
What services do they provide?
We’re a customer focused commercial finance brokerage and business consultancy, specialising in working capital solutions and growth. With a range of experience and access to extensive options we have the ability to support business at all stages. This month we have already completed on a working capital facility for a timber supplier, a business acquisition for a dental laboratory, purchase of subsea surveying equipment and invoice finance for a group of logistic companies. All businesses in completely different sectors and all based in the North East.
What will you bring to the role?
I strive to find solutions for customers that are appropriate and fit for purpose. I have built great relationships with loan and working capital funders who sit firmly in the alternative market, which is no longer emerging but maturing. My role will entail working with clients directly and through our network to find funding that works for them. That could be working capital, funding for growth, asset finance, and working closely with funders through to deal completion.
What’s your fondest career memory?
There isn’t one memory in particular, but the best moments are the ‘thank you’, the ‘well done’ or ‘that was a great shout’ from the people you deal with.
What motivates you?
Put simply doing a good job and being respected for the job I do.
Where do you see yourself in a year’s time?
I see CCBSG growing strongly, it always taken 6-12 months to get into a new role from experience. The market dictates this to some extent and factors such as Brexit bring untold (as yet) opportunities and challenges for the NE business community. We are here to assist in whichever way we can.
How do you like to unwind?
Outside of work it’s all the clichés, friend’s family are key, as is the season ticket at Newcastle. I’m a failed tennis player in so far as I don’t play anywhere near enough as I should do.
The expansion news comes as Reward Finance Group has backed the firm’s acquisition of a new site, a move which also gives the business the vital capital to drive forward its future growth strategy.
Since first launching in 2006, Players Bars has seen huge growth with 2015 sales up by 20% on the previous year.
Now employing 240 people, it plans to almost double the workforce and create venues in three more cities within the next two years.
Jonathan Codona, director at Players Bars Investments, said: “For businesses within the hospitality sector, it can be a real challenge to gain the funding you need in the time frame you require it.
“Reward has been a breath of fresh air throughout this process as you are able to speak to the funders directly, resulting in us being able to complete the vital transaction in just two weeks.
“Players Bars is growing at a fast rate, and to maintain this momentum the support of Reward has been crucial.”
Peter Cromarty, business development director at Reward, said: “We’re delighted we’ve been able to help Players Bars with its expansion plans. It’s a thriving north eastern business and we look forward to following its exciting progress in the future.
“This is further evidence that there is funding available for SME businesses that can be provided quickly to allow business owners to take advantage of opportunities where traditional lenders would not be able to react quickly enough.
Abu Ali at Quantum Corporate Finance, who assisted the deal, said: “It has been great to work with Jonathan and Peter on this deal. It is a fantastic business and alongside Reward, the company has the ability to deliver a very exciting growth plan.”