New loan opportunity : Streetskins Limited

We’re pleased to announce that two new loans are now live on the FundingKnight crowdlending auction site, offering the chance to lend to Streetskins Limited. You’ll find full details of the loans and all the usual financial information available on our website, but to wet your appetite, here’s a quick summary:

Loan opportunity:

Streetskins Limited is an outdoor media company that places advertising on the shutters of high street shops and premises. Due to a new contract win the business needs funding to assist in the implementation of new advertising sites.

We also have existing auctions running for Red Advertising Limited and Lextan Limited and other auctions will launch imminently.

You can find more details by logging on to www.fundingknight.com and choosing Find a Loan.

Add funds to your account:

You may only place a bid out of available funds in your FundingKnight account. If you need to transfer funds to your account, click here to do this now and go to Add Funds in your My Money account. Remember you can invest as little as £25.

Bid now:

Once funds are added please go to Find a Loan for further details on the business opportunity and to make a bid.

And now you can ask questions:

As part of our continued improvements to the FundingKnight website functionality and user experience we are launching Q&A facility to enable lenders to submit questions to borrowers.  Questions will be sent directly to the borrower.  This facility will help lenders gain the additional information required when making a decision on whether to bid on a loan.

FundingKnight small business loans… shining the spotlight on our first borrower

spotlight

Like any business, FundingKnight is only as good as the service it provides to its customers.  In our case, those customers are people looking for a better return on their savings and investments or independent businesses in search of flexible, competitive business funding.  Our online marketplace uses peer to business lending to offer small businesses the loans they need for expansion and today we’re proud to shine the spotlight on our first ever business borrower….Leisurebench Ltd.

 Leisurebench logo

The backstory….

Leisurebench imports high quality outdoor furniture, selling to commercial clients in the pub and hotel trade and the public sector and also direct to consumers through their Brackenstyle brand.

They are a family run business with a strong background in the furniture trade run by Saul Musson, Martyn Mayes and their team of specialists.

Leisurebench had tapped into a niche market and was poised for rapid growth. It had orders waiting from blue-chip companies and needed short-term funding to finance stock. The future looked bright, except their normal banks didn’t want to provide funding on acceptable terms.

Their financial adviser put them in touch with us and, after a thorough analysis of their business and credit worthiness, we set about organising a loan that could give them the business funding they needed to grow.

 

Arranging a loan…

We arranged that first loan back in January 2012, working together to build a bespoke loan that made financial sense for both Leisurebench and our lenders.  This first business investment was fully funded by the FundingKnight management team who was keen to test out our processes before opening up future loans to outside lenders.

Firstly, we determined together that a larger loan than the one originally requested would best meet Leisurebench’s needs; we arranged a loan of £110,000.  We also listened carefully to their needs when it came to setting the term and repayment schedule.  As Leisurebench needed to conserve cashflow whilst importing the stock, it made sense to agree an upfront payment holiday.  Once loan payments started, the 7 month loan, funded at 11%, was repayable in 4 instalments.

“FundingKnight gave us flexible terms at the right price; refreshingly simple, common sense banking.  We’re already planning another loan with FundingKnight.”

Saul Musson, MD, Leisurebench

 Brackenstyle logo

Planning for the future…

We’re already talking to Leisurebench about how we might work together again in the future and, of course, we have funds ready to lend to other well managed businesses with strong cashflow.

To find out more about the Leisurebench and their high quality outdoor furniture, visit:

www.leisurebench.co.uk – for commercial customers

or

www.brackenstylegardenfurniture.com – to buy direct

Lost in translation

dictionary and a magnifying glass

Financial products can be complex.  It can be hard to explain derivatives, say, or annuities.

Complexity is what most often gets blamed for the communications breakdown that exists between many financial providers and their customers.

But actually, do you buy that?

Do you buy that it’s hard to explain a savings account or loan or why it is good…. or not so good?

Should it be hard to explain why a business loan suits the businesses it was designed to help?

Not really.  The trouble is, that sometimes products don’t get designed with the customer in mind.  Instead of solving genuine customer problems, they’re created to solve internal issues – issues like profit, shareholder value or risk & capital ratios – issues that are not really that relevant to the average customer.  That’s why reconnecting with customers is so important.

If you design a business loan that lasts for strictly 1 year, demands that the borrower “mortgage the house” and jump through hoops to satisfy a computer than only sometimes “says yes”, then it can get quite tricky to explain the benefits in plain English.

Start trying to tell a business that their loan doesn’t look attractive because it’s not large enough or doesn’t tick a particular box and it gets downright difficult.

Yet that’s what many providers of business finance find themselves trying to do.

They justify the same old products day-in-day-out, irrespective of what their customers need and irrespective of how hard it becomes to “sell the benefits” of the small business loans they provide.  British businesses come in all shapes and sizes; they serve a huge variety of sectors and needs and use all sorts of innovative ways of working to do so.  Usually, we’re proud of diversity, so why should one size fit all when it comes to funding for business?

Maybe the reason that financial institutions get stuck talking to customers has nothing to do with product complexity.  Perhaps it has nothing to do with a failure to grasp social media, or the regulations that control what people can say.  Perhaps banks don’t need to get better at using plain English or go back to basics, perhaps they just need to realise that products need to be designed with the end users in mind.

Financial institutions have spent years creating products that solved internal issues.  The new breed of peer to business lenders are not institutions.  They are “enablers” that help customers find answers to the problems that matter most.  Instead of rigid products and tight lending criteria, customers will design their own loans with terms that suit them and their particular business needs.

The world is changing.  It’s no longer enough to have shiny ad campaigns, glossy leaflets or a celebrity endorsement.  Customers have woken up and are demanding something more genuine – it’s happening across all walks of life, be it politics, retail….. or financial services.

Perhaps products need to change to catch up.  Perhaps customers – on both sides of the lending/borrowing equation – need to start coming first?

FundingKnight certainly thinks so.  If you haven’t already, pop over to our website and sign up to stay in touch.