Your bid for growth funds. Supporting your business with financing decisions

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1 Your bid for growth funds Supporting your business with financing decisions

2 Contents 3 Introduction 4 Preparing your application 6 Assessing applications 8 What Barclays considers 9 Funding solutions 10 Key takeaways 11 About the authors 2 of 11

3 Introduction As economic growth continues, recovery is fuelling a renewed appetite for business growth and many companies are reviewing investment plans. So, what are the funding options available and how can your business best maximise its chance of a successful funding application? In a report by the financial consultancy Kingston Smith 1, the SMEs surveyed felt they knew little about how financial institutions reviewed applications for funding, and therefore were less likely to submit a successful application. In this report we review a range of options available to businesses and provide a checklist for you to consider when reviewing your strategic growth plans. We also set out factors that we, at Barclays, consider when reviewing borrowing applications from businesses operating with an annual turnover of, typically, 1m to 10m, and the broad lending principles which we follow. Dependent on the nature of the business, some information in this article may be relevant to companies with turnovers less than this. Where business growth places a strain on capital resources (either due to working capital or capital expenditure requirements), banks have a key role to play in providing appropriately structured funding support. The banking industry can only fulfil that potential by gaining the confidence of the business world through clear and open communication, resulting in a financing solution that is right for your business. Banks have a key role to play in providing appropriately structured funding support. Barclays is committed to making finance readily available to growing businesses and we see the funding process as a joint venture with our clients. We hope this article will support you in discussing your ambitions with us. 1 SME success in challenging times: Bank finance lost in translation, November of 11

4 Preparing your application It is essential for businesses to consider the funding sources available as soon as a potential need for capital is identified. At what point should I approach a bank? The most critical piece of advice is to engage with your bank as early as possible ideally, as soon as your management team begins to have discussions about growth plans. Many businesses decide on a firm strategy and put a figure on the funding they require before contacting their lender. Sharing your ideas at an earlier stage allows the bank to better understand your strategic aims when the application for finance is submitted. This approach requires you to have open conversations about plans that may not be fully formulated; however, early strategic conversations can ensure that all options are discussed, which should make you and the lenders more comfortable when making future decisions. How much and what type of funding should I ask for? This will be determined by the nature and impact of the growth. For example, a new contract on extended payment terms is likely to create a working capital need and may require an increased overdraft limit or invoice discounting ceiling limit. If the contract exceeds the current operational capacity of the business, however, there may also be a need for term loan funding to support new plant and equipment (possibly asset finance) or perhaps a premises extension. Consider alternative types of funding to ensure your funding package is fit for purpose aim to have this conversation with your bank early on. At Barclays our Relationship teams can provide information on the range of funding options available, to ensure we deliver the appropriate solution that meets your specific needs. We have outlined a number of these options in the Funding solutions section of this report. What security will the bank expect? Banks look for a form of security that will provide a reasonable level of risk sharing with the business. This is not the first point on the agenda in any loan discussion, but it is a consideration. Typically, the business premises would be the most likely form of security. If you have no appropriate security to offer, it may still be possible to seek a loan via the Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme (see Funding solutions). Banks look for a form of security that will provide a reasonable level of risk sharing with the business. 4 of 11

5 What do I need to show the lender? The main documents you will be asked to supply are: Up-to-date financial statements (created within 9 months) Quality book-keeping not only enables you to monitor your business performance and analyse the influences on your revenues and costs, it also forms a central part of your loan proposal, demonstrating your ability to repay and to service debt. A formal statement of assets, liabilities, income and expenditure is required, including annual accounts, management accounts, budgets and cashflow forecasts, as well as recent and historic bank statements if you are approaching a bank you ve not previously worked with Your business plan 2 A business plan will help you collate and clarify your business ideas, plan for the future of your business, and show whether your idea is realistic and workable. Your business plan will play a key role in attracting funding to get your business started, so you should make sure you have one prepared before applying for lending. Think about how your new venture supports your long-term aims and the wider goals of your business. This will help the bank to understand how a new opportunity fits with your business strategy, structure and current operation. Forecasts of 12 months In addition to historic and recent performance, your business plan should include realistic projections for the future. It can be useful to include a what if analysis, demonstrating that you have considered the effect of events such as the unexpected loss of a key customer, increased competitive pressures or a rise in operating costs. This formal documentation forms only part of the picture. At Barclays, we also take into account the intangible factors that inform the success of your business. In particular, a strong, focused management team that works well together will present your business in the best way. 2 For an example business plan, go to barclays.co.uk, select business on the top bar, then grow and write a business plan. How soon will I get a response to my application? Provided with all the information we need, Barclays can offer a lending decision within a few days and often more quickly. From your perspective, we understand that the clock starts ticking as soon as the initial approach is made and early conversations with the bank will accelerate this process. What if the answer is no? It is important to understand the variety of alternative funding sources available to you, so that you can choose an alternative solution for your business. If the bank is unable to support your application on this occasion, the formal decline is unlikely to come as a surprise, as we will have been engaged and transparent with you throughout the decision-making process, to ensure that you are kept up to date with progress. Barclays delivers all funding decisions face to face, enabling open conversations with our clients about potential alternative sources of financing. 5 of 11

6 Assessing applications When assessing applications from our clients, we follow processes which enable us to make a decision as effectively and efficiently as possible. In the following pages, we have outlined our key considerations when assessing a funding application. How will the lending decision be made? Your main contact at the bank sits within your Relationship team. Their understanding of your business goals will inform the Credit team s analysis of your application. The Relationship team will work with the Credit team to apply their local knowledge, as well as Barclays lending principles. Traditionally, Credit Officers have operated at a distance from the applicant, on the basis that this makes for an impartial decision. From an applicant s point of view, however, this can create the impression that decisions are being made behind closed doors. Barclays will on occasion involve its Credit team in early discussions with its clients. This gives the Credit Officer a first-hand appreciation of the business, its ambitions and challenges, as well as how the borrowing might best be structured to match your business funding requirements. What are the bank s criteria? When assessing a lending application, we carefully consider whether the financing would support the company s growth ambitions. Positive analysis of the following key factors will also play a big role in the success of your application. Company management At Barclays we build a working relationship with your business and its people, so it is important that we understand your company s management team and how effectively it operates. We will be keen to find out how well you know the market, and how well your team runs its daily operations so any evidence you can provide will be valuable. At Barclays, we build a working relationship with your business and its people, so it is important that we understand your company s management team and how effectively it operates. The bank will want to know who is responsible for critical decisions such as the overall business strategy, cashflow management and finance operations, as well as the quality of your external advisers. 6 of 11

7 Financial assessment Time will be spent analysing the liquidity of your company. Is the business solvent? What is its working capital cycle for example, is there always capital available for trade, regardless of the gap between payment of suppliers and income from customers? The analysis will look at your cash reserves, total debt levels and headroom in existing credit lines, as well as any hidden strains on the business, such as tax arrears. Sustainable cash generation will be assessed to ensure that the business has the capability to service all debt costs with a margin of safety, after meeting all of its other business obligations (including drawings/dividends/tax and maintenance capital expenditure). The financial appraisal will consider the current and projected future trading performance of the business. For example, what would the impact be if turnover varied by plus or minus 5%, or if there were to be a change in terms of trade for the business? Understanding your business We have specific knowledge and experience of the industries in which our clients operate, giving them an understanding of external influences on a business s success, such as competition and the ease with which rivals could enter the market. The maturity of the industry, the regulatory environment, the nature of your suppliers and customers and how much power they wield are all factors that will be considered in terms of the potential impact on your business. We have specific knowledge and experience of the industries in which our clients operate. External influences are also considered in terms of political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental factors. Debt structure Our Credit team will work closely with your Relationship team to explore the most suitable product mix to serve the needs of your business, as well as reviewing the most appropriate security to provide a share of risk between the business and Barclays. Our Credit team will work closely with your Relationship team to explore the most suitable product mix to serve the needs of your business. Our requirements concerning the debt structure will form part of a contract, called the facility letter. The bank may suggest formal covenants as part of its terms, requiring a specific degree of information to be shared throughout the term of a loan, or stipulating a level of business performance that ensures that the borrowing can be repaid with a comfortable margin of safety. 7 of 11

8 What Barclays considers Although a finance application can initially feel daunting, it should be seen as a collaborative exercise with your bank. The CAMPARI model (Character, Ability, Margin, Purpose, Amount, Repayment, Insurance) is widely used as a health-check for businesses when approaching a bank for lending. Character What is the capital base of the business? Does the business have a good track record? For how long has the business been a client of the bank? How experienced is the company s management team? Has the business repaid previous borrowing on time? Is any detrimental information known about the business? Ability How does the company monitor its business performance? Does the business understand its market? Has a business plan been completed? Is there succession planning who will take over when the management retires? Is there strong cover in case of holiday, illness etc? What are the qualifications of the management team? What are the previous business successes and failures? What are the skills and production capacity of the workforce? Is the business affected by international trade and is it aware of overseas/exchange rate risk? Margin Pricing terms will reflect both the counterparty and transaction risk and how that is shared between the company and Barclays. Purpose Is the purpose of the borrowing in the best interests of the business? Is the borrowing within the bank s policy guidelines? Amount How does the amount requested compare with the business s financial projections and is it enough? Do the financial projections appear reasonable? What is the business s cash contribution in the project and how can it be verified? Repayment Does the business trading record show the ability to repay and is it sustainable? Is the source of repayment clear? Does the customer have secondary sources of repayment if the business fails? Is the repayment period acceptable? Insurance What is the nature, type and value of the security being offered? Is an up-to-date valuation of the asset available? Character Ability Margin Purpose Amount Repayment Insurance 8 of 11

9 Funding solutions There are a number of funding options that you can consider, instead of a term loan. Many of these solutions will be available through your bank and you should still speak to your Relationship team when considering these alternatives: Asset Finance Asset Finance can help you acquire new equipment that will support your company s growth ambitions. It can also allow you to preserve your capital while still building the infrastructure you need to grow. Business Growth Fund (BGF) BGF is an investment firm that provides growth capital for growth and equity release. The fund takes a minority stake in the businesses in which it invests and long-term investment of 2m to 10m is offered to businesses with an annual turnover of 5m to 100m. Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme The Enterprise Finance Guarantee is a government scheme. It facilitates lending to businesses that lack the security required for a commercial loan. Lenders such as Barclays administer the scheme, and the government underwrites 75% of the loan value. Loans A lending facility that your bank commits to for a set period, which provides a flexible finance solution to satisfy a wide range of business requirements. This would include, for example, the purchase of plant and machinery, investment in property, or funding medium- to long-term business growth. Overdraft A flexible on-demand finance facility for managing short-term working capital funding requirements. An overdraft can help you meet your day-to-day financial obligations and fund business growth. Peer-to-peer lending Peer-to-peer lending services offer business loans funded by thousands of individual investors. This model aims to offer investors and borrowers better rates than the mainstream lenders. Receivables finance Services such as factoring can relieve cashflow issues for your business. This provides advances on most of the cash tied up in outstanding payments to you. It shifts the burden of chasing late payments to a third party, easing your workload. Invoice discounting works in a similar way. Here you retain control of chasing payments; the service is confidential, and, therefore, invisible to your clients. This option has become increasingly popular among UK businesses. Equity-based Crowdfunding The sale of a stake in a business to a large number of investors who are typically sourced from the internet, or using an internet-based crowdfunding platform, in return for investment. Crowdfunding is predominantly used by early-stage firms to raise additional capital to expand their business. Private equity funding Private equity can be a good option for a smaller business, or one that envisages a steep growth trajectory but lacks the track record to satisfy a bank s criteria. The cash injection from an equity fund could boost the business model to the point where future bank lending becomes an option. 9 of 11

10 Key takeaways Engage with your bank as early as possible ideally, as soon as your management team begins to have discussions about growth plans Consider the range of funding options so that you are confident you have chosen the appropriate solution for your business. Early discussions with your bank should support you in making this decision Open conversations about your plans and financial requirements will help your bank to have a better understanding of your business when assessing your application When applying for funding, you will be asked to provide up-to-date financial statements, forecasts, and a comprehensive business plan The CAMPARI model is widely used as a health-check for businesses when approaching a bank for lending. For more information speak to your Relationship team, contact Barclays on * or visit barclays.com/corporatebanking *To maintain a high quality of service, your call may be monitored or recorded for training and security purposes. Calls to 0800 numbers are free of charge when calling from a UK landline. Charges may apply when using a mobile phone or when calling from abroad. Lines are open from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday. 10 of 11

11 About the authors Chris Forrest Head of SME UK Barclays Chris became Head of SME across the UK in January 2015, with responsibility for all relationship management across Barclays SME client base. Prior to this he was Head of the Business Banking Relationship teams. Chris has also held various roles across Barclays in the North of England which involved local strategy, client activity and people management. The roles also required setting up new offices, recruitment and driving new business acquisition, and alignment of the Barclays teams to industry. E: Andrew Baglee Head of UK and Europe SME Credit Barclays Andrew Baglee is Head of UK and Europe SME Credit, Credit Risk, where he leads the national team that supports our SME customers through credit underwriting. Andrew has been in banking for the whole of his career and has worked in both relationship and risk roles during that time. He has experience of working with SME customers ranging from start-ups to businesses with a turnover of 50m. E: barclays.com/corporatebanking Barclays is a trading name of Barclays Bank PLC and its subsidiaries. Barclays Bank PLC is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (Financial Services Register No ). Registered in England. Registered number is with registered office at 1 Churchill Place, London E14 5HP. Item Ref: June of 11

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