Having owned a small business since I was 19, I know only too well how difficult it can sometimes be to raise finance for expansion.
That is why I am delighted that Better Business Finance has been set up to offer information and assistance to those struggling to get financial support. It was born out of collaboration between Britain's 6 largest banks, which formed the Better Business Taskforce, to examine how they could promote sustainable economic growth and help businesses to prosper. A key recommendation was to set up a one-stop-shop website where businesses could find impartial advice.
Better Business Finance offers a number of useful services to help business owners progress. You can access the information here.
Another avenue which may be worth thinking about is exporting. International trade offers a significant boost to a company's commercial success, and with just 25% of British businesses currently exporting, it is clear that we are missing an invaluable opportunity to stimulate growth. UKTI offers expert advice, support and finance; if you would like more information or to book an appointment with a trade advisor, click here or call 0800 093 2094.
One of the best services provided by Better Business Finance is the appeals process. If you apply for a loan for your business and your request is turned down, you can launch an appeal for your application to be reviewed.
Each bank has its own process to handle these appeals but Britain's largest banks have developed a set of commonly agreed principles. These principles will ensure that all appeals are handled fairly, promptly and transparently.
The way in which you launch an appeal will differ depending on your bank, but if your application is declined your bank will write to you setting out their appeals process. Appeals don't launch automatically, so it is up to you to bring an appeal if you believe your application has been declined unfairly.
You can submit an appeal after any formal request for borrowing has been declined – this means any application that has gone through a credit assessment, after the bank has received all the relevant information from you to make a decision.
You can start your appeal by clicking the button below.
BUSINESS ADVICE SERVICE (BAS)
BAS offers small businesses a free advice session with a Chartered Accountant from the Instituete of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW) in over three offices operating in Gosport. Theses offices can deliver advice face-to-face or over the telephone. They can help with common problems such as securing bank loans and dealing with HM Revenue & Customs. You can find more information here.
OFCOM'S ONLINE ADVICE SERVICE
Small businesses can now access information and advice to help them make the most of communications services, following the launch of a new dedicated online portal from Ofcom.
The site – www.ofcom.org.uk/adviceforbusinesses – includes advice specifically tailored for businesses on choosing or switching to a new provider, as well as information on navigating and negotiating contracts, and resolving complaints with a provider.
It sets out clearly Ofcom's role and the rules communications providers must follow when dealing with business customers, offering advice on landline telephone, broadband, mobile and postal services. A summary of the rights of businesses, both large and small, is also available.