Understand your finance options

Published on Business stage: Starting, Thinking

Peter Garnham, Investment Programme Director for British Business Bank Investments Ltd

In the current climate, it is ever more vital that Liverpool’s smaller businesses understand and have confidence in the growing choice of finance available to help them succeed.
With thousands of start-ups and SMEs turning to online platforms to raise finance, an unprecedented coalition of major UK business and finance trade organisations have made available a new digital guide on different sources of investment, lending and professional advice.

A coalition of experts

Led by the British Business Bank and the ICAEW, an impressive 23 bodies from across the business and finance sectors have contributed content to and agreed to distribute the new Business Finance Guide – a journey from start-up to growth.

Available for free in digital, downloadable pdf and hard copy form, the new guide impartially sets out the main things to consider and outlines sources of finance available to businesses – ranging from start-ups to SMEs and growing mid-sized companies.

It features tools and ideas, as well as expert videos, to help businesses consider their options, make decisions and plan how they will finance expansion.

The online version can be found here

Why the Business Finance Guide is needed

The market for smaller business finance in the UK is dominated by the four largest banks, between them accounting for around 80% of small business loans. British Business Bank research also shows that over half of UK smaller businesses go only to their main bank and do not shop around for finance.

Although this might not appear, on the face of it, to be a major issue, bank finance may not be the most suitable form of finance for these businesses. Furthermore, the same research finds that around half of those businesses rejected for a bank loan will simply stop looking at that point, meaning potential expansion opportunities are missed and new jobs remain uncreated, with an adverse knock-on effect for UK economic growth.

A growing number of finance options have become more established, mainstream and accessible to smaller businesses over recent years, and building their awareness and understanding of those options is a key part of achieving growth both in the Liverpool City Region and across the UK. 

Businesses, and those who advise them, can access the Business Finance Guide for free at

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