One UK lender has decided to invest in their customer base by creating a campaign to find the Britain’s friendliest business and although the competition trailer below runs more like an early X-Factor audition, the real-life contestants are anything but crazy.
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The Inspiration Behind the BFBiz Competition
Deborah Mudway, head of marketing for Liberis who are the competition’s sponsor, believes…
“There has been too much negativity in the small businesses sector during the economic downturn, but now we have an opportunity to be much more positive thanks to a spell of continued growth.”
The search for the UK’s friendliest business is open to all small businesses operating in the UK and has a prize of £10,000 for the winner. Aside from the prize money, the winner will benefit from the free PR generated by the competition and will have the right to display their title in their business locations and on any communication material. Fortunately, the entrants are not obliged to pitch their entry in true X-Factor fashion as those are in the above video. Becoming a customer of the sponsor is also a non-requirement.
I first came across the competition on Twitter where the small business investor is using the #BFBiz hashtag to promote the competition and I was instantly intrigued by the new approach to business from what is usually such a tame industry. It raises the question of whether our financial sectors should become more approachable or continue to alienate small businesses, which are often run by hard working individuals who find it hard to communicate with banks and other investors?
A Friendlier Approach to Funding
Without doubt, there has to be a serious side to any funding process with enough diligence to satisfy the most wary of investors otherwise we will soon find ourselves in financial difficulty again, but would we have experienced this turnaround without alternative lenders taking a lead with a new approach to funding small businesses?
The growth of peer-to-peer and crowd funding has been a wakeup call to the banking sector maybe not in the way those platforms assess risk, but perhaps in the way in which small business owners are able to communicate without the feeling of inferiority. That feeling is hard to explain unless you’ve ever sat with a bank manager and a home-made business plan.
The Newest Gunslinger in Town
The business cash advance is the latest offering rising in popularity among small businesses looking for a source of investment. It’s almost an misnomer to call it a cash advance because the term has suffered some bad press because of payday consumer loans, but the cash advances for businesses are a different beast entirely.
The product acts much more like an investment because the customer only pays back a percentage of their takings rather than a fixed amount each month…meaning, when the business does bad, less is repaid to the investor and when it does better more is repaid. Any other vehicle for borrowing would charge more for taking a loan/investment over a longer period, but that’s where the business cash advance is much more ethical. There is only ever one amount returned to the investor regardless of how long the business takes to return the investment.
by Shaun Thomas