It’s official. We are in #Lockdown2. Hospitality, Leisure and non-essential retail stores have been ordered to close. Naturally business finance and funding is top of mind. With no money coming in, business owners still have to pay the ‘bills, bills, bills’ (Destiny’s Child).
Women in business have disproportionally been affected by COVID-19 and the government’s restrictions. They are more likely to have businesses operating in the aforementioned sectors. The government’s extended furlough scheme is welcomed but, some businesses may not qualify; and for those that do, it may not be enough.
Traditional lending through banks has improved for women but overall, they are still having to present a business case/plan to a man in a suit whose may not get or understand a female run business. However, alternative business lending models run by women are popping up.
Some women are pioneers in the field. Operating in the specialist lending sector on her own terms is Karen Davidson. She is the Founder and CEO of Now Business Finance. Her company has been helping male and female run businesses with their finances since 2008. Find out more about her entrepreneurial journey and how she is supporting businesses through this pandemic below.
1) Tell me about your business?
Now Business Finance does commercial finance and lending. We also offer specialist consultancy to support clients with specific business growth or transition projects that need financing. From small SMEs turning over £100K to a large organisation with 1,000 staff or more, we are here to meet all the funding needs of different types of businesses.
2) When and why did you set it up?
I was working as a specialist lender in a niche market over 10 years ago. I then decided to expand the business because I enjoyed working with companies. Especially, helping them to grow by finding them the right finance and/or partners. I get a lot of satisfaction in helping businesses realise their business goals.
3) Where did you get your business idea from?
I have had a few businesses before, but working as a specialist lender made me realise, I enjoyed talking to businesses and supporting them with their growth strategies and transition plans. Now Business Finance has been going since 2008. Before we used to do property deals and finance, but now we just concentrate on financial lending.
4) What problems have you seen other businesses encounter? How have you helped them?
We have a lot of experience with clients and we have seen some businesses grow too fast and others are too cautious. Both can cause problems with cashflow. This is where we have come in to help them manage it. Since COVID, as well as looking into financial support for businesses, we have also been looking at ways that they can pivot. We helped a fantastic coffee bar with a garden turn into a deli so that they could concentrate on serving takeaway food through the pandemic.
5) How have you juggled being an entrepreneur with motherhood?
I try to do everything between the hours of 10am-3pm. I work hard so that I can to be there for the children. I pick them up from school, do homework, snacks and dinner and work in the evening. I also take them to school and do not take calls in the car so that my daughter gets that quality time with me.
6) What would you say is your secret to success in operate in operating in a predominately male sector?
I listen and empathise with my clients . I put myself in their shoes and can appreciate what they are going through and what they need. I have run a few businesses from start up to scale up, so I know what’s involved.
7) What 3 things pieces of technology/resources could you not live without to organise and manage business and family life? E.g. iPhone calendar, google drive, WhatsApp
Trello (project management platform) Outlook and Pipe Drive (sales CRM system)
8) What have been the benefits to you in running your own business?
Flexibility, freedom, creativity and the chance to be my own boss in which I can use my tenacity to grow a business.
9) What has been your proudest business achievement in business so far?
People saying thank you and being recommended by others. Most of my business has come from client referrals and I am proud of that because it shows that people are happy to work with me and refer me to others.
10) In hindsight, what one piece of advice do you wish someone gave you as a mumpreneur when you started out?
Make time for your kids. Establish your core working hours and prioritise pick-ups/drop offs. Keep business calls to core hours.
Want to know more?
Now Business Finance advises that…
In these times it is even more important for businesses to review their financial stability, and to see what financial products are on offer to help them keep afloat. It is not just about business loans and what your bank can offer. There are a range of specialist products like Invoice Financing, Specialist Credit Line, Cash Flow Lending and Asset Lending that may be appropriate for your business at this stage. Not everybody is a good fit for Cblis and Bounce Bank Loans.
So, come and talk to our friendly team we are here to help:
M: +44 (0)7956476769 T: +44 (0)20 328 68838
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