The bank is offering entrepreneurs a helping hand with Yes Business Can: Start up, Scale up, Go Global, an in-depth guide to securing funding, finding customers, expanding overseas and much more.
Starting and growing a new company can be both daunting and demanding, even for the most accomplished entrepreneurs, says Gareth Oakley, business banking managing director at Bank of Scotland.
“In this period of uncertainty and ongoing change, businesses of all sizes are under pressure to adapt and evolve to keep pace: this is particularly true for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), which are the backbone of the UK economy,” he says.
According to the Federation of Small Businesses, more than five million SMEs nationwide make up over 99 per cent of all private-sector organisations, employing more than 16 million people and achieving a combined annual turnover of £2 trillion.
More than two million new businesses have been created since 2000, and around 400,000 are currently springing up every year.
“Many of these are started by people going into business for the first time,” explains Gareth. “It is this wellspring of entrepreneurial spirit that ensures British business remains a powerful, dynamic force with the ability to turn challenges into opportunities and drive the economy forward.
“In uncertain times, this capacity to adapt is more important than ever. But evolution and growth also brings challenges, and not every business’ story ends in success.
“The good news is that more businesses are thriving now than ever before, and there’s a huge amount of support available for businesses looking to start, scale or transform, especially when it comes to securing the right funding.”
The Bank of Scotland resource includes guidance on everything from setting up a new business and improving productivity to securing intellectual property and fostering good mental health in the workplace, with insights from government, legal, tech and management experts as well as investors and business leaders.
Among them are academics at Aston Business School on how smaller firms can compete with larger competitors when it comes to innovation, tips from the Department for International Trade on achieving growth overseas, and guidelines from international law firm Baker Botts on agreeing the right terms with an investor.
“At every stage of a business’ development, securing funding is a huge part of the challenge, and a major focus of the book,” adds Gareth.
“And, when it comes to funding, every company is different and there’s no single path. The recent expansion of crowdfunding platforms is a good example of how varied the options can be, and different types and sizes of business will want to choose the finance that is right for them.
“This could be in the form of conventional loans, asset finance – where the borrowing company uses its owned assets as security – or equity capital in which the investor takes a share in ownership of the business itself.
“There are also many ways of structuring this funding, from one-off loans to finance new infrastructure investment to overdraft facilities to ease cash flow challenges. As a business evolves through different stages in its lifespan – whether that’s an expansion in customer base, diversification of products and services, growth overseas or even preparation for sale – the financial support it needs must adapt and grow with it.”
Growth plans, leadership and your firm’s strategic direction are also covered, along with guidance on finding new customers domestically and overseas, acquiring other companies and investing in property, plant and equipment.
Read Yes Business Can: Start up, Scale up, Go Global for support from experts and other business leaders on how to capitalise on the many opportunities for growth this time of change is creating.