After the immediate howls of pain die down from those wounded by the latest, and thankfully last, Spring Budget, will SMEs be left with a feeling that the Budget, the Chancellor, the Treasury, and hence the powers that be are basically downbeat on business?
Was there really any ray of sunlight for business to warm to? The business rates review wasn’t good for many SMEs, even the subsequent sticking plaster “caps” on losers are funded by contributions from the gainers, negating much of their benefit; the NI hike wasn’t good for a lot of SMEs either; the continuing spotlight on the employment status of freelancers makes those who use them nervous; but if present day Conservatives are no longer the party of business, who is?
January 2017 asset finance volumes look very positive, but will a downbeat budget create another hiccup putting SMEs off from making capital commitments until later in the year? As it is, brokers report that there are more funders than takers at present which is driving down margins. A dampdown on the demand side could put even greater pressure on margins, so what is to be done?
Well, for brokers perhaps it could be embracing the wider shopfront of Business Finance, incorporating a wider product mix including invoice finance, may be a help in this situation, SMEs who don’t want to commit to capital investment may still find they have working capital and cashflow problems to solve.
Brokers’ expertise at advising their clients on optimum financial solutions could also come to the fore, it is quite possible these days to completely rejig a company’s financial model by applying refinancing, commercial mortgage, and cashflow matching and smoothing techniques, all at relatively low rates.
Many brokers say it will be business as usual because they know their customers well, and at least half of new business for most players comes from existing customers. Fingers crossed that will be the case with the other half, too.