How do smart business leaders make strategic decisions? By asking smart questions. So, here are 5 smart questions to ask when choosing an invoice finance provider.
From the large banks to the small specialists, you are a spoilt for choice when it comes to invoice finance providers out there. This means it’s often hard to tell how each provider is ‘different’.
So, how do you decide which invoice finance provider is the right one for you?
Well, we could cut this short and just say us.
But that would be insulting, of course.
Asking smart questions to make smart decisions
Before you make strategic decisions you need the right info. The Harvard Business Review once highlighted the importance of business leaders asking the right questions.
Questions that are useful and not only ‘How much will it cost?’
Over the years we’ve found that deciding on an invoice finance provider is a little like trying to buy your dream car: we would all love a stylish car that’s mega cheap, but from experience we all realise that we’re better off with something reliable at a reasonable price.
So, while you make your decision it’s really beneficial to focus on these aspects too:
- Does the provider have a regional office near your operations?
It’s really important to meet your relationship team and for them to understand your business.
So, it’s a huge advantage if your invoice finance provider has a regional centre near your physical base of operations.
Should a problem crop up, and it happens sometimes, wouldn’t you prefer to have a Relationship Manager who is nearby to provide support?
- Can you get quick decisions when you need them most?
Business moves fast so you need to be able to deal with decision makers for any operational issues.
It is always helpful if your Relationship Manager has the experience, knowledge and authority to make decisions rather than needing to refer to credit.
Not only does this speed things up but it means you can trust your provider to do what’s best for you both.
- Are the headline rates realistic when comparing facilities? And are there any onerous terms such as extended notice periods or minimum base rate figures?
OK, we cheated a little here. This is two questions.
And yes they’re longer ways of asking ‘How much will it cost?’
But the reason you should ask these questions is because they will tell you a lot more about the service. You need transparency in what the facility actually provides and how much it will cost. It will really help in the long run.
- Who is behind the invoice financing company?
You want to make sure your invoice finance provider will be there when you need them most, so look into their parentage and pedigree. There have various providers over the years that have roared into the UK market only to struggle when times get tough.
There’s also the danger of putting all your eggs in one basket if you sign up with your bank. Diversity of funding can help prevent a bank from having all of the influence over your business.
- Will they be there for the long term?
This is the hardest question to get an answer. Sometimes you can only judge this on gut feeling and how your initial conversations go.
Unfortunately, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, but by then many businesses have signed up for a 12 month agreement which can cost dearly to exit early. The key is to do your homework. That way you’ll be making an informed decision, rather than a rash one.
Ask us about Invoice Finance
Backed by Skipton Building Society, one of the largest financial establishments in the UK means we have funds ready to lend to businesses up and down the country.
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