1. Why did you start MarketFinance?
I left my corporate career shortly before the financial crash. I went on to work with entrepreneurs and that’s where I found my passion. After listening to their pain points, I realised that many of them faced a double credit crunch: getting finance had become very difficult and their large corporate clients were extending payment terms. It was clear that business finance was broken – so we set out to find a way to fix it.
2. What did MarketFinance bring to the market?
At the time, invoice finance wasn’t a new concept - but the options available were limited. We wanted to use technology to deliver solutions that were flexible, fast and easy to use.
We pioneered a “pay-as-you-go” solution where businesses had complete control over which invoices they wanted to fund. With our Selective Invoice Discounting solution, businesses can choose to fund invoices for certain debtors, for example, or to use their facility when increased demand creates a need for funding. This gives entrepreneurs a lot more flexibility to get a funding solution that fits in with their needs.
As we’ve grown, we’ve also introduced subscription options for scaling businesses looking to fund invoices on an ongoing basis.
3. How does MarketFinance help businesses grow?
We give businesses access to working capital. They use our solutions to accelerate growth, bridge cashflow gaps caused by long payment terms, negotiate early payment discounts with suppliers and expand operations.
Secondly, our smart technology ensures that businesses can apply for and access funding quickly and easily. Entrepreneurs want to concentrate on running their business: they don't want to spend all of their time worrying about how to finance it. We give them their time back so they can focus on what they’re really passionate about.
4. Has the way people use MarketFinance to help with cashflow changed since launch?
In the years since we launched, the range of businesses we work with has expanded - so we’ve scaled our product range to meet their varying needs. Some of our customers love the flexibility of being able to pick and choose which invoices to fund. Others use invoice finance more regularly, so we made this even easier with a solution that enables them to fund all of their invoices.
More and more businesses are treating invoice finance as an essential part of their growth strategy. It’s important for us to provide customers with solutions that scale with their business, so they have options that meet their funding needs at every stage.
5. What are your tips for achieving positive cashflow?
There are some really simple ways to improve cashflow. Asking for deposits from customers at the start of a project means you could get up to 50% upfront.
Explore the possibility of extending credit terms with suppliers. Ideally these should be similar to the payment terms you have with your customers to limit gaps in cashflow.
And finally, businesses don’t need to be hesitant when it comes to chasing payment. As long as the situation is handled with diplomacy, their debtor may well be glad to have the reminder.
6. You’re giving high growth businesses more time to focus on things other than cashflow. What are your thoughts when it comes to equity funding?
It’s a common analogy in finance to think about equity funding in terms of a runway. Much like an aeroplane, the goal of any business is to take off (scale) before reaching the end of the runway. In other words, before cash reserves are depleted. A fundraise isn’t about simply keeping the business running, it’s about taking it to the next level.
The entrepreneurs may be the pilots in this scenario, but they rely heavily on trusted advisers to help them navigate the way. This means building close relationships with their financial partners - both inside and outside the business. The company’s CFO or Financial Manager, for example, as well as their accountant and bank Relationship Manager. This enables informed and strategic decisions to be made so that the business can responsibly, and confidently, accelerate growth.
7. And finally, what’s your number one tip when it comes to cashflow?
The best advice I can give to businesses is to make sure they stay on top of their finances. Especially in the early days, entrepreneurs have to wear a lot of hats. That can mean splitting their time across several different functions from finance to marketing, sales, HR and more. I would recommend enlisting the help of a good accountant from the outset; someone who understands the ins and outs of cashflow and who can implement the right systems to closely track the company’s finances.
For more information on cashflow read our listicle full of helpful tips.