SME owners advise on achieving business growth in Guardian Small Business Network Q&A session

IN: Business news

The recent online question and answer session from The Guardian Small Business Network represented one such vital opportunity; an event which invited business owners to pose questions to a panel of established SME leaders.

During the event, which took place on Wednesday afternoon, financing growth emerged as one of the key themes of the session, with several panellists offering poignant advice for fellow SMEs.

"Having access to cash is massive," asserted Imran Merza, co-founder of confectionary brand Jealous Sweets, in response to a question from Guardian reporter Sirena Bergman. "You'll need cash to help fund your business growth, if you get a massive order and you don't have the working capital to fulfil the order you simply will not be able to grow efficiently."

Jemma Wilson, founder of Crumbs and Doilies agreed, pointing out that while investment may seem daunting, it is necessary to progress as a business.

The panellists on Twitter


"My advice, based on my own experience, is to think about how long your current situation will last, honestly and objectively," stated Wilson, citing her cupcake business as an example. "I could not have carried on producing cupcakes in my own domestic kitchen, which was getting more and more cramped with people and product! We wouldn't take on any more work because we simply didn't have the space to produce such numbers."

Gillian Harris of crafts business Gilliangladrag held a similar stance when it came to the capital required to begin taking on staff.

"It is risky taking on employees - and all the associated hassles that that brings. But sometimes companies can't move forward until they do," commented Harris.

Despite the general consensus that often a financial commitment is necessary to expand a business, the panel offered a word of caution on making sure not to lose track of short term cash flow.

"A potentially sound and successful business can founder due to poor cash-flow," warned James Gill of The Pen Company, a sentiment echoed by Merza, who concluded, "As the old saying goes, 'Cashflow is King'. We've had to be patient and grow steadily."

Over the years, Aldermore has focused on listening to comments like those from the Q&A session in order to carefully tailor our financial services to best support the needs of SMEs. From asset financing that frees up capital to cover every day cashflow, to loan options to facilitate longer term investment, Aldermore aims to provide a financial solution to all the major barriers that prevent promising SMEs from reaching their full potential.

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