Business Finance Compared, recently nominated for the Jim Mellon Start-Up Prize, is an online platform connecting UK Small Businesses with the finance they need to grow in a clear, transparent and independent way. Here Olly Betts, CEO of Business Finance Compared, tells SME Insider how small businesses can find a better deal.
Your business is built around supporting SMEs. What drew you to the sector?
Small businesses are truly the lifeblood of the UK — there are more than five million in the UK and this number is growing at an unprecedented rate. They now account for almost half of the UK’s private sector turnover and 14m jobs. Despite the importance of the this sector to the UK economy, it was clear that the current financing options available were stale and confusing.
What are the biggest problems SMEs face when trying to find finance?
Around 450,000 Small Businesses looked for a new source of finance last year. In recent years there has been a big expansion in the range of ways that small business can raise money, from peer to peer lending and crowd equity funding to merchant cash advances. There are more options than ever for small businesses, which can be confusing.
With all these options we might expect to see small business owners shopping around for the best price, but many are not – more than half are spending less than an hour searching for finance and most — 71 per cent — contact only one finance provider. So with all the confusion, lack of transparency and no easy way to shop around we believe that small businesses aren’t getting the best deal on their finance.
How does BFC address these issues?
Our business is all about getting small businesses the finance they need to grow, and we’re totally committed to doing so in a clear, transparent and independent way.
Our website lets small business owners compare all their finance options instantly, which is a great way to save time and money and assures SMEs that they’re shopping around for the best deals.
This is a crowded space. What sets Business Finance Compared apart?
Our experience and expertise sets us apart. My management team and I have significant experience in transforming financial services with intermediary platforms, and I’ve worked with both big banks and the Government to create platforms to solve problems similar to what small businesses are facing today. And, importantly, as a small business owner myself, I know what’s important to small businesses and their owners.