For most people, the last 7 weeks or so have been hectic and challenging. Initially the change of pace was frenetic, as business owners and managers rushed to flex their working environments and practices to align with Government guidance. The shift to working from home, and balancing this with unexpected family commitments, took some time to get used to.
Things now seem to have settled down somewhat and in the business community attention has turned to taking a breath, taking stock and thinking about the next 6 to 12 months (rather than the next 6 to 12 days or even hours).
Having the time to reflect got me thinking of the questions I had been asked by business owners, throughout our client base and beyond, in recent weeks. We’ve helped many businesses think about the impact Covid-19 is having on their prospects including helping them access the funding they require via CBILS et al.
However, there were a number of conversations I had during this time for which CBILS/CLBILS or any of the government financing products weren’t the right or most appropriate answer. Some examples of this included:
- I may want to do an acquisition in the future, can I borrow from CBILS now and have the money available should I want to use it?
- I’ve been thinking about realising some of the investment I’ve made in my business and I could do with the cash now, can I borrow under CBILS and use it to pay myself via a cash out?
- Can I refinance my existing, more expensive debt using CBILS, thus saving me money and possibly releasing my PG?
- I’m investing in new products/services/projects, can I borrow money cheaply under CBILS to help with the development costs?
You get the idea. However, just because CBILS was not always the right answer, I’m absolutely not saying that these aren’t the right questions.
In fact, these and many others are the right questions and are very legitimate strategic and financing queries that business owners might think about to help deliver their objectives both now and in more ‘normal’ times. But why did it take the launch of a Government response to a health crisis to increase the number of people coming to talk to us?
It is probably a good time to point out that unlike the recession of 2009, we are not in a liquidity crisis. The reality in fact is that; banks are well capitalised, there are a wide range of alternative sources of debt finance and private equity have record levels of committed capital (or ‘dry powder’ as they like to call it). In short there are lots of finance options and a commitment from finance providers to support business wants and needs in whatever shape or form that takes.
There will be some interesting opportunities during the next 6 to 12 months, especially for those bold enough to embrace change quickly and take action. For some this may be a strategic or opportunistic acquisition, for others it’s investing in organic growth opportunities or launching new products at a time when your competitors are internally focussed. Whatever it is we are here to support you, including challenging and sanity checking your ideas!
Should you wish to talk, whether it’s about access to appropriate finance, advice on strategy, tax advice and/or consulting support, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.