Loan & Grant Applications

At Gordon Ferguson we have strong and long standing relationships with the mainstream banks, pure Factoring/Invoice Discounting suppliers, local government bodies, private equity/debt suppliers and the business gateway. This gives us access to the people who make the key funding decisions in those organisations.

We are totally familiar with the lending criteria, the appropriate forms to complete and the business planning data which requires to complement such applications

We can offer access to :-

West Of Scotland Loan Fund – which gives up to £100,000 of loan capital matched by either the business owner or by another lender.
UK Steel Enterprise Loans/Equity – this fund is a commercial entity which gives loans/equity up to a value of £750,000
DSL Loans – these are more expensive loans which can be accessed once the more traditional routes are exhausted
Private Equity – small business people who want to assist smaller businesses with loan/equity funding for a good return
Local and National Grants for  -

  • Business Planning & Forecasting
  • Capital Expenditure
  • Training
  • Website Assistance
  • Job Creation                    

We know which departments to contact and we are totally familiar with the application process therefore our clients do not miss out on any grants which become available and which fit the criteria pertaining to their business.

Case Studies:
See who we have helped in 2013

Invoice Financing / Factoring

Are you looking to improve your business cash flow or looking for a new invoice factoring provider?

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Case Studies - Below are some of the businesses we have helped...

Lanarkshire Recruitment Company

We were approached by a recruitment company based in Lanarkshire to review their current invoice finance facility to identify any potential cost savings. We gathered up the relevant information and then put together a package for other lenders to tender for. Upon completion we identified a new facility which based on current turnover figures would save the company a minimum of £40,000 per year in interest and charges. The company moved providers within a month and have been delighted with the service ever since. Our costs for completing the project were £300 + VAT and the company is now a client.

Glasgow Transport Company

We were approached by a transport company in Glasgow to help the company solve some cash flow issues. Upon a review we recommended that the company goes into liquidation. We structured a deal with the liquidator to buy back the assets of the company over 9 months. We also prepared financial projections for the new company and secured an invoice factoring facility with a funding limit of £900,000. The company is now trading successfully and the process has protected 30 jobs.

Edinburgh Printing Company

The company had a full factoring facility but were disgruntled at the funding limits for some of their key customers. The restrictions prevented affected the funding availability at peak seasons. In addition the company were being charged a refactoring fee for unpaid invoices over 90 days. We put the facility out for tender and identified a new confidential invoice finance facility with increased funding limits and no refactoring charges. The company were now responsible for chasing their own debts which resulted in customers paying quicker. The calculated cost saving on interest and charges in year one was £15,000.


Invoice Financing

How can Invoice Factoring help your business?

Avoid Cash Flow Problems

A common problem faced by many small and medium-sized companies in Scotland is a lack of cash flow. This is typically caused by business owners offering lengthy payment terms to customers. Professional advisors say that on average an invoice giving 90-days leeway will not be settled for 115 days! This puts unnecessary stress on company finances - and business owners!

Invoice financing provides a solution that removes the cash flow problem and is proven to be an effective way of easing financial burdens caused by late payment of invoices. Funding is available from a variety of sources such as:
•    A range of government-backed lending schemes
•    Traditional loans and bank overdrafts
•    Invoice finance and asset-based lending firms

Financing effectively provides sustainable working capital, protection against bad debt and late payments together with a number of other benefits for your businesses. However, the strategies are often misunderstood by business owners – which is where professional financial advice is invaluable.

Our Role

As a valued business advisor we play a central role in providing information on the funding streams available to our clients. The challenge for businesses is to understand what finance options are available that best meet your requirements. It is not always clear cut! Gordon Ferguson & Co will help you make the right decision.

About Invoice Finance

Invoice financing and factoring allows businesses to get an advance on outstanding invoices from customers. The lending company or institute – a bank for example – agree to buy the debt from you and will recover the outstanding invoice from your customers. In essence, invoice factoring is a form of short-term borrowing that provides working capital and cash flow to help you grow your business without compromise.

The concept of invoice financing has evolved considerably in the last thirty years and is proven to deliver business growth. The benefits offer a flexible alternative to traditional bank financing and provides ongoing stability for your business. The process has consistently proven to provide reliable and cost-effective support to business owners throughout the UK.

Invoice finance and factoring have been regarded as expensive options, but we have clients that are thriving today because of these facilities – without this service their businesses would struggle and most probably would have gone into liquidation.

Invoice discount financing can be confusing, but we will explain exactly how you can benefit in layman’s terms without bamboozling you with jargon. Our broker service also ensures you get the lowest service charge and interest rates available. Gordon Ferguson promise to find you the best deal that suits the needs of your business.

With the right funding package you do not have to worry about unpaid invoices holding back your plans for expansion. Not only that, but we keep your accounts and tax liabilities in order as a standard service and help you plan a solid platform on which your business will not only survive, but will have the chance to grow!

Invoice financing is a sustainable solution to ease cash flow concerns and remove the financial and physical stress that comes with being a business owner. To find out more and to ask how we can help, contact one of the specialists at Gordon Ferguson on 01698 440330.

Business Plans & Forecasts

How to write a simple business plan

A simple business plan is a must for businesses in Glasgow. You can use them for effectively attracting investment or as a benchmarking tool to schedule targets. Your plan should clearly outline what you want your business to achieve and when. For busy business owners and entrepreneurs faced with thousands of decisions on a daily basis, it is easy to lose sight of what your business aims are. A business plan should help to keep you and your team keep on the straight and narrow.

A business plan can be used for a number of reasons and will determine the amount of detail you put into it. However, when looking for business funding, it should include enough detail to convince potential investors they will make a profit and your business is not going a lost cause.

If you are thinking of approaching a bank for funding, they will want to be assured your enterprise will be successful enough to repay the loan, or that you have assets you can sell to cover the loan if the company fails. A business plan is your chance to prove that your idea is worthy of their time - and more importantly their money!

Drafting a business plan

The purpose of a simple business plan is to give you and your readers a roadmap of your business model. A typical business plan should cover six areas which cover every aspect of your business, namely:

Business Plan Checklist:

-    The Executive Summary    
-    The Vision
-    The Market and Marketing
-    The Operations
-    The People
-    The Finances

1. The Executive Summary    

The Executive summary is arguably the most crucial. This is likely to be the first page investors read so needs to sufficiently engage them otherwise it could be the only page they read.  Keep it short (no more than 1 page of A4 paper), but precise, essentially a summary of your business model. It should mention who you are and what your qualifications or experience is to run your business.

Start with a simple, clear introduction, an elevator statement that pitches your entire proposition in a single sentence.

Address the problems in the market and how you intend to solve them. Include your key business targets and where you see your business in the next few years. This is the perfect opportunity to provide an overview of your predicted financial results with turnover and profit figures. Remember the detailed information can be found within the plan; this is your opportunity to promote your business idea in a short and snappy way.

Before you start writing the executive summary it is a good idea to have a brainstorm and make a note of everything you want to include in your business plan. To save time, write the executive summary last as it is essentially the section in which you summarise the rest of your business plan.

2. The Vision

This is your first chance to really sell your commercial ideas. Do this by introducing your business in some detail: how it started, where it is now and most importantly how you see your business developing in the future.

Explain the purpose behind your idea: what your product is and what benefit it offers customers; does the product solve a problem; who the targeted market is and why? Any unique selling points? Back up your argument with evidence to support why your company, products and services will be a success. Where possible include reports, white papers, market research and evidence you have gathered from previous experience.

In your vision statement it is important to highlight five key features which make your business stand out from the crowd? Why should customers and investors choose you rather than your competitors? Do you provide better value, superior quality, guarantees or a better location? Can you show investors that you have reduced risks?

Include the stage you’re at now, whether you’re market ready, how long you’ve been trading for, and what your plans for the future are.

Outline the targets you will implement in order to reach your ultimate goal.

How is your business set up? Are you a limited company, partnership or sole trader?

3. Marketing

Your marketing strategy is another key factor to determine your map to success. You need to define the sales channels you will use to create customers. This should explain how you will find customers, how they will pay and whether there are any opportunities for cross-selling or up-selling. Estimate how many times you expect repeat customers to buy from you in a typical year.  

Investors will expect you to have significant knowledge of your industry, the market, and the trends. Where will you enter the market and are there any major competitors who dominate the market?

What is your sales strategy and how will you go about reaching new customers? How will you sell it: in a shop, over the phone, door to door or online?

Compile a competitor analysis, their strengths, weaknesses and how you compare?

Again, any physical data you can provide to support your marketing claims should be used to back up your argument.

4. Operations

This section should focus on how you will manage the day to day running of your business. Where will you be based? Have you secured business premises? Have you committed to a lease on the premises and have you established the rateable value?

You should also detail whether your chosen premises will be suitable for future growth or will you need to invest in a bigger facility to achieve your targets at a later date? Will you need to purchase any capital equipment and how will this be funded?

Does your business require additional equipment or control systems such as security measures or a CRM system?

Examine the running costs of your business; how much it takes to produce your product or offer a service. Include overheads such as utilities, materials, tools etc…what are the costs immediately after start-up and what are the ongoing weekly/monthly costs?

Are there any legal implications for your business involving health & safety?  Do you require any licences or professional subscriptions (eg VOSA operator’s licence)?

5. The People

People invest in people! Your management team are the most important part of your business and this is your opportunity to show you are surrounded with capable, knowledgeable and qualified leaders.

Use this section to include a mini CV for all your key staff and the roles for each member. Outline their credibility and highlight qualifications and experience. Explain who holds what position and why they’re best suited for their roles.

It’s a good idea to make sure any of the required skills not held by any of the team are outsourced. This section should therefore include freelancers, lawyers, or accountants that you plan on using, as well as future recruitment plans.

6. The Finances

Numbers aren’t everyone’s strong point, but understanding them is essential to running your business. For the purpose of your plan, your finances should comprise of two sections: the monthly running costs of the company, and the forecasts for sales, profit and loss together with cash flow.

Cover at least three (and probably no more than five) years, showing when you’re likely to break even, and when you’ll start making a profit.

It’ll be tough to think of everything, but you should make sure you’ve accounted for everything, from rent, electricity, rates, insurance, and stationery to staff costs and parking.

Show your revenue streams, sales forecasts, and projected profit and losses. Make some financial assumptions, especially if your business is vulnerable to price fluctuations from suppliers or currency variances. Make sure your sales forecasts are achievable based on capacity and anticipated customer base. Include a section for key assumptions and how you arrived at your predicted figures.

Include any funding that you need, and how you aim to get it. Funding may come from external lenders such as bank overdraft, bank loan, invoice finance facility, government loan and director’s loan. Include repayment of any external funding and timescales for repayment. If private investors are being sought then what return on their investment are they likely to achieve.

The Narrative Section

It’s vital that your plan is written well: it’s harsh to think, but investors will probably be put off if your business plan is poorly written and littered with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.

It also helps if your plan is not boring. Try to strike a balance between formal and knowledgeable, but also showing you have a personality and a passion for what you do.

Make sure you keep it simple and don’t over write unnecessarily; one word is better than three. Also avoiding technical jargon wherever possible – you want everyone to understand it.

If you can, include visual representations: graphs and charts can often convey a message better than a table full of numbers. Include any relevant images, and keep a large amount of white space: large volumes of text are off-putting.

Finally, use standardised formatting throughout the document: font, page numbering, heading size, spacing, together with your company logo and any branding.

Gordon Ferguson Chartered Accountants are specialists in preparing business plans for funding requirements. Should you require any assistance please call us on 01698 440330 and we will be happy to help.

Business Funding

The Evolutionary Process

Businesses always start with a skilled individual who wants to take his or her first steps into self employment. They usually have a skill set which was being used to earn profits for their employer but now they want to use those skills to channel their efforts into their own wealth creation.

Businesses need funding at all stages of their development and we recognise that the type of funding required depends on the type of business and the stage of it’s evolution. Those stages are :-

  • Start Up   
  • Expansion / Growth
  • Consolidation

The current economic climate deters many budding entrepreneurs from realising their business goals .We have identified both the mainstream and gap funding sources available to businesses which allows us to access funding sources hitherto hidden from the public eye mainly due to lack of communication.

We specialise in raising funds from all available sources and will put together packages of funds which will allow the business to start, grow and then consolidate to protect the interests of the owners.

Typical sources of funds within such packages are :-