Every business lives and dies by its finances. But never before has cash flow been more precarious than it is now, with some businesses seeing sales driven down by as much as 50% throughout 2020/21.
While a range of government financial support has been available throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the fact of the matter is that firms will need to maximise revenues moving forward if they are to make a full recovery.
As you chart your course to increase profits, the relationship with your asset finance partner will be more important than ever. To seek out an asset finance partner who is completely aligned with you and your business, keep the following in mind:
Every business tries to project a certain image, but you need to dig deeper to discover their reality.
Check how long they have been in business. New players might promise a lot (they’re trying to disrupt the market, after all) but what they can’t evidence is their consistency of service and resilience under economic and environmental pressure. Given the current situation, you want to be in a safe pair of hands.
An established strong partner will have been through economic peaks and troughs. Their management team will have proved their ability and you can have confidence in their future actions and activities.
Is the partner experienced within your sector? Do they understand your business and are they able to adapt and provide real-time solutions quickly? Can they evidence practical experience of your market and prove they deliver on their word?
If so, they should be able to offer advice on the best practice, becoming a partner in your sales process and not just a supplier to it.
How quickly can they give you an underwriting decision? They should understand that time is of the essence to ensure you secure your customer and the deal as quickly as possible. You can scarcely afford to let a single customer walk away from a deal right now – your asset finance partner needs to share the same sense of urgency.
Technology has transformed the speed and efficiency of proposal management. It’s now possible to process your customers’ finance applications and manage their deals online, at any time of the day or night. Make sure the partner has leading-edge technology that allows for paperless transactions if necessary, and lets you interrogate your deals with them 24 hours a day.
Check they will provide you with dedicated support, both internally and externally, if you require it. Do they value the business you can offer them and understand the work that went into you nurturing your customers? Can they help you with compliance issues and provide you with other valuable advice as part of their service offering?
You need a partner that will go above and beyond to get a deal over the line, understanding what it means to your business and making sure you do so within the regulatory framework.
A partner is only ever as strong as its funder network and its own portfolio. A good asset finance provider will be able to call on multiple funders to finance your deal. If they are reliant on one funder, your flexibility to offer your customer the best deal is diminished significantly.
Do they run their own portfolio? Can they offer you unique schemes to ensure that more of your customers are offered finance facilities, and that you profit from the relationship where others may fail you?
Do some digging on the funders your provider is using and find out the acceptance rates you can expect for your business.
Can deals be tailored to meet your specific requirements? A good provider understands that every business is different and will offer some flexibility around the term of the agreement, the payment profiles, and what happens at the end of the lease, as well as the underwriting criteria.
A good partnership is more than a purely transactional relationship. An asset finance partner should offer value in more ways than just greasing the wheels of a deal. Perhaps they can help you get “buy-in” on leasing from your sales staff by providing in-depth training and incentives? Or, they might offer marketing support to help grow your business through leasing.
The best finance partners are able to see your business for the mutual opportunities it offers, rather than just as another customer in their sausage machine.
With asset finance from Shire Leasing, it becomes simple for your sales team to understand finance agreements, increase sales, reduce discounts, and allow your customers to acquire your equipment through a range of affordable asset finance options.
Do your due diligence on Shire Leasing today. Call us on 01827 689 39.