A new bank set up to lend to small businesses - do you think it will have an impact?

By: Fiona Humberstone

Date: 7 December 2011

What impact do you feel new bank, Shawbrook, will have on your business? In case you missed the news, Shawbrook Bank launched this October amidst a fanfare of publicity. One of their niches is in lending to small businesses. They claim to have the funding and desire to lend to businesses that have the confidence to grow.

My hope is that this can only be a good thing.

Week in, week out, I meet with business owners who have big ideas for their businesses, and a good chunk of them have the confidence and investment available to see through the big thinking. The investment pays off in spades and it’s wonderful to see their businesses grow.

But at the same time I think back to the retailer I met in January, desperate to launch an online shop presence, who simply couldn’t get the funding to make her dream happen. And it’s not about dreams; it’s about good business sense. As markets change and consumer and client habits change, you need to have the money and confidence to invest your time, money and energy in your business. And you can only do this through investment.

There are things you simply can’t do well yourself – and whether that’s having an ecommerce site developed, investing in a new logo or website or buying a new piece of machinery or taking on staff. To really grow your business you need to think big, be bold and have the guts to go for it.

In my experience there are numerous examples of businesses that need to make the investment, but don’t. Now it may be about a physical lack of money, but I suspect in many cases it’s more about fear. Fear of not seeing a return instantly, fear of needing that money for something else. And perhaps we’re all a little more sober about what we do with our money these days?

So tell me, if you could get your hands on some funding, would you use it? Do you think it would make a difference to your business? And do you think there’s any likelihood that the bank will live up to their claims and lend, or is it just a marketing ploy?