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Business services

We have compiled information and data to help support the growth of your business. From saving money on business costs such as energy and insurance, through to the best home for your business savings and marketing services including online payments and ecommerce.

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Other business services

Small business insurance

Even the smallest business can benefit from business insurance. This insurance helps to protect your business from the costs of accidents, mistakes, theft, damage and legal fees. Each small business will have different risks it will face during its day-to-day operations and protecting against those that could most severely damage your business is worth considering. 

Find out more about the different types of business insurance. 

Business energy

A responsive energy supplier is critical to running every UK business. A loss of power interrupts operations and can cause delays delivering your services and products to your clients or customers. You can compare energy business suppliers to find one that brings great prices and excellent customer service.

Find out more about business energy.

Business broadband and mobile

Good communications are critical for businesses dealing with customers and suppliers. Reliable and fast broadband and mobiles help your business to remain connected and available to your customers.

Find out more about business broadband and mobile.

International business money transfer

Businesses that have suppliers abroad can send payments to them using an international money transfer service. To keep the costs of sending money abroad low, you need to keep an eye on the interest rates and any transfer fees and commission.

Find out more about how your business can send money abroad.

Small business accounting software and apps

Accounting software and apps help businesses to manage their finances and cashflow. This can include digital ways to manage expenses, send out invoices and for VAT submissions.

Find out more about accounting apps.

Card machine readers and online payments for small businesses

Accepting card payments has become an increasing priority for many businesses as more customers expect the convenience of paying by card or mobile. The cost of card machine readers and associated software is now in the reach of more small businesses than ever before.

Find out more about card machine readers and online payments. 

Small business bookkeeping

Bookkeeping involves the management of daily transactions and making sure your business doesn’t run out of cash. Software can help bookkeepers to manage payments to suppliers, issuance of invoices and monitoring cash flow. They also prepare the books for an accountant to review for statutory returns, tax requirements and for making business recommendations.

Find out more about bookkeeping.

Marketing services for small businesses

Small businesses can work with marketing companies and software to create websites, email campaigns and CRM systems to help promote their business and manage sales.

Find out more about marketing, website and ecommerce services.

Payroll services for small businesses

Managing payroll is a time-consuming task and businesses can choose from a fully managed service, a payroll bureau, payroll software or a pay-as-you-go service.

Find out more about payroll services.

Business breakdown cover

Protect your business vehicles from breakdown with business breakdown cover. If your business relies on using vehicles to deliver your goods and services then business breakdown cover will help to make sure you can resume these as quickly as possible.

Find out more about business breakdown cover.

How to finance business growth

Michelle Monck

Michelle Monck

Consumer Finance Expert

What is business finance?

Business finance is the activity of raising and managing the cash of your company. You may need to raise cash to start a new business or grow an existing one, and your choices include equity finance, where investors give you money in exchange for shares in your business, or debt finance, such as a business loan, bridging loan or commercial mortgage, from a bank or other type of business lender. Browse a wide range business products below or read our guide to business finance to learn more. 

How can I use finance to grow my business?

There are different finance options based upon the status of your business:

Pre-trading

·         Seed finance

·         Start-up loan

 

Pre-profit

·         Seed finance

·         Angel finance

·         Equity crowdfunding

·         Venture capital

·         Corporate venture capital

·         Start-up loan

 

·         Overdraft

·         Asset based finance

·         Leasing & hire purchase

·         Export or trade finance

·         Growth finance

 

Growing and making a profit

·         Angel finance

·         Equity crowdfunding

·         Private equity

·         IPO or public offering

·         Overdraft

·         Bank loan

 

·         Peer-to-peer

·         Asset based finance

·         Leasing and hire purchase

·         Export of trade finance

·         Growth finance

 

Stressed performance – established business

·         Private equity

·         Overdraft

·         Bank loan

·         Invoice factoring

·         Asset based finance

·         Leasing and hire purchase

·         Export or trade finance

 

Stable and established

·         IPO or public offering

·         Overdraft

·         Bank loan

·         Invoice factoring

·         Asset based finance

·         Leasing and hire purchase

·         Export or trade finance

How does business finance work for my sector?

Business finance for farms and agriculture finance

Farming is a global and highly competitive business, with advancements in technology and consolidation making it tough to compete. A business loan can help you to buy capital items, such as a new piece of technology or new machinery, or to release some day-to-day working capital. It can also help with the purchase of livestock, feed and fertiliser. If you are looking to expand your farming business by acquiring new land or building new farm buildings, then a commercial mortgage or bridging loan may be suitable.

If you have outstanding invoices and late payments and need to improve your cashflow then invoice factoring, while incurring a cost, can provide you funds quickly. 

Business finance for manufacturers

Manufacturing includes a diverse range of industries such as mining, quarrying, all types of engineering from aeronautics to car production, chemical industries, textiles and clothing, energy, waste management and food production. In the UK, the sector employs 2.6m people and accounts for 44% of total UK exports.

Starting and running a manufacturing business involves significant capital investments, such as machinery and premises, and operational costs from insurances, to raw materials, employees and utility costs. Sometimes you might need a short-term loan to improve cash flow, or a longer-term mortgage for property. In addition, manufacturing is a sector with one of the largest amounts spent on research and development. You may need finance to make sure you can continue to invest in new technologies and innovate to keep up with the competition.

Business finance for hotels

The hospitality industry is the UK’s third biggest employer, providing work for 3.2m people directly and a further 2.8m people indirectly. Those wanting to acquire a hotel, or looking to refurbish or expand their hotel, will need to consider a commercial mortgage or bridging loan.

If you are new to the hospitality industry you can improve your chances of securing a commercial mortgage by selecting a hotel that is performing well, and by showing your experience in running and managing other types of businesses. You should have at least the last two years’ trading history of the hotel to show the hotel’s turnover, costs and profit levels. If performance has been poor, then you need to show the changes you intend to make and forecast the improvement this will have to profitability. These changes could be to your aesthetics, through a refurbishment, or your marketing plan.

Business finance for retail

The retail industry has had a difficult time recently, particularly the traditional high street, which has struggled against the convenience and price competitiveness of online shopping. The sector employs 2.9m people and there are just under 300,000 retail units in the UK.

Creating an exciting retail experience is essential to attracting customers and increasing your share of their spending. A business loan or commercial mortgage can help you achieve this, either through renovating your physical stores or investing in new technologies to give you an e-commerce site or an interactive shopping experience. You can also borrow to invest in your security, such as CCTV cameras, alarms and protection of your website and customer’s data.

Business finance for restaurants

In the UK, there are 988,000 people employed in the restaurant sector across 186,000 restaurants. The sector has had a tough time, with some well-known brands and chains having to close or call in the administrators during 2019. However, the increasing demand for plant-based food as consumers look for healthy alternatives, the desire for more unusual and individual dining experiences and a keenness to reduce food miles through local produce provides imaginative restaurant owners with options to open new and expand existing restaurants.

You can use a business loan or commercial mortgage to purchase or refurbish your restaurant.

Business finance for sole traders

If you are a sole trader, then any application for credit will include not only the financial position of your business, but also your own personal financial health. Like loans for other types of businesses, you can apply for a secured or unsecured business loan.

4 steps to grow your business

Find out more about how to grow your business, across planning, people, marketing and finance. 

Check your credit score

Before you apply for business finance it's important to check your credit score.

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