British-based manufacturers are the envy of the world. Research shows that many customers worldwide are willing to pay more for products made in the UK. This premium presents an opportunity for manufacturers of all sizes.
Despite this advantage, UK manufacturers also face the same challenge as all their competitors around the globe - theirs is a cash-intensive business.
Setting up requires significant investment - paying for plant and equipment, premises and people. Then there’s the cost of design, raw materials and establishing yourself in the market. All this spend comes, typically, before you earn a penny in sales revenue.
If that wasn’t enough, you also need considerable working capital- cash in the bank- to keep the production line running.
One way to raise capital is by exchanging it for equity, such as working with angel investors or venture capitalists. But not every business owner wants to give up a stake in their company.
Fortunately, there are a number of financial products available that can supply working capital without diluting ownership.
You have a number of different opportunities for raising working capital for your business.
Unlocking the cash tied up in assets offers a huge opportunity to manufacturers. The average mid-sized UK manufacturer has assets valued at a quarter of their annual turnover. That is, firms with an annual turnover of £10m have an average of £2.5m in assets (based on research in 2019).
These assets - buildings, equipment, stock and raw materials - can all be a source of working capital. Asset finance is a form of borrowing that’s linked directly to asset values.
You can borrow between £10k and £350k through an unsecured loan, usually repaid monthly over a number of years. It’s also possible to take out a short-term loan, paid back in just a few months.
Because no collateral is being given for the loan, it can be arranged quickly, usually in just a few days. A personal guarantee may be required from a director.
If you need to borrow a larger sum, a secured loan could be the way forward. This does mean putting up an asset as security for the loan, and it takes longer to arrange because of the additional checks and paperwork involved.
A secured loan may be repaid over a longer term.
Invoice finance, also known as factoring or invoice discounting, is a popular method of raising working capital to improve cashflow. It works by converting outstanding sales invoices into cash.
Most manufacturers sell on credit terms, sometimes giving their customers as much as 120 days to pay. This certainty that they will get paid in the future is an asset, and as such it is convertible into cash. It’s estimated that at any point in time, up to a quarter of a manufacturer’s turnover is tied up in unpaid invoices.
Invoice finance is the mechanism for converting unpaid bills into immediate cash. There are various forms of invoice finance available, including selective invoice finance and confidential invoice finance.
British manufacturing is known for its innovation. What many manufacturers themselves don’t know is that they can be rewarded for that innovation.
The reward is in the form of tax credits given for research and development. Every year thousands of UK manufacturers, including many smaller companies, make a claim. For many the value runs into tens of thousands of pounds.
This is cash that you don’t have to pay out as tax, but get to keep as working capital.
Many firms make the mistake of assuming their R&D work doesn’t qualify for this scheme. We recommend that you speak with a tax credit expert - you may be very pleasantly surprised!
We help manufacturing businesses that want to grow raise the funds they need to succeed in their goals.
Our team of finance specialists works with around 250 business finance providers, many of which have a funding solution suitable for manufacturers. Our role, as finance brokers, is to match their products with your situation.
Whether it’s tax credits, invoice or asset finance, or a loan that you’re looking for, we have the knowledge and experience to support your application.
Don’t allow a lack of working capital to hold your manufacturing business back from growth. It costs nothing to speak with our team to start exploring your options. Give us a call today.
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