SME Funding: The Power of “What Are You Trying to Achieve?”
The business landscape for SMEs is characterised by diverse needs, goals, and challenges, where success depends not merely on monetary resources but on aligned and strategic financial solutions.
Many commercial financiers often misinterpret SME needs by offering generic financial solutions, thereby missing the actual requirements of the business.
So, what should be the foundational approach for a business advisor when dealing with SMEs?
The most important question a business advisor can ask their client is – “What are you trying to achieve?
Why? Money is a facilitator for solving other problems, not the problem itself. A civil engineering business on the hunt for credit facilities to buy new ‘yellow goods’ might be looking for fleet capacity so they can undertake new projects, not just funds. A manufacturer might need a new machine to cut costs, boost capacity and boost the bottom line – money is just a means to this end.
The uniqueness of every enterprise demands personalised understanding.
Conversations then should align financial solutions with business goals, build trust, foster proactive decision-making, enhance flexibility, facilitate long-term success, and enable competitive advantage.
1. Aligning Financial Solutions with Business Goals:
Every business is unique, driven by its distinct vision and objectives. The simple act of asking “What are you trying to achieve?” enables financiers to tailor financial solutions that align perfectly with the specific goals of the enterprise. Generic solutions can often miss the mark, but understanding the ambitions of an SME owner ensures a symbiotic partnership.
2. Building Trust and Understanding:
Finance is not just about numbers; it’s about trust. By showing genuine interest in the aspirations of SMEs, financiers demonstrate their commitment to the long-term success of the business. This approach fosters a relationship built on mutual trust and understanding, essential for navigating the complex financial challenges that often arise.
3. Fostering Proactive Decision Making:
With a clear picture of what an SME aims to achieve, financiers can anticipate future needs and potential pitfalls. This proactive approach allows them to offer solutions in advance, ensuring businesses stay agile and ahead of the curve.
4. Enhancing Flexibility:
Understanding the end goal allows financiers to design flexible financial frameworks. Whether an SME is eyeing rapid expansion, diversification, or sustainability, knowing the objective helps create adaptable financial strategies, ensuring the business remains resilient in the face of market changes.
5. Facilitating Long-Term Success:
Short-term gains can sometimes cloud the bigger picture. By focusing on what an SME truly wishes to achieve, financiers can guide businesses towards strategies that ensure not just immediate profit but long-term success. This holistic view can be the difference between a business that survives and one that thrives.
6. Enabling Competitive Advantage:
In a market saturated with generic financial solutions, a personalised approach can give SMEs a significant edge. Armed with financial strategies tailored to their specific goals, these businesses can navigate the market more confidently, ensuring they stay one step ahead of competitors.
The diverse nature of SMEs necessitates personalised financial solutions. By asking “What are you trying to achieve?” financiers can unlock the vast potential of SMEs, ensuring mutual growth and success.
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