Two years in, what have I learnt about providing stock finance to UK businesses?
It’s been two years since we launched Seneca Trade Partners and I find myself reflecting on our journey so far.
The time has flown by and although in many ways we feel like we are only just getting started. When I think about what we have achieved, I realise just how much we have accomplished in a short space of time.
We have purchased a total of £8 million of stock on behalf of more than 40 individual UK Business clients.
We’ve forged great relationships with introducers and other funders. We’ve introduced new ways to work with debt funders that mean we can provide stock finance even where businesses have invoice finance already and we’ve been part of the Seneca team that has won Best Alternative Finance Provider two years in a row at the Insider Dealmaker awards.
On behalf of our clients we’ve purchased everything from commodity stock like Coal, Glass, Fabric and Plastics to specialist products including Pharmaceuticals, Laptops, Children’s Toys, School Shoes, LED Lighting, Watches… the list goes on and on.
We’ve made purchases from suppliers all around the world, in different currencies and we’ve been involved in the journey of a number of our clients who have used our funding to grow their business to the point that they have become attractive to business purchasers. In some cases, our clients have either sold out entirely, in others they have benefited from substantial equity injections following the introduction of our working capital funding which lead to increased turnover and profitability.
For me that is probably the most satisfying aspect of what we have achieved over the past two years. We are working hard to build a business for ourselves and the wider Seneca family who back us, but seeing our funding fuel substantial and immediate results for our clients is almost more rewarding. We believe wholeheartedly in what we do and we are all heavily invested in it. To see our clients achieving such great results following the adoption of our funding is just fantastic and reinforces our belief that UK manufacturing is under-served in the financial market. Businesses can not trade unless they have stock to trade with, and we have seen many times that when you back the right businesses with stock funding, those businesses flourish.
The last two years have not been without their challenges however. More than once, it’s felt like we’re running an accountancy practice first and a stock finance business second. Part of what I love about our business is that no other funder does what we do. The problem with that though, is that when you do something no one else does, you have to invent it from scratch. Seneca Trade Partners offers its clients unmatched flexibility in the way their facilities operate. We calculate charges by the day and we allow multiple part payments and on-demand ad-hoc drawdowns, meaning that our clients are completely in control of their stock funding lines. In the real world, operating facilities like this is difficult and until we invested in a bespoke software system, we were calculating it manually! Thankfully we now have a custom IT solution that tracks payments and receipts across our whole client base and produces statements automatically. Getting to this point though has been a major undertaking.
In recent months we have really felt like we have been gaining a natural momentum. With inbound deal flow increasing each month and a bulging pipeline, it is exciting to be interviewing candidates for the new roles we are creating. We will also soon to be on the hunt for bigger office space in Manchester to accommodate our growing team.
UK Trading, and especially manufacturing, is going through an uncertain time and with the current state of Brexit negotiations, stability looks a long way off. With our funding, we are helping support UK businesses by financing the stock they need to support their sales pipelines. It’s what we do, it’s what we are good at, and we are perfectly placed to keep doing it, bigger and better, over the coming years, no matter what happens in the marketplace.