Working Digital: Banking on support to be a digital success

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By Craig McGill | Digital Strategist

September 4, 2013 | 5 min read

As there's been a greater incentive to smaller firms starting up and making their own impact in the digital era, banks have come under fire for refusing to lend and start these new potential digital champions.

Anne Marie Chiesa

Ayrshire five-day event Working Digital is dedicating a day to the issue of funding - from kickstarting your own money, accounting advice and, obviously, banking.

RBS Director of Business Banking, Ayrshire & South West, Anne Marie Chiesa took some time pre-event to discuss some issues around digital, business and funding.

Banks have been getting a tough time of it from the claim that they don't lend anymore. What would you say to address that issue?

  • 93 % of all applications are agreed by RBS
  • In the UK, only 43% of available funds under overdrafts are actually being utilised
  • Year to date in Scotland, we have advanced £82m to Business Banking customers, which is an increase of 25% on last year's lending
  • RBS provided 40% of all lending done under the EFG scheme
  • Funding for Lending has been available since 2011 and provides a discount of up to 1.8%of our lending rates and loans which are fee free

What's the best tips you can give people thinking of starting their own businesses? What financial planning should they do 12 months/six months/one month before launch?

  • One of the best sayings is "fail to prepare, prepare to fail"

    have a robust business plan and cash flow forecast in place to determine borrowing needs. make early contact with your bank to give them time to put in place

  • Build up a savings pot as turnover will generally always take longer to build than expected. Costs are also rarely under budgeted
  • You can never over research your marketplace. ask your family and friends for their opinion. They are always the most honest
  • Take time to select a good banker and accountant. think value rather than price
  • Take time to think of the 'what ifs' and have a plan in place in case these arise
  • Build up your network of contacts so that you always have advisers you can refer to and bounce ideas off. Self employement can be lonely, but it doesn't have to be
  • Worthwhile taking the time to explore what grants may be available. Your RBS Manager can also help with this
  • Don't be too quick to incur costs. try and keep your business model as lean as possible. why arrange office accommodation if it's not necessary. consider bartering with co businesses
  • Take time to prepare your media profile. this is your shop window and is a customer's first impression of you. media to consider includes LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Bizcrowd and so on

Are banks under threat by the likes of fundraising initiatives like Kickstarter, Kiva and so on?

There are many other funding options which can complement bank funding. We generally aim to provide a funding 'package' which is bespoke to the customer.

Examples are West of Scotland Loan Funding, Asset Finance, Edge Funding, Inspiring Enterprise Grants, Invoice Finance, DSL, angel investors, crowdfunding, Scottish Enterprise/Business Gateway grants.

What's the one useful link you can share with people that you think Working Digital attendees would like?

www.bizcrowd.com

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Scotland needs to stop being so risk averse when it comes to digital

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