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Andrew Darling Social Media

SMEs Utilise Social Media for Business

Social media is unavoidable in today’s modern business landscape. The rise of websites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram have brought about a massive change in the way companies market themselves to both existing and potential customers and clients. But just how many of our smaller companies in the UK are using social media in 2014?

Social Media in 2014

According to a study by Computing in 2013, it was estimated that up to 56 per cent of businesses – with 250-499 employees – would be using some form of social media by 2014. But for smaller businesses, the Bibby Financial Services micro-business study highlighted that 65 per cent are now using social media for their business.

But just how important are sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – the three most popular social media platforms for micro-businesses? Well, whilst 65 per cent of small business use these platforms, it seems not everyone views social media as an important part of their business strategy.

A Study by Bibby Financial Services

According to the study by Bibby Financial Services, almost three quarters of business owners said that social media is not important to their business, with only nine per cent citing it as ‘very important’.

Although social media marketing can of course prove to be a fruitful path for smaller businesses and companies, with its low-cost high-reward concept, some business owners just don’t have the time to commit. And other promotional avenues – more familiar to micro-enterprises – can often seem like the best option.

Consider the Advantages of Facebook and Twitter

With such an array of free resources and tools now available via sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, social media shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to business strategies. And business owners and SMEs need to consider the advantages of such marketing opportunities.

For more information about Bibby Financial Services’ social media and micro-businesses study, you can download the Livelihood report in full today.

About the Author

Having worked in financial services for over 36 years, Andrew Darling is a specialist in invoice discounting, factoring and trade finance solutions. He currently manages the development of business with higher turnover companies at Bibby Financial Services, specialising in corporate finance for businesses with turnover of £5 million or more.

Andrew Darling: The risks of self-funding businesses

In recent news we revealed that the number of SMEs relying on personal savings to fund their businesses has leapt in the six months to May.

These findings – according to a study of 1,000 SMEs conducted by Bibby Financial Services  in May – show a worrying trend that could lead to further problems down the line for businesses who rely on funding from personal savings. But what are the alternatives?

Self-Funding

Nearly half of those surveyed were found to be using either their own savings, or borrowing from family and friends, this makes self-funding the most popular form of funding among small businesses today. This is a significant rise from the 26 per cent who were relying on this form of funding six months ago. If funds are available, self-funding can be perceived as the path of least resistance for small start-up businesses. But over time, self-funding is hard to maintain and rarely sustainable for a growing business.

Risks

It’s always risky to tie your personal finances together with your business, and personal savings may not be substantial enough to help see long-term business growth through. It would be easy to run a business into the ground simply by having a growing order book but the inability to fulfil orders due to a lack of cash.

Funding Options

There are a number of funding options available to SMEs that they might not be fully aware of, which can help to guarantee a more secure future for their business.

Although more needs to be done in the industry to increase SMEs awareness of alternative, non-bank funding, there are services that can help reduce business risks and boost long-term sustainability. This includes services like Forward Finance – which guarantee a dependable cashflow by releasing money tied-up in invoices – as well as other forms of Invoice Finance solutions such as Factoring.

As the UK’s leading independent invoice finance specialist and a trusted provider of cashflow funding solutions to 7,000 businesses, Bibby Financial Services offer a comprehensive range of products and funding packages for SMEs.

So if you’re a small or medium sized business owner who is currently relying on self-funding, it’s worth investigating what alternative funding solutions are available. To learn more about business funding and options beyond self-finance, visit Bibby Financial Services online.

About Andrew Darling

Having worked in financial services for over 36 years, Andrew Darling is a specialist in Invoice Discounting, Factoring and Trade Finance Solutions. He currently manages the development of business with higher turnover companies at Bibby Financial Services, specialising in corporate finance for businesses with turnover of £5 million or more.