Recently I was a guest on the Commercial Broker Best Practice Series, run by Yasmine Shah. Yasmine is a BDM at Tradeplus24, a company that offers a unique automated credit line that uses outstanding invoices as security. She has a deep-rooted passion for the finance industry and in particular, the finance broker community. As a result, she’s deployed many initiatives to help brokers across Australia, including the Women’s Commercial Finance Forum as well as the Commercial Broker Best Practice Series. It was great to feature on this series and share my experiences, learnings and some tips I’ve picked up over my career. Here are the key insights from our discussion.
Why I do what I do
Having purchased my first business back in 1996, I’ve spent half my life owning and running a small business. That was a residential real estate which I sold to start a debtor finance company in 2008. I ran that business until its sale in 2016 when the time was right to make another move. After a very enjoyable 12 month sabbatical, it was clear that I didn’t want to go back into lending; however, I did thoroughly miss working with other small businesses. Whether it’s the wholesalers, manufacturers or truck drivers, my passion for the last twenty-four years has been small business and assisting owners to achieve their goals.
As we’ve seen recently, small to medium enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the Australian economy. Having also worked with consumers back in Real Estate, in my experience SMEs are the most enjoyable to work with. Every customer is different and has a different story to tell. One of my favourite clients is a young guy in Tasmania. He’s been keen to grow his business and over two years I’ve seen his successes and failures. With some clients, we’ll chat about the weather or the latest TV shows. This guy is direct, and we talk business – the next truck, the next trailer, the next vehicle. Everyone is unique, and I love the stories behind the finance, who they are and what they’re doing with their business and where they want to end up.
What’s our point of difference from other business brokers?
Becoming a broker isn’t the most technical job in the world, or the hardest to break into. While many people can be brokers, not everyone does it well. The competitive advantage at Capital Plus Finance is simply loving small business, wanting to help owners and going that little bit further to deliver exceptional results. This can materialise in many ways; perhaps it’s returning a customer’s phone call quicker, responding to their email faster or caring more about who they are and what they do.
Reliability and delivering peace of mind goes a long way in this industry. Our clients know that I will call them back – they don’t have to go writing in diaries or notes in their CRM to follow up with me. They know I’m coming back to them. You just need to do whatever is in your power to be better and more committed than your competitors. At the end of the day, it’s much easier for someone to leave their broker than it is their debtor finance provider. However, why would they if you’re looking after them and helping them achieve success?
Best practice: What’s a typical scenario that crosses your desk?
80% of what we do is asset finance, whether that’s trucks, vehicles, plant and machinery or other equipment. It’s mostly transport and manufacturing, with different verticals such as small business loans to cafes and restaurants filling out the remainder. We get a lot of our referrals from accountants and mortgage brokers as well as our clients.
Today I had a potential client sent through to me. I gave him a call to make contact and find out more about what they were after. He was a scaffolder wanting help to understand the SME Loan Guarantee Scheme, as well as purchase two used utes for his business. We start the conversation by talking about how he got into scaffolding. People love telling their story and talking about what makes them tick. He’s been doing it for half his life, but his business is only two years old. He has a property – this is essential for asset finance. He’s also already got a truck financed by a fourth tier lender, and we can definitely get him a better deal on that.
We also want to find out what the two utes are going to do for his business. More revenue? Who are his customers? Are there any credit issues we would need to know about? Aged ledger? Debtor finance might be another solution. Who can we contact to refinance the truck? What I’m looking for is information to establish a range of financing opportunities.
Best practice: What happens after the initial conversation?
After I’ve made the initial contact – if he’s available later in the day I’ll get my support team to give him a call and take his application over the phone. No more printing and emailing documents back and forth, we are on the phone doing it all for him. We send a privacy statement via DocuSign and do some more qualifying on his credit score. Once we have all that information, we start workshopping that with the team. Who’s going to refinance a 3-year-old truck at a cheaper rate?
We know where to take him for the SME Loan Guarantee Scheme so we’ll do the analysis to see if he can take advantage of that as well. This all plays into what we see as best practice. We want to deliver the customer an excellent customer experience, so they get the support they need and have every reason to use us again in the future.
Looking for assistance or advice? Get in touch
Whether you’re looking to refinance, take your business to the next level or just seeing what’s out there, an experienced finance broker is your best point of call to discuss your specific situation and the financing options available. The team at Capital Plus Finance will do everything we can to help you secure a suitable finance solution for your small to medium business. Please give us a call anytime to find out more or to have an obligation-free chat about your business’s funding situation.