#O2SmartaBiz winner: Funding Options

Funding options and smartaProposition: One sentence explanation of what your business is

We help businesses access the loans they need.

Why are you a smart business?

Most firms will recognise that access to finance is one of the most pressing challenges facing the UK economy. We use online technology to help solve this issue, first by helping businesses build a compelling case for finance, and then by connecting them with the right products and providers.

Earlier this year, Funding Options was selected by Lord Young and Sir Terry Leary for the 'Accelerate 250' list of the most promising new firms in the UK, and in 2012 we were selected by hundreds of senior banking professionals as one of the world’s most exciting financial start-ups.

What’s the smartest thing you’ve done to help your business grow?

We are great believers in partnering with people that our customers trust, and for this reason we work with respected organisations such as the Forum of Private Business, Sage Group Plc and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales.

The reason we’re an O2SmartaBiz winner is that last week we signed an exciting new partnership, which we’ll be able to launch publicly in a month or so. Onwards and upwards!

What smart things do you do for your customers?

Many good firms need finance to secure their future, or to grow. Unfortunately, they face a bewildering choice of products and providers, complicated outdated processes, and mixed messages about what lenders need to know. Our website helps firms identify the right solution, and to maximise their chances of success.

What smart technologies do you use to run your business?

Pretty much every part of our business is run in the ‘cloud’, for example our email runs on web-based ‘Gmail’ technology (now used by some the largest global firms), and best of all integrates with our other key systems. An example is that each customer email contact is automatically recorded in our online customer relationship management (“CRM”) system called ‘Capsule’, so that any team member – anywhere - can instantly see the latest about a customer case.

These capabilities would only have been available to the largest firms a decade ago, and we like to say that cloud technology is ‘levelling the playing field’ in business, because suddenly smaller firms are able to outcompete their much larger peers with flexible and customer-friendly processes.

Forward-thinking firms are quickly adapting how they approach the biggest business challenges with the ‘cloud’, such as finding new customers, raising finance and getting paid (and, in fact, we’ve built our own credit risk tool to help with getting paid; it’s called LedgerLive).

What’s your smartest tip for other entrepreneurs?

My greatest regrets as an entrepreneur have always been whenever we took too long and spent too much money before getting our product in front of real customers: the harsh truth is that however great you think your idea is, the chances are that your assumptions are wrong, so you’re better off ‘failing fast’ and quickly adapting what you do!



For more information about Funding Options, click here. "Like" their Facebook page here and follow them on Twitter @FundingOptions.

Check out last week's #O2SmartaBiz here.

Get more details on how to be this week's #O2SmartaBiz here.

Follow @O2BusinessUK and @SmartaHQ on Twitter and tweet us using the #O2Smartabiz hashtag


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