Getting to know our customers: Drink, Shop & Do

Drink, Shop & Do’s Story:

Coralie and Kristie began hosting a Wednesday wine and paper mache evening at their home soon after graduating from university and starting their careers. As the weeks went on it became more and more popular to the point that their living room could not accommodate for the demand. They both realised that there was a market for this and decided to host a pop-up shop in an ex-Victorian bath house based in Kings Cross. The pop-up was such a success that they never left. In fact it has been such a success that Coralie has also managed to open a members bar across the road.

What makes Drink, Shop & Do stand out?

Delicious food and a range of cocktails are not the only characteristics that make this place unique but the transformation the venue makes throughout the day. There are also a range of activities to keep you busy from Lego Robots to Play With Clay and Papier Mache Monsters. By day, Drink, Shop & Do is a mild-mannered King’s Cross café and spritz bar serving a range of teas, coffees, healthy lunches and cakes. By night it switches to a merry den of drinking and dancing, where guests can reconnect with their inner big kid.

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Our visit:

We were welcomed in by Coralie and her friendly staff who showed us to our tables and explained the rules of our challenge, the Lego Robot competition. Whilst constructing and creating stories for our robots which would have to be explained at the end of the session we drank beers and wine and snacked on a range of finger food. Coralie explained the journey of building her business to the thriving place it is today. Like many of our clients, Drink, Shop & Do has utilised the product we offer to assist this growth.

Cheers for a great afternoon; Drink, Shop & Do! Some of our staff enjoyed the atmosphere so much that we stayed much longer than we had planned to.

Find out more about Drink, Shop & Do by visiting their website: http://drinkshopdo.co.uk/

How Flexible Financing Can Drive Growth for SMEs

SMEs are the lifeblood of the European economy. According to advisory group, Interreg Europe, they represent 99% of all businesses and two-thirds of all private sector jobs in the EU, while according to the European Investment Fund’s SME Access to Finance Index: “together, SMEs produce more than half of value added in the EU.”

That is why the success of SMEs is so crucial to the overall health of the European business landscape. Yet, far too often lack of easy access to finance threatens their prospects. Starved of the flexible funding they require, many small businesses struggle to survive, while others find growth opportunities severely restricted.

At Capital on Tap, we have seen at first hand the challenges UK SMEs face. There is often a sense that retail banks don’t speak their language or prioritise their needs. These banks certainly struggle to come up with finance offers that really work for SMEs, mainly because it is hard for them to make the economics work for a small loan.

“We continue to see small businesses being underserved by retail banks and we are trying to solve that issue not only in the UK but now also across the rest of Europe.”

That’s where we believe we can step into the breach. Our automated technology platform can run with minimal costs, meaning that we are able to provide start-up enterprises with loans of as little as £25,000 – and, critically too, we put SMEs front and centre of our whole approach.

The online application process is straightforward, with 97% of customers getting an instant credit decision. SME customers pay no interest on card purchases if they pay off their balance in full every month. Otherwise, they only pay interest on the funds they use. As well as having no monthly or annual fees, they also benefit from having no ATM charges or foreign transaction (FX) fees to worry about.

Since launch, we have provided £500 million worth of funding to 40,000 businesses across the UK. That’s why, while continuing to focus on the UK, we are now looking to also branch out into the wider European marketplace.

“Businesses have loved that our platform was simple and easy, and demand has matched what we have seen so far in the UK.”

It’s clear that SMEs across Europe face many of the same concerns that they do in the UK but generally there are even fewer funding options for smaller businesses in other European countries than there are in the UK.

We have tested our platform in five different European countries already – and have had an incredible response in each. Businesses have loved that our platform was simple and easy, and demand has matched what we have seen so far in the UK. It’s a positive sign.

We continue to see small businesses being underserved by retail banks and we are trying to solve that issue not only in the UK but now also across the rest of Europe. Flexible funding really can provide the answer here. Simply: businesses can go from having no options to having a fantastic option for growth.

– David Luck, CEO, Capital on Tap

Fix your business’ credit control today

Help small businesses thrive. That’s our mantra here at Capital on Tap, and it’s driven our offering since day one. We were recently chatting to our friends at Chaser, the cloud credit control software, about 6 options you have when your business needs an urgent cash flow boost. They ended up giving us some fantastic insight into the mistakes many small businesses make with their credit control function, inhibiting their cash flow. As cash flow is the lifeblood of a business, we asked them how small businesses can most effectively combat these mistakes and establish a world-class credit control function.

Here are the 3 things your business needs to do today to fix its credit control function and get invoices paid on time.

1. Knowledge is power. Arm yourself.

If your business sells on payment terms, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is assuming each of your customers operates the same way. Avoid setting yourself up for excuses and late payments by asking these 4 questions every time you supply a new customer:

  • What information do you need to make payment? (Although your invoice should already include the following: payment details, accepted payment methods, payment terms, invoice date, your VAT or sales tax number, and the correct description and cost of the goods/services)
  • Does this purchase require you to approve a purchase order? (And if so, when will it be approved? Plus don’t forget to include the PO number on the invoice)
  • Who is responsible for making payment on this invoice? (And how do I contact them?)
  • When do you make your payment runs?

Armed with this information, you won’t be blindsided by your customer with excuses about not following procedure. They’ll be forced to justify the unjustifiable – why they haven’t paid you on time when you’ve done everything correctly.

2. Polite persistence pays. Chase consistently.

“Polite persistence pays” is a motto of Chaser’s, and it’s an incredibly effective philosophy to follow when conducting credit control. Chaser have seen that almost 80% of invoices can be collected on time through email chasing alone. Here’s what you need to be doing to maximise your effectiveness of email chasing.

Every email chaser you send needs the following information to be effective:

  • Your business name
  • Invoice reference number
  • Amount owed on the invoice
  • Payment due date
  • Number of overdue days (if invoice is overdue)
  • And always attach a copy invoice

In providing this info, you eliminate any chance of the customer using the excuse that you haven’t provided enough info for them to make payment.

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It’s important, however, that your email chasers always remain polite and are sent often enough to keep you front of mind in your customer, but without harassing them. To achieve this, a good rule of thumb is never chase more than once a week or less than once a fortnight. Armed with the knowledge you acquired earlier, send your chasers to the person responsible for making payment on the invoice, and consider timing these chasers with when the customer makes their payment runs for maximum chance of getting paid quickly.

While email is a very effective medium for chasing up unpaid invoices, don’t forget the phone. Especially if your customer is slow to respond or sends vague and unclear replies. A rule of thumb from the Chaser team is to make a call after every third email chaser.

And finally, once payment is received on the invoice, whether it was on time or not, always thank your customer for paying. You’ll positively enhance the relationship with your customer and help encourage timely payment in future. Just a quick one-sentence email is enough, but make sure you do it within the 24 hours after receiving payment for maximum effect.

3. Maintain your invoice communications history neatly.

While the above advice can work wonders on the efficacy of your credit control function, it can be undermined by the lack of a single source of truth. Without consolidated and well-maintained invoice communications histories, a world-class credit control function crumbles. Scrambling through sent emails, multiple inboxes, or notes scrawled on the back of an envelope are all unnecessary risks and time-wasters from the credit control of the past. If your business still manages its credit control function this way, it could easily be racking up hours wasted every week. Not to mention operating with the unnecessary risk of missing key info when it isn’t consolidated into one location.

Whenever you’re conducting credit control with an incomplete picture of the situation, you’re inviting your customers to delay payment. You also risk damaging your business’ reputation by providing conflicting info, having to backtrack on something you mistakenly said earlier, or simply creating the image of a “pushover” company.

Keep a centralised log of all chasers sent, replies received, phone calls taken, and notes made. Make sure it is easily navigated and searchable by customer, invoice, and date. This will not only save your business a world of time, it will empower you to deliver world-class credit control and get your invoices paid on time.

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Chaser is cloud credit control software to get your invoices paid on time, in less time. Their average customer saves 7.3 hours a week on credit control, and boosts their cash flow by £4,400 per £100,000 of turnover. Check out how their product can help your business today.

Capital on Tap Secures £140 Million in Funding

London, UK 13 August 2018 – Capital on Tap, one of the UK’s fastest growing companies, has secured a total of £140 million in additional funding in the form of £90 million in debt funding from London-based investment houses, M&G Investments and Triple Point Investment Management LLP; and a further £50 million debt line from international bank, Citi and private equity and credit fund manager Pollen Street Capital, through P2P Global Investments PLC a quoted investment trust that Pollen Street Capital manages.  Capital on Tap is not publicly disclosing its valuation, but it has raised £30 million of equity and £200 million of debt to date.

“We continue to see small businesses being underserved by retail banks, and we are trying to solve that issue.” – David Luck, CEO of Capital on Tap

Since its launch in 2012, Capital on Tap has competed with the offering of major banks, by offering small businesses a faster and more transparent way to fund their business. Capital on Tap has already provided over £500 million in funding to more than 40,000 small businesses across the UK. It plans to use the additional financing it has received to accelerate growth in the UK, enabling it to serve more small businesses. “We continue to see small businesses being underserved by retail banks, and we are trying to solve that issue. At Capital on Tap we support thousands of small businesses by giving them up to £50,000 in minutes,” says David Luck CEO of Capital on Tap.

This additional funding represents another important step in the ongoing growth story of Capital on Tap. Capital on Tap was featured on the Sunday Time Tech Track 100 for 2017, cataloguing the 100 fastest growing companies in the UK.

Alan Hart, On Tap’s CFO, said: “Our funding facilities are specifically designed to help small businesses that have been in our view underserved high street banks. These funding facilities build upon existing relationships with great funding partners and bring new partners into the fold.”

James Pearce, head of direct lending, M&G Investments, commented: “Small businesses across the country are the lifeblood of our economy. It is essential for businesses of all sizes to have access to credit facilities in a timely manner in order to grow and to manage cashflow. This deal brings much needed cashflow to small businesses whilst benefiting our pension fund clients.”

Neil Richards, investment manager, Triple Point Investment Management LLP, commented “As a long-standing provider of finance to the UK SME sector, Triple Point is delighted to support Capital on Tap with this increased facility. We recognise the critical part that the SME sector plays in the UK economy and as innovative operators continue to fill the gaps left by traditional funders, we have expanded our own team to identify opportunities like this one to deploy our private capital.”

Abror Ismailov, Partner at Pollen Street Capital said, “Pollen Street seeks to partner only with the most innovative businesses, who target underserved market opportunities and who show the potential to grow and to expand their market share. In Capital on Tap we see a robust business model with the potential to access underserved SMEs across Europe. We’re excited to be involved and to work with David and the Team.”

Capital on Tap was advised by EY and Norton Rose in securing its additional funding.

About Capital on Tap

Founded in 2012, Capital on Tap is on a mission to help small businesses thrive. The company believes small business owners are the foundation for growth in the economy. Capital on Tap has partnered with over 40,000 small businesses across the UK deploying funding facilities of over £500 million to customers ranging from freelance designers to pub owners to solicitors. For more information, please visit www.capitalontap.com.

About Pollen Street Capital

Pollen Street is a global, independent alternative asset investment management company focused on financial and business services, which brings together a team of highly seasoned specialists with extensive experience in the UK, US and Europe. Pollen Street works closely with entrepreneurial management teams who share our values and whose businesses have strong growth potential. Changes in the focus of large incumbent players, together with the implementation of new models that make the best use of data, analytics and technology, provide exciting opportunities for our partners to pioneer and innovate. Pollen Street has a long track record of supporting these successful models as they expand and grow.

Check out our article in the Telegraph:   https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2018/08/12/capital-tap-gains-140m-funding-boost-growth/

Check out our article in Forbes:   https://www.forbes.com/sites/joewalleneurope/2018/08/16/can-a-british-funding-firm-solve-financing-problems-for-european-smes/#3d01d033c65c