Panel Financial UK share their top tips for growing a business in 2019

Posted on by Jo Shaw

Estimated read time: 6 mins

Launched over 27 years ago, invoice discounting and factoring service specialist, Panel Financial UK, provides cash flow solutions and a specialist invoice discount service to businesses in the body shop industry across the UK, and has been an Experian Business Express customer for a year.

Here, Zoe Marsden, Accounts Director at Panel Financial UK, looks back on the past 12 months and discusses the company’s plans for the coming year, offering her tips for business success in 2019.

  • Tell us a little bit more about your business and any successes over the past year

When we first started trading almost 30 years ago, we recognised the need for a specialist funding solution provider for those in the UK motor industry – since then we’ve become one of the country’s leading specialist invoice discounting companies.

Our invoice discounting service helps businesses reduce paperwork and credit control burdens. This allows them to release working capital, helping their businesses become more financially stable and ultimately, assisting in steering their business to success. It also allows them to command larger discounts by paying ‘up front’ or frees up extra cash to expand their operation.

This year marked a significant period of growth for us with turnover up by 20%, we have managed this growth by embracing new technology and streamlining procedures.

  • How often do you use Experian Business Express?

Experian Business Express has been priceless to our business – especially the monitoring service. We use it extremely regularly; we check the financial health of our customers at least once a day. We started with a free trial from Experian and were so impressed by the tool that we left the other company we were partnered with.

The Experian Business Express monitoring service is far better than any other tool we’ve used before. The online solution is helpful, clear and easy to use.

  • How has the tool helped you over this past year?

The main way the service has helped is by making us more secure and giving us lasting peace of mind about all the businesses we’re working with. The Experian Business Express tool can certainly help businesses protect growth and for us it’s helped us direct our growth to the correct clients.

However, it’s not just business credit scores we use it for; we also use it to look into the complete company history of a business. We look at what the directors have done previously and any patterns that would suggest that a business might struggle to meet payments.

It’s how a business behaves that’s most important to us. The indictors we get from our checks could alter new business decisions and be a key factor in deciding whether or not we’ll work with a company. The tool has definitely made us more efficient in our new business processes – both checking new and existing customers.

  • Is there anything specific you think businesses should look out for or be mindful of in 2019?  

I think one major thing businesses should be cautious of over the coming year, is funding. With so many options now available, it’s essential you make sure you go down the route that’s right for you and your business. From traditional bank loans to crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending, there’s certainly so much choice now. However, when it comes to bank loans, businesses should be especially mindful, only taking them out if they can be certain that they’ll be able to keep up with payments.

  • What would you say has been the key to your success?

I believe the key to our success has been our attention to detail. The motor sector can be a complex industry but all our professional staff are fully trained in understanding how a body shop works and have spent time nurturing long-lasting relationships with all our customers – from motor garages to insurers. This is what I believe sets us apart from our competitors over the years.

  • When do you think is best to start planning for the year ahead?

It’s important to start planning and thinking ahead early. We started strategising for 2019 this June. As the halfway point of the calendar year it’s a good time to reflect on any successes or learnings from the first six months so plans can be put in place to catch any issues before it’s too late or to build on the strategies that are working well.

Often businesses can fall into the trap of planning for the year ahead at the end of the current year, but often by that point, it’ll be too late to rectify any issues from the past year. It’s vital that business leaders leave enough time for a robust strategy to be put in place for the next 12 months – there’s nothing worse than a rushed strategy and botched implementation.

  • What are your top tips for any business with growth ambitions this coming year

– Ensure you have the correct funding in place

– Ensure you have a place in the market

– Quality over quantity is key

– Secure a good contract

Make safer decisions about who you do business with. Gain a detailed picture of your customers and suppliers with Experian Business Express.

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