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21/03/2016

Reaching the big 50 (what 50 investments have taught me so far)

By Cenydd Rowlands, Senior Investment Executive

As a generalist investor, Finance Wales casts a wide net. We structure debt and equity deals of all shapes and sizes across a variety of different business sectors in Wales. Once we receive a credible business plan and application, it’s our job as investment executives to work with that business towards a deal completion.

Having recently completed my 50th investment at Finance Wales I know that every deal is different.  But my experience has taught me there are many ways in which we as investors can help the customer on their journey.

It’s good to talk
Always maintain clear communications with the customer throughout the whole of the deal process. Updates on appetite, timescales, satisfaction of conditions precedent and drawdown requirements are essential. Not only does this keep all parties on track, it breeds customer confidence.

Organise, don't agonise
Get all customer due diligence signed off as early as possible. Don’t let an outstanding passport or stray utility bill delay the process. Also, always enquire about the capacity of prospective third party professionals (solicitors, due diligence providers etc.) to deliver within the requisite timeframes before asking for quotes…and certainly before formally instructing!

Be realistic
Always be realistic with what you say to a customer so their expectations are set correctly. Over promising or under delivering will always end badly.

A little help can go a long way
Consider ways to help customers satisfy conditions, such as emailing soft copies of template documents that need completing on their headed paper or getting permission early on to liaise directly with any key stakeholders that you need information from.

Change is ok
Providing changes are properly documented and formally agreed there is no reason to fear commercially justifiable amendments to agreed terms, especially if those changes will result in a facility that’s better suited to the customer’s needs.

Never second guess
Sometimes an investor may not have all the answers up front, in which case it is best to admit you don’t know. Simply commit to finding out within an agreed timeframe and ensure you communicate back.

Think of the bigger picture
There’s no such thing as the perfect deal. Every completion will experience an obstacle somewhere down the line. Passion is a great driving force, but it pays to take a breather now and again to remember the bigger picture and work your way around any issues.

And finally….
Never forget that the customer is king! Great customer service is vital and often a key differentiator between you and other lenders.

In conclusion, they are many ways lenders can be more effective in supporting the deal process. It often involves communicating clearly and early, and going the extra mile where possible. The benefits can boost not just your deal flow, but also help to establish stronger client relationships for the long term.

Finance Wales provides debt, equity and mezzanine commercial investments starting from £1000 up to £2 million. We invest in start-ups, early stage and established businesses across a range of sectors. If you think your business could benefit from a tailored finance package contact us today.