Murray Marshall, a DSL loan officer, shared words of wisdom for businesses looking for funding in a session on Routes to Finance at the recent XpoNorth 2020 as part of its Digital Shorts series.
XpoNorth, a Scottish creative industries conference, was reimagined this year as an immersive digital edition, in light of the Covid-91 lockdown. Murray joined a panel of experts, including Paul Callaghan, senior investment manager at HIE, and David Young, investment executive at UMi Debt Finance Scotland.
Asked about what DSL looks for in a company when approached for a loan, Murray explained: “Any business starting-up should have a robust plan and know what they need to do to take it forward. It has to be in a position to repay, be confident in what it is doing and know that their figures are achievable.”
Murray said DSL will generally take things forward if the plan is solid and the financials stack-up. If that isn’t the case, DSL will be honest with the applicant. “A quick no is better than a slow no, and I think that’s appreciated by everyone,” he added.
The individuals behind a business can make a big difference, according to Murray: “Ideally the people will have experience, or skills they can transfer from another sector. Sometimes you get an application and you think it won’t work. But then you meet the people and you realise they will make it work.”
In terms of the impact of Covid-19 on start-ups and SMEs, Murray said: “Government borrowing is expected to be at its highest since WWII. Their input has been great in helping businesses survive, but the economy has taken an absolute battering. It’s going to be a long road to recovery.
“On the plus side, we have more loan applications getting downloaded from our website recently. They won’t all come to fruition, but it’s great that there has been an increase. People are thinking about starting businesses. It’s not all doom and gloom, and rightly so.”
On his biggest piece of advice for businesses, Murray concluded: “Cash is king, particularly at the moment.” DSL recognises this and we work with clients in such way that cash can be preserved in the business while simultaneously providing loan support to help businesses grow and develop.