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Tuesday 19 March 2019
by Jackie Emson

Meet the Member - Chris McLoughlin from Bathgate Business Finance

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  • Name of Business?  Bathgate Business Finance  
  • Who are you?  Chris McLoughlin – Business Development Manager   
  • What sets you apart from the competition?    The way we do business is what makes us stand out from our competitors. We see ourselves as a modern iteration of the traditional bank manager. We are relationship led. We work closely with the local professional community and build relationships with customers over time. Our extensive professional networks mean that we are exceptionally well-connected, with access to expertise in all sectors and that we have truly unrivalled local knowledge, which is at our customers’, colleagues’ and collaborators’ disposal.  While we always meet our customers immediate needs, we then also maintain contact on an ongoing basis, offering advice and guidance and spotting opportunities that their businesses can leverage. We are there to offer value at different stages of a customer’s professional life, meeting cashflow and business finance requirements with innovative and alternative solutions.  Unlike others, we are a small and nimble team, unrestricted by any credit committee policies. Along with the fact that we have our own book of lending, as well as a vast network of specialists we can work with, this agility is a powerful, proven and effective combination. We can turn deals around exceptionally quickly for our clients, which we know is uncommon in our marketplace. We’re also highly skilled at sourcing finance for companies that might be considered higher risk by traditional lenders, such as those working with new technologies, where the exit strategy might not be as clear.   Finally, we do everything we can to help our customers’ businesses thrive and - where appropriate - we invest in PR and marketing activities to help promote their success and expansion plans in their target media as part of our full-service offering.   
  • How did the business come about?    We were established in 1991 as Bathgate Leasing, but have since developed into a fully-fledged business finance solutions provider offering a wide range of innovative business to business cashflow finance solutions, including asset, invoice and tax funding.
  • What are your main target markets?    We are committed to serving the UK's increasingly important SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) market, with a particular focus on the North West of the country, although we have clients across the UK. We work across sectors, as we have wide network of contacts that we are able to work with on more specialist cases. In the last few months, our deals have included £250k supplier finance secured to help a growing online retailer with significant sales opportunities, a £960k commercial mortgage to allow an industrial client to purchase its trading premises, a £700k alternative invoice finance facility sourced for an online jeweller, 100k investment for a cutting edge virtual reality (VR) attraction specialist and a 250k finance package for family flooring firm, to facilitate the ambitious expansion plans.
  • How long has your business been in existence?    We were established in 1991 as Bathgate Leasing.   
  • What job or achievement makes you most proud?    Our relationships with customers, colleagues, suppliers and referrers are what really make us proud as a business. We’re committed to supporting all of these connections in the long terms and we are proud that so many of our relationships are long-standing ones. It reminds us that we are doing things in the right way and that we are trusted because of that. In terms of jobs - while securing big figure investment is great, that’s not the important thing, it’s what it means for the customer.   A £10k cash injection can mean more to an exciting start up that is just getting on its feet, than a six-figure sum might mean to a more established business. That said, there’s always a real sense of achievement when you find an innovative or unexpected funding route for a business where others have failed, its owners have been told they’d never find investment or perhaps they never even thought there was a chance in the first place. That’s why it’s always worth a conversation with us.
  • Where do you see the business being in five years?    We have already recently grown our team and plan to expand it even further in 2019, to support the ongoing requirements of our existing customer base and also generate new business leads that will help our business to meet our ambitious targets.    Cheshire, South Manchester and North Staffordshire are key areas for our expansion and this is the area that I will personally be focusing on, due to my local knowledge and network.  As the North West region as a whole continues to flourish we will also maintain our role in supporting local businesses and growing the local economy. This isn’t just through our ‘day job’ of sourcing finance solutions but also a calendar of networking events, which connect local professionals and cultivating long-lasting and mutually beneficial professional relationships across sectors.
  • Why Warrington?    Warrington is a really exciting place to be right now, in particular when it comes to the science and technology sectors. There is a real energy here that is driven by innovation and a concentration of entrepreneurs and exceptional business minds. It’s right between two thriving cities, but has lower running costs, which means investment can be focused on growing the products, services and innovations that are coming out of Warrington’s businesses.   In short, businesses here are highly investable, but due to the newness and cutting edge nature of many ideas and businesses going here, traditional finance might be harder to pin down. That’s where Bathgate Business Finance and our network can help.
  • Brexit – good, bad, opportunity?    There is still so much uncertainty around Brexit. It is clear that some European funding routes will no longer be available, but this will probably have a larger impact on bigger corporations. SMEs are the lifeblood of the UK’s private sector, making up 98% and bring in £1.9trillion annually to the economy of the UK, so their continuation is vital.   Change always presents opportunity and while there will undoubtedly be some negative impacts there will be new opportunities and new routes to investment, it will just require some different thinking. Having a whole of market presence has become increasingly important to us and our business.  So, whilst mindful that Brexit may cause some market disruption, we believe that we are well positioned to assist our clients with their ongoing funding requirements.