Our T&DBA Member in the 'Spotlight' this month is Simon Raper from Equinox Commercial Finance.
1. When did you start your business?
Equinox Commercial Finance was founded in early 2019 with the goal of providing small and medium sized businesses in the North Yorkshire region with alternative sources of funding.
We are a genuinely independent Commercial Finance Broker and are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers.
Through our established Lender Partner network we can give businesses immediate access to over 250 alternative UK based Commercial Lenders and Private Banks. All of our Lending Partners have funds available and are genuinely keen to support businesses and provide a positive and viable alternative to the High Street lenders.
2. What led you to start a business/how did it all begin?
The fact that banks have been abandoning Britain’s high streets recently has been widely publicised and unfortunately Thirsk has had its own spate of bank closures. These closures are making it difficult for small and medium sized businesses operating in market towns to find someone they can talk to about arranging the finance that their business needs to thrive and grow.
Having previously spent 20 years in the SME sector working in senior management roles involving financial management and planning, purchasing and budgetary control I saw an opportunity to help local businesses to secure funding.
Managing a business is tough enough without having to devote valuable time to the administration associated with applying for and securing business finance. It can be confusing to understand the difference between all the different options, interest rates and repayment choices on the market. We resolve these problems by finding the lowest cost and most appropriate funding for our clients from our Lending Panel of over 250 lenders.
3. What do you like about Thirsk?
Thirsk is a vibrant town with a great selection of shops, cafes, restaurants and hotels. There are also many manufacturing and service industry businesses in the town, so the local economy is really thriving! Thirsk Racecourse and the World of James Herriot are nationally known attractions and certainly put Thirsk on the map. The local community are very friendly and rightly proud of their town.
4. What is your most popular product/service?
We offer all our clients a true ‘one stop shop’ facility and provide businesses with a fully managed and professional service. Whether you require property development finance, a commercial mortgage, a buy to let mortgage, asset finance, invoice finance, a short-term bridging loan or bespoke niche industry finance we will find the best solution.
However, our most popular product is Asset Finance. We can provide you with a fast, competitive quote to lease any capital equipment necessary for the running of your business. This includes Plant, Vehicles, Production Equipment, IT and Telecoms Systems and even ‘Small Ticket’ items down to £2K in capital value.
Leasing is a tax and cash efficient way of financing equipment for your business, it keeps the asset ‘off balance sheet’ and offers the following key benefits:
- It provides you with immediate use of the asset without paying for it all at once.
- It frees up working capital and bank loan / overdraft facilities for business growth.
- The Lease contract is structured for the length of time that you require use of the asset.
- Sale & Leaseback allows you to release capital in assets that you already own.
- It offers the most tax efficient structure for your business.
5. What other local business do you support?
We are keen to support as many local businesses as we can in the Thirsk area and will always do our best to refer our clients to other local businesses, particularly those offering professional services.
6. What is the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is meeting business owners and talking to them about the opportunities that are available to them. It’s really rewarding to think that I’ve been able to help them achieve their business goals.
7. What is the best piece of advice you would offer a new business in Thirsk?
It’s important to get to know people and other businesses in the area. Thirsk and District Business Association organise some great networking events and the annual Business Expo also gives new businesses the chance to get noticed. It’s essential to help and support other local businesses wherever possible.
8. Fun/amazing fact about your business people might not know?
Believe it or not we can even arrange finance for Classic Cars, Cranes, Trains and Planes!
9. Favourite book/famous person that inspires you?
My favourite book is The Davinci Code by Dan Brown as it is fast paced and packed full of unexpected twists and turns. There are also many interesting riddles to solve in the book, just like in real everyday life!
The famous person that inspires me most is Sir Alex Ferguson (even though I’m not a Manchester United fan!). He is considered to be one of the greatest managers of all time and won more trophies than any other manager in the history of football. His leadership qualities are very inspiring and include confidence, discipline, focus, resilience, a competitive edge and the ability to build for the future.
10. What does the future look like for your business?
In the increasingly uncertain business environment it’s important to remain agile. Despite the healthy size of the SME loan market in the UK there is still a £22bn funding gap, with many businesses struggling to obtain capital for their needs, according to the Bank of England. In view of this there are many opportunities to provide finance to businesses operating in a wide variety of sectors and markets.
Thank you Simon. If you would like to be featured in next month's SPOTLIGHT ON feature, please email email@example.com.