EARLY STAGE BUSINESSES: Who Can You Turn to; This Week Advantage Business Angels Managing Director Neil Mackay Plays the Marketing Game

Article excerpt

Byline: Neil Mackay

I read with interest a report on a survey by GE Commercial Finance into the habits of small and medium-sized business when looking for funds.

The headline conclusion was more than half a million companies cannot purchase the new machinery and equipment they need because they do not know how to source the funds.

As somebody involved in advising companies on the huge variety of finance available I have to hang my head in shame and say to myself - what has gone wrong? Why do so many companies not know where to go despite all the publicity, seminars, websites, networking and business breakfasts? If I had the "secret" answer I confess I would not tell anybody in this column, but I would rush out and do it immediately.

In truth, there is no secret answer.

In today's economy there is a constant overpowering flow of information and nobody can assimilate all the messages.

People have to block out those which are not immediately of interest and here lies the challenge for marketing.

How to get your message across so it either hits a person just when they want it or more likely so it goes into the person's mental "in tray" to be pulled out when needed.

Trouble is the in-tray often gets so clogged that retrieval is a bit tricky.

Here is where the company's trusted advisers come in. In my experience most people in business have one or more advisers who they have real confidence in.

Such confidence does not come overnight, nor is it earned easily.

So, when it comes to finance who are the trusted advisers? I have seen many reports on this topic and although there are different details the overall conclusions are generally the same. …