Case Study - Responsible Solutions

Ian Nicholson, Responsible Solutions, environmental and sustainability consultancy, Loughborough

Ian Nicholson founded Responsible Solutions just over 11 years ago. The company advises businesses on environmental and corporate social responsibility, and has contracts with many of the UK’s biggest construction and manufacturing companies.

Ian launched Responsible Solutions using personal assets and over 10 years has managed with no external funding, but as the business started to grow more rapidly he realised he needed to raise additional finance.

Ian explains: “We needed funds to cover off a number of additional costs incurred as a result of our growth, including an increased number of staff on the payroll, and business development projects such as a website refresh and e-learning platform. We needed the finance to continue growing.”

Ian’s first port of call was his high street bank, but the process was a challenge. “It was a familiar story” says Ian. “Either they cannot offer you enough, or it’s not possible to secure the right kind of finance. We wanted a loan but they would only offer loans for asset finance for a specific purchase. The only option they offered was an overdraft facility, but their offer wasn’t large enough for our needs and the repayment terms were too short. – So their offer was far too limiting for us. We needed working capital to support our general growth”.

Ian was directed to the NACFB by the Federation of Small Businesses. The NACFB was able to put him in contact with one of their accredited brokers, Roxanne Barker at Goodman Corporate Consultancy.

“Having looked in detail at our business, Roxanne considered our range of lending options and suggested we use Funding Circle. It worked out brilliantly. We were able to raise the full £30,000 we required within 40minutes of the auction going live, so we could have had the funds within 48hrs of application. However we let the auction run its course for 7days and got a very attractive interest rate we were happy with.”

As a result of the finance raised, Responsible Solutions are now on the right track to hit their three-year plan of doubling in size. Ian said “Responsible Solutions are now in a strong position to continue their expansion in the months and years ahead.”

Marcus Grimshaw, Chairman of NACFB said:
“There are many different kinds of finance out there for SMEs, but it can be difficult for businesses to know what is most appropriate for them. Specialist brokers will be able to get to the heart of each business to understand their needs, before matching them with the right lender.”


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