Take 10 – How to engage users and manage reputation on Social Media

Take 10 blog banner

With an estimated 2.3 billion users worldwide, social media provides huge opportunities to grow your customer base and build powerful relationships. According to Time magazine, 81% of consumers would have more faith in a company if they use social media, and millennials (those born from the early 80s to early 2000s) will be more likely to listen to social media users when making a purchase decision than anything said by government, business, or religious institutions.

However, making effective use of your chosen social media platforms isn’t easy. In our Take 10 series we’ve already looked at how to get started on social media, and how to take advantage of Facebook advertising. Now we want to look at some simple tips on how to build engaging relationships with your customers while managing and protecting your reputation.

1. Speak naturally

No one wants to talk to a robot. Social media is about connecting with people and building relationships, so don’t be afraid to let your personality come across in your posts. Getting a stock reply can make people feel unvalued, whereas being personal will help build trust in you and your brand. Engage with people and talk to them directly by using ‘you’ and ‘your’, and make sure you keep the tone consistent if more than one of you are posting.

2. Replying is more important than talking

Any opportunity to speak directly with a customer is important, whether it’s on social media, email, phone, or on your website. The difference with social media is that your response is in the public domain, so you can quickly gain or lose fans depending on what you do.

If you hide away from replying to a complaint, people will speculate or get more frustrated. If you try to challenge them, it could escalate and get worse. Take comments seriously, show empathy and apologise. Even if it wasn’t your fault, say you’re sorry they’ve had a bad experience. Provide information if possible and ask for details so you can call or message them directly.

Think of it as any other customer service channel. If you take time to respond to people and give them a great experience, you’ll add to your reputation and customer loyalty. Remember to use their tag (@name on twitter, name on Facebook etc) so that your post then appears on their network. Then if they like or share your response, you get a free advert of your great service!

Social media reputationHaving invested time and effort into their Twitter profile, Newton Farm Foods now have customers tweeting about their visits to their cafe and posting pictures of their flower displays.

3. Turn everyday events into content

Creating content doesn’t have to be time consuming. Capturing everyday events is an easy way of adding content for your social channels, and can help promote your products to your customers.

When anything gets you excited, take a photo and share it. It could be some fresh stock in your store (It’s strawberry season and these have just arrived fresh from the farm!), a new van for your fleet (Meet Terry, the newest member of our crew), or hiring a new staff member (We have a new Pastry Wizard joining our kitchen today – say hello to Jenny!).

If you’re setting up a seasonal display, or have filled your warehouse with 10,000 boxes for your peak sales period, let people know. These ‘behind the scenes’ posts help customers get to know your business better, building on your relationship while promoting your product or service. Always remember to tag users and use hashtags to reach a wider audience.

4. Curate content, start discussions

You don’t have to come up with everything yourself. Sharing articles, news, and photos from other sources is a great way to add variety to your posts and bulk out your content.

Think about what your customers are interested in that relates to your business. If you’re a bakery maybe that’s pictures of superhero cakes on instagram. If you’re an IT company it could be an exciting new technology launch. You can then use those posts as the starting point of a discussion — ask for people to share some favourite cake examples of their own, or for opinions on the news article you’ve posted.  

By adding content from elsewhere you avoid talking about yourself all the time and coming across as too salesy. Your followers will then get more value from your social channels, be more likely to engage with you, and be more likely to return.

Social media engagement
Pampeano ran a competition asking their followers to post pictures of any Pampeano gifts they received at Christmas, getting customers to talk about their products and creating a buzz around their brand.

Remember, engaged customers will advertise your business for you

Whether you’re one man band or have an in-house marketing team, managing social media can seem too time consuming to be worth the hassle. However, with a little effort, social media can turn your customers into brand ambassadors, building stronger relationships with them and giving you free advertising all at the same time.

Amour, liebe, love… | Weekly Lending Review

Week 4: 23 – 27 January

As we roll into February, New Year’s resolutions behind us and scoffing chocolate very much on the agenda for February 14th, we’ve put together a 6-step guide to help you make Valentine’s day extra special for your loved ones this year. All the businesses featured have been able to thrive thanks to your lending.

Record amount of new loans available to you

Last week, there was a record value of £30,784,970 new loans listed on the marketplace, averaging at £71,344 per loan. The largest loan value was £446,480 and the smallest loan value was £5,150. There are also thousands of loan parts available for you to buy which will help you become diversified.

How to make the most of your investment

To help you earn a more stable return and make the most of your investment at Funding Circle, spread your lending across hundreds of businesses so you’re only lending a small amount to each one. Watch our 90 second video below to find out more about diversification at Funding Circle.

Business loans available to bid on:

Gross interest rates are before fees and bad debts. Your actual return may be higher or lower as by lending to businesses, your capital is at risk.

Weekly marketplace trends

These graphs show the most recent activity on the marketplace. The number of loans, value of loans and amount lent are reported weekly.

Number of listed loans per week

 loans listed WLR 4

Listed loan value per week

 

Total amount lent

 

Loan parts available to buy from other investors

 

News you should know

Following a recent review of our property loan offering, we‘re increasing the interest rate on certain property loans and will begin to list some loans at a higher risk band than A+ or A. You can read more about this change on the blog.

Loans defaulted last week

Each week, we publish a list of the loans being defaulted on the Customer support section of our website under ‘Announcements.’ To see a breakdown of the loans defaulted last week simply click on loans defaulted 26th January 2017.  For further information on why Funding Circle defaults loans you can read our FAQ here.

Our collection and recoveries team are working to recover the outstanding amounts and will provide updates in the loan comments section on your summary page. You can also read more about how our collections and recoveries process works (part one and part two) on our blog.

Enjoy lending, the Funding Circle team

 

Our 6-step guide to a romantic night in this Valentine’s day

Amour, liebe, love… what better way to spend Valentine’s day than having a cosy and romantic night in with your special someone? To help you plan the perfect night, we’ve tailored a 6-step guide featuring wonderful small businesses across the country that have thrived thanks to your lending.

Step 1: Sweets for your sweet

What is the number one staple of Valentine’s day? Chocolate of course! Grab some gourmet sweets from Beech’s Fine Chocolates, such as their luxurious milk chocolate praline hearts – yum! The company, which was founded in 1920 in Lancashire, were able to keep up with high demand after borrowing £250,000 from Funding Circle investors.

Step 2: Flawless Flowers

Warm up your home with exquisite flowers from The Flower Emporium. The shop has been stocking and delivering flowers in Stockport since 1995so they are true experts in the field. Choose from an array of bouquets and arrangements, such as their Valentine Collection. You can even add a scrumptious chocolate pizza to your order! The Flower Emporium were able to further their refurbishment after borrowing £5,000 from investors in 2015.

Step 3: Wondrous Wine

For many people a romantic night isn’t complete without a superb bottle of wine, so we suggest grabbing a bottle from Talking Wines in the Cotswolds. The company is run by a passionate team who carefully select and source from independent producers. They also run a wine tasting event every Sunday. Whether you enjoy a deep red or a light and refreshing white, their online shop will have something to suit your tastebuds. To increase stock and selection due to high demand, the company accessed £40,000 in 2013 from 498 Funding Circle investors.

Step 4: Caring Cards

Surprise your loved one with a sweet and sentimental Valentine’s card from Love Kate’s. With over 250 cards to choose from, there is bound to be something that you and your partner will love. To help them improve their marketing and promote their brand, Love Kate’s borrowed £45,000 from 569 investors in 2015.

Step 5: Charming Candles

Pick up some warming candles from Bubblelush Divine Gifts to give your home an inviting and comfortable feel. The family-run business specialise in home fragrance and stock a variety of lovely scents such as Lemongrass and Ginger, Snowflake Cookie and Wild Fig. To help bring in new members of staff and expand into new markets, Bubblelush Divine Gifts applied for  £30,000 from Funding Circle in 2015.

Step 6: Perfect Presents

And finally, spoil your special someone with a thoughtful gift this year, such as a dazzling piece of jewellery from Krystal London. The shop handcraft everything locally themselves using the finest quality Swarovski Crystals at affordable prices. The company were able to attend trade shows to share what they are passionate about after borrowing £40,000 from 671 investors.

Are you interested in lending to businesses like these?

Lend alongside over 55,000 investors and support small businesses across the UK by signing up online today.

You can use our investor information guide to help you get started and there are thousands of loans which you can be a part of, making it quick and easy to build a diversified portfolio. Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

Looking to expand your business?

We’ve helped more than 20,000 businesses in the UK access finance for a range of finance needs, including hiring staff, opening new shops and working capital. Get your instant quote today.

Enjoy lending. The Funding Circle team

Behind the scenes: How the Funding Circle process works

We’re committed to helping established and creditworthy businesses, like your clients, access the finance they need to grow with business loans up to £350,000 unsecured, with a personal guarantee. Our loans are highly flexible and can be used for a wide range of business purposes, including buying stock, expansion, refurbishment and much more.

Since launching in 2010, we’ve helped more than 20,000 UK businesses access over £1.8 billion and over the last six years our team’s grown too. There’s now more than 350 staff in our London office, from legal to risk, payments to marketing and of course an extensive technology team.

To ensure your client gets a decision within two working days and receives the funds shortly after, our dedicated team, including nine Business Development Managers and five Account Managers, work with specialists from across the business.

In this short video, Business Development Manager James will take you on a tour of our office, show you what happens behind the scenes when you apply for a loan through Funding Circle and introduce you to some of the team:

To recap, once you’ve submitted an application online:

  • Your Account Manager will need 3 months business bank statements, the last set of full, filed accounts at Companies House and if these are over 16 months old we’ll need P&L and balance sheet information for the last financial year end.
  • Then, an Underwriting Assistant will carry out some initial credit checks and searches on the financial documents you’ve submitted.
  • Our Credit Assessment team will then look at whether the loan is affordable, if it makes sense and whether it fits our credit criteria.
  • Once the loan is approved, you’ll receive an email with the offer conditions and loan contract. Once the contract has been signed by a company director, scan it back to us along with:
    • A direct debit mandate
    • I.D. and proof of address documents for all guarantors
    • If it’s a Limited company, a personal guarantee
  • The team will then carry out a few final fraud checks, and once complete the loan will be listed at random either as a whole loan, where an institutional investor buys the entire loan, or as a partial loan where thousands of investors lend to your client. The funding process typically takes one to five working days.
  • Once the process is complete, your client will receive the funds within 24 hours.

If you have any questions about the process or want to find out more, contact your Business Development Manager who’ll be happy to help.

Partner with Funding Circle

Our dedicated team work with hundreds of introducers, including commercial finance brokers, financial advisors, corporate partners and accountants. If you haven’t yet tried Funding Circle but have clients who are looking for fast, flexible finance, why not register now to check their eligibility or log back in to your account to start submitting more deals.

 

Industry insights: 90 seconds with an expert

No one knows more about the day to day running of a business than the Funding Circle borrower community, so each month we ask an industry expert to share their expertise.

Industry insights (4) The motorcycle industry

Recently we spoke to Candy from Suffolk Canine Creche, to hear her views on how to build and run an award-winning accommodation facility for fun-loving dogs. This month, we caught up with Andy, founder and owner of Teasdale Motorcycles, to get his advice on how to run a very successful ‘one-stop shop’ for motorcycle enthusiasts. Since 2012, Teasdale have borrowed £167,000 from thousands of investors through Funding Circle, helping them to move to larger premises, hire new staff and boost their online business!

Teasdale motors

Find out more about Andy’s thriving motorcycle retailer in this short video.

Teasdale Motorcycles was set up by Andy Walker in 2002 when he decided to turn his love for motorcycles into a career. Since then, Teasdale Motorcycles has flourished and established itself as one of the North East’s largest motorcycle dealerships. They currently hold the franchise for Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, Norton and KTM Street Motorcycles. Teasdale Motorcycles moved to a larger freehold premises in 2012, and are currently midway through a total redevelopment of their site on Long Street, Thirsk – upsizing by two-thirds of its original size.

Watch our short video to find out more about the motorcycle industry:

Andy’s three insights for managing a motorbike shop are:

  • Be a one-stop shop for bike lovers: offer a range of products and services so your customers can rely on you for whatever their needs require
  • Be flexible: Consumer’s needs are constantly changing, so be prepared to adapt in order to keep up with customer demand
  • Be a strong ambassador for your franchises: When working with big brands, try and operate the partnership in a way that benefits both parties – that way, you benefit from great products and they benefit from your exposure

Are you looking to grow your business?

20,000 UK businesses like Teasdale Motorcycles have accessed finance with Funding Circle, helping with cash flow, refurbishment, hiring staff and much more. Get your instant quote and start growing your business today!

 

How Andy turned his passion into a successful career | Weekly Lending Review

Week 3: 16 – 20 January

To help his business expand, motorbike specialist Andy borrowed £167,000. Find out about Andy’s passion for bikes and how investors, like you, have helped him triple turnover and hire 10 new members of staff in this short video.

Teasdale motors

New loans available to you

There are currently 6 loan requests on the marketplace, and thousands of loan parts available for you to buy which will help you become diversified.

The total value of new loans listed on the Funding Circle marketplace was £29,189,674, averaging at £71,230 per loan. The largest loan value was £490,000 and the smallest loan value was £5,125.

Business loans available to bid on:

Gross interest rates are before fees and bad debts. Your actual return may be higher or lower as by lending to businesses, your capital is at risk.

Weekly marketplace trends

These graphs show the most recent activity on the marketplace. The number of loans, value of loans and amount lent are reported weekly.

Number of listed loans per week

 WLR 3 loans listed

Listed loan value per week

 WLR 3 loan value

Total amount lent

 WLR 3 amount lent

Loan parts available to buy from other investors

 WLR loan parts

Loans defaulted last week

Guitar shop. Loan 6134. Risk band B

This Devon business was established in 2006 and has convened a meeting of their creditors.

Digital marketing agency. Loan 26170. Risk band B

This Oxfordshire business has been running since 2009 and is entering insolvency.

Car showroom. Loan 19938. Risk band C

This Yorkshire business was established in 2016 and has proposed an individual voluntary arrangement.

Catering suppliers. Loan 8172. Risk band C

This Cambridgeshire business has been running since 2007 and is 3 months in arrears.

Property maintenance business. Loan 14542. Risk band A

This Middlesex business was established in 2012 and has breached their payment plan.

Marketing agency. Loan 15067. Risk band B

This Tyne and Wear business has been running since 2007 and will shortly become 90 days late.

Farm. Loan 11030. Risk band B

This County Armagh business has failed to make agreed repayments.

Railway specialist. Loan 4476. Risk band B

This Worcestershire business has been running since 2006 and is 90 days in arrears.

Marketing agency. Loan 24582. Risk band C

This Essex business was established in 2013 and has ceased trading.

Construction company. Loan 18794. Risk band B

This Derbyshire business has been running since 2010 and has appointed a liquidator.

Benefits of diversification

Lending to businesses can deliver attractive returns, while helping businesses access the finance they need to grow. However, from time-to-time some businesses will be unable to repay their loan, which is why lending a small amount to lots of different businesses is so important. Watch our 90 second diversification video below to find out more.

Our collections and recoveries team are working to recover the outstanding amounts for all of the loans described above and they will provide you with updates in the loan comments section on your summary page. Read how our collections and recoveries process works (part one and part two) on our blog.

Enjoy lending, the Funding Circle team

Innovation and regulation. December industry news

Watchdog to toughen rules on crowdfunding

The big news last month was the regulator’s interim response to their review of crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending regulation. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) focused on the diversity of peer-to-peer lending models within the sector now compared to a few years ago, and plan to take a more nuanced view of the industry as they develop future regulation. This is welcome news; as the industry grows and evolves, it’s right that it is regulated accordingly and in the best interests of customers.

These are 2016’s top 100 influential leaders in Fintech

Elsewhere, City AM featured Hot Topics’ top 100 Fintech influential leaders list for 2016, with a vast array of impressive individuals from a number of different types of Fintech companies. This includes mobile banking, insurtech, cloud accounting and of course, peer-to-peer lending! Funding Circle’s very own co-founder and CEO Samir Desai features in the list alongside a number of his Fintech founder counterparts.

Peer-to-peer lending: what can it offer SMEs?

The Daily Telegraph took a deep dive into the benefits of peer-to-peer lending for small businesses, featuring a Cornish case study whose farmhouse dreams were made a reality thanks to a peer-to-peer lending platform. Coombeshead Farm struggled to access finance through traditional routes but found that borrowing through a direct lending platform was much easier. A small business expert suggests that “the beauty of alternative finance is the speed and efficiency.” You can read all about a number of Funding Circle success stories on our business case study page here.

Compare P2P lending: The easy way to search for potentially higher returns

Moving on to the benefits for potential investors – the Daily Mail teamed up with Fundshare to create a comparison tool for budding lenders. You can adjust your preferences and see which platforms best suit your interests, with information on minimum and maximum investment, security, loan duration and returns. The article also includes a list of the pros and cons of lending through a platform like Funding Circle, which is useful reading for anyone new to the sector.

FT City Network transcript: The markets and a Trump presidency

And finally, Samir Desai made an appearance in the Financial Times’ City Network transcript giving his thoughts on the impact of Donald Trump’s victory on the financial sector and society more generally. He believes that if financial services firms do benefit from the result – it must not be at the expense of consumers, small businesses and communities alike.

Looking to expand your business?

More than 20,000 businesses in the UK have accessed finance from Funding Circle, helping with seasonal cash flow, refurbishment, asset finance and much more. You can check if you qualify for a business loan online in just 30 seconds.

Small businesses ready to seize new growth opportunities in 2017

Small business growth

After saying goodbye to an unpredictable 2016, small business owners across the country are stepping up their growth plans for the new year. According to a poll by insurance firm Zurich, the average business looking to get a loan plans to borrow up to 22% more compared to a year ago.

This is partly thanks to the continued growth of consumer spending in Q4 of 2016, and with the predicted downturn after the Brexit vote yet to materialise, around 36% of businesses are planning to borrow in 2017.

Rise in confidence

The rosier than expected outlook has led to a sharp rise in confidence among small business owners. In the Q4 Small Business Index (compiled by the Federation of Small Businesses) the confidence measure rose from -2.9 in Q3 to +8.5 in Q4 – returning almost to the pre-referendum level at the start of 2016 (+8.6) – meaning more small businesses feel confident than those that don’t.

Changes in the currency markets are having a more mixed impact on UK companies. While exchange rate and import cost rises are problematic for many, small exporters are benefiting from the weak pound and becoming more competitive overseas. A net balance of 18% of small businesses now expect to see export growth over the next three months.

With the uncertainty around Brexit negotiations set to continue over the next two years, the role of small businesses in the UK economy will be vitally important. Policy makers are being encouraged to support the sector, and the recent announcement that the British Business Bank will be lending an additional £40 million to small businesses through Funding Circle will be fantastic news for owners looking to borrow.

While numerous challenges remain, we’re excited to see small business owners feeling positive about the year ahead, and look forward to helping them capitalise on the new opportunities it brings.

If you’re hoping to expand your business this year or would like extra finance to help with working capital, you can check your eligibility for a loan at fundingcircle.com/businesses.

What a start to the year! | Weekly Lending Review

Week 2: 9 – 13 January

It’s been a busy start to the year at Funding Circle, as the government-owned British Business Bank committed an additional £40 million to UK businesses and last week we were excited to announce we’ve raised a further £80 million to invest in building our technology platform. Read more about this and other updates on the blog.

New loans available to you

There are currently 11 loan requests on the marketplace, and thousands of loan parts available for you to buy which will help you become diversified.

The total value of new loans listed on the Funding Circle marketplace was £19,936,835, averaging at £78,877 per loan. The largest loan value was £615,720 and the smallest loan value was £5,150.

Business loans available to bid on:

Gross interest rates are before fees and bad debts. Your actual return may be higher or lower as by lending to businesses, your capital is at risk.

Weekly marketplace trends

These graphs show the most recent activity on the marketplace.

The average gross yield graph is reported weekly and shows a rolling two week average of gross yields. This calculation assumes you reinvest your interest each month and therefore includes the compound interest you earn (The calculation is AGY = (1 + (two week rolling weighted average rate/12))^12 – 1). You can view the latest gross interest rates accepted on the marketplace on our statistics page.

Weekly average gross yield (2 weeks rolling)

WLR 2-17 yield

Number of loans, value of loans and amount lent are reported weekly.

Number of listed loans per week

WLR 2-17 loans listed

Listed loan value per week

WLR 2-17 loan value

Total amount lent

WLR 2-17 amount lent

Loan parts available to buy from other investors

WLR 2-17 loan parts

Loans defaulted last week

Flooring shop. Loan 26083. Risk band D

This Northamptonshire business was established in 2011 and has ceased trading.

Energy assessors. Loan 15575. Risk band C

This Glamorganshire business has been running since 2008 and is being placed into liquidation.

Business development specialist. Loan 16980. Risk band A+

This Essex business was established in 2007 and is 3 months in arrears.

Roofing company. Loan 7304. Risk band C

This Bristol business has been running since 2011 and has proposed a payment plan.

Couriers. Loan 10341. Risk band B

This Kent business was established in 2009 and is entering liquidation.

Management consultancy. Loan 13690. Risk band B

This Birmingham business has been running since 2012 and is 3 months in arrears.

Farm. Loan 11030. Risk band B

This County Armagh business has become unresponsive after missing repayments.

Turnkey specialist. Loan 20636. Risk band A+

This Suffolk business was established in 2012 and is 2 months in arrears.

Digital marketing agency. Loan 9900. Risk band A+

This Norfolk business has been running since 2009 and is 2 months in arrears.

Benefits of diversification

Lending to businesses can deliver attractive returns, while helping businesses access the finance they need to grow. However, from time-to-time some businesses will be unable to repay their loan, which is why lending a small amount to lots of different businesses is so important. Watch our 90 second diversification video below to find out more.

Our collections and recoveries team are working to recover the outstanding amounts for all of the loans described above and they will provide you with updates in the loan comments section on your summary page. Read how our collections and recoveries process works (part one and part two) on our blog.

Enjoy lending, the Funding Circle team

 

Teasdale Motorcycles triple turnover thanks to Funding Circle investors

Andy Walker, founder of Teasdale Motorcycles, has had a passion for bikes his entire life. His dad first introduced him to the wonders of motorcycles when he was young and he quickly grew to adore the freedom of roaming around the country on a bike of his own. Andy realised that he could turn his passion into a career, spend his days surrounded by bikes as a profession.

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In 2003, Andy founded Teasdale Motorcycles, which has since become one of the largest dealerships in North East England, operating as an official franchise for Derbi, TGB, Aprilia and Moto Guzzi. They also expanded their product offering to include bike clothing and repair services. Teasdale is now a one-stop-shop for motor enthusiasts all over the North of England

To help the business expand, Andy borrowed £167,000 through Funding Circle from thousands of investors. Since then, Teasdale have boosted sales through a new website and expanded into much bigger premises. Being able to expand the business when the time was right means that turnover has since tripled, with the team growing by 10!

In this short video, meet Andy and find out more about Andy’s passion for bikes and his experience of borrowing from Funding Circle investors.

 

Are you interested in lending to businesses like Teasdale Motorcycles?

Lend alongside 55,000 investors and support small businesses across the UK by signing up online today. You can use our investor information guide to help you get started and there are thousands of loans which you can be a part of, making it quick and easy to build a diversified portfolio. Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

Looking to expand your business?

More than 19,000 businesses in the UK have accessed finance from Funding Circle, helping with cash flow, refurbishment, hiring staff and much more. You can check if you qualify for a business loan online in just 30 seconds.

Funding Circle raises further £80 million in equity funding

We’re excited to announce that we have raised a further £80 million in equity capital, which will allow us to continue to invest in building a technology platform that delivers the best customer experience to investors and borrowers across the world.

This investment was led by Accel, alongside existing Funding Circle investors including Baillie Gifford, DST Global, Index Ventures and Temasek. It follows a ~£100 million investment in 2015, and means that Funding Circle is now the best capitalised small business direct lending platform in the world.

You can read the full press release in our media centre. We’re also delighted that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was able to provide a statement on today’s news:

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, said: “Funding Circle has become a real success story for British Fintech and news that it has attracted £80 million of investment is further evidence of the growing importance of this industry. This is another vote of confidence in a UK firm that plays an important role in our economy – helping businesses to grow and create jobs.”

This new investment follows a successful 2016 for investors lending through Funding Circle. Over the past 12 months, investors have lent over £1.1 billion globally to small businesses globally, with approximately £400 million lent in the last three months alone, a record-breaking amount for any small business direct lending platform. The last quarter also saw Funding Circle UK reach profitability. By lending directly to small businesses looking for finance, you are helping to create jobs and lead the way in building a better financial world.

We’re expecting 2017 to be another year of growth, and we will continue to invest in providing retail investors like you with an even better lending experience. You can expect to see some exciting improvements over the next 12 months, so watch this space!

Enjoy lending,

The Funding Circle team

Look round 14 new family homes | Weekly Lending Review

Week 1: 3 – 6 January

Last month, we met property specialist Richard Southgate who borrowed £1.2 million to build 14 new family homes in the West Midlands. Meet Richard, take a tour of the site and find out why  investors Pat and Dave lend to businesses through Funding Circle in this short video.

New loans available to you

There are currently 9 loan requests on the marketplace, and thousands of loan parts available for you to buy which will help you become diversified.

The total value of new loans listed on the Funding Circle marketplace was £17,690,668, averaging at £79,885 per loan. The largest loan value was £525,046 and the smallest loan value was £5,225.

Business loans available to bid on:

Gross interest rates are before fees and bad debts. Your actual return may be higher or lower as by lending to businesses, your capital is at risk.

Weekly marketplace trends

These graphs show the most recent activity on the marketplace.

The average gross yield graph is reported weekly and shows a rolling two week average of gross yields. This calculation assumes you reinvest your interest each month and therefore includes the compound interest you earn (The calculation is AGY = (1 + (two week rolling weighted average rate/12))^12 – 1). You can view the latest gross interest rates accepted on the marketplace on our statistics page.

Weekly average gross yield (2 weeks rolling)

WLR 17-1 yield

Number of loans, value of loans and amount lent are reported weekly.

Number of listed loans per week

 WLR 17-1 loans listed

Listed loan value per week

 WLR 17-1 loan value

Total amount lent

 WLR 17-1 amount lent

Loan parts available to buy from other investors

 WLR 17-1 loan parts

News you should know

To be in with a chance of winning £1,000 cash prize, enter the Moneywise Customer Service Awards 2017 today. The awards gives you the opportunity to showcase financial providers you rate most highly, based on customer service experience, and we’d really appreciate your vote.

Loans defaulted last week

Retail display specialist. Loan 1617. Risk band C

This Surrey business was established in 2007 and has organised a meeting of creditors.

Medical consultants. Loan 3786. Risk band C

This Warwickshire business has been running since 2005 and is 3 months in arrears.

Shop. Loan 17383. Risk band D

This Oxfordshire business was established in 2010 and has become unresponsive after missing a repayment.

Plumber. Loan 23263. Risk band C

This Monmouthshire business has been running since 2003 and is being placed into liquidation.

Developers. Loan 11152. Risk band A+

This West Lothian business was established in 2008 and has become unresponsive after missing repayments.

Logistics business. Loan 5892. Risk band A+

This Essex business has been running since 2010 and is being placed into liquidation.

Builder. Loan 11656. Risk band C

This Lancashire business was established in 1997 and is being placed into liquidation.

Manufacturer. Loan 20283. Risk band B

This Manchester business has been running since 2009 and has become unresponsive after missing repayments.

Cleaners. Loan 5857. Risk band A

This West Midlands business was established in 2005 and is being placed into liquidation.

Consultancy. Loan 19846. Risk band A+

This Cumbria business has been running since 2011 and is 3 months in arrears.

Lighting specialist. Loan 14977. Risk band D

This East Sussex business was established in 2009 and has ceased trading.

Medical consultants. Loan 3786. Risk band C

This Warwickshire business has been running since 2005 and is 3 months in arrears.

Metal manufacturer. Loan 9376. Risk band D

This West Midland business was established in 1962 and is being placed into administration.

Window cleaners. Loan 11245. Risk band B

This Sheffield business has been running since 2005 and is over 90 days late.

Benefits of diversification

Lending to businesses can deliver attractive returns, while helping businesses access the finance they need to grow. However, from time-to-time some businesses will be unable to repay their loan, which is why lending a small amount to lots of different businesses is so important. Watch our 90 second diversification video below to find out more.

Our collections and recoveries team are working to recover the outstanding amounts for all of the loans described above and they will provide you with updates in the loan comments section on your summary page. Read how our collections and recoveries process works (part one and part two) on our blog.

Enjoy lending, the Funding Circle team

Grow your business with Funding Circle in 2017

The new year has arrived packed with possibilities, and we’re here to help kick-start your 2017. It’s going to be a record-breaking year! If your clients have big plans and want to get started right away, check their eligibility online in just 30 seconds.

2016 was a very exciting year as we helped more than 8,000 UK businesses access over £850 million, and saw 50% year on year growth in introduced businesses. You and other introducers are now helping your clients access tens of millions every month through Funding Circle, and we’re keen to grow that figure further in 2017.

Unsecured loans now up to £350,000 for a wide range of business purposes

We can help established and creditworthy businesses, including limited companies, limited liability partnerships (LLPs) and non-limited companies, with at least 2 years of filed or formally prepared accounts access up to £350,000 unsecured, with a personal guarantee. These highly flexible loans can be used for a wide range of business purposes, from working capital to expansion capital, asset purchase and much more.

Get in touch with your Business Development Manager to find out more or get an instant quote for your client online today. Please note if you introduce businesses to Funding Circle and are also an active investor you must use the Autobid tool to lend your money.

What does fintech really mean? A quick look back at 2016

In this short video, find out how bringing together the very best of finance and technology is helping small businesses power the UK economy, hear personal highlights from members of the team and particularly why 2017 is set to be an exceptional year:

Partner with Funding Circle

Our dedicated team work with hundreds of introducers, including commercial finance brokers, financial advisors, corporate partners and accountants. If you haven’t yet tried Funding Circle but have clients who are looking for fast, flexible finance, why not register now to check their eligibility or log back in to your account to start submitting more deals.

Happy 2017! | Weekly Lending Review

Week 52: 27 – 30 December

Happy New Year! Thanks to your lending, more than 9,900 UK businesses accessed over £800 million through Funding Circle in 2016, in comparison to just over £530 million in 2015.

To put those fantastic figures into context, a report published in 2016 calculated that since 2010 Funding Circle investors have helped:

  • boost economic activity (measured by GVA) by £2.7 billion
  • create over 40,000 jobs
  • build approximately 2,200 family homes

This shows the measurable impact your lending is now having on the UK economy.

Looking ahead to 2017, there are plenty of businesses for you to lend to so keep your eye on the marketplace over the coming days and weeks for lots more lending opportunities.  Thank you for your continued support.

New loans available to you

There are currently 17 loan requests on the marketplace, and thousands of loan parts available for you to buy which will help you become diversified.

The total value of new loans listed on the Funding Circle marketplace was £5,669,434, averaging at £81,314 per loan. The largest loan value was £434,740 and the smallest loan value was £5,125.

Business loans available to bid on:

Gross interest rates are before fees and bad debts. Your actual return may be higher or lower as by lending to businesses, your capital is at risk.

Weekly marketplace trends

These graphs show the most recent activity on the marketplace.

The average gross yield graph is reported weekly and shows a rolling two week average of gross yields. This calculation assumes you reinvest your interest each month and therefore includes the compound interest you earn (The calculation is AGY = (1 + (two week rolling weighted average rate/12))^12 – 1). You can view the latest gross interest rates accepted on the marketplace on our statistics page.

Weekly average gross yield (2 weeks rolling)

WLR 52 yield

Number of loans, value of loans and amount lent are reported weekly.

Number of listed loans per week

WLR loans listed 52

Listed loan value per week

WLR loan value 52

Total amount lent

WLR amount lent 52

Loan parts available to buy from other investors

WLR loan parts 52

News you should know

The government-owned British Business Bank is now lending a further £40 million directly to small businesses through Funding Circle. Read the announcement to find out more.

There were no loans defaulted over Christmas week

Enjoy lending, the Funding Circle team

British Business Bank lends further £40m to small businesses

The government-owned British Business Bank will today begin lending a further £40 million directly to small businesses through the Funding Circle platform. This follows an initial £40 million investment by the British Business Bank in 2014, and a £20 million investment made by the UK government in 2013 through the Business Finance Partnership.

The British Business Bank aims to support economic growth by increasing choice of finance for small and medium sized businesses. Over 10,000 businesses have benefited from the combined £60 million in lending to date, supporting the creation of an estimated 30,000 jobs*. Since March 2013 over £5 million in interest, after fees and bad debt, has been earned on behalf of the UK taxpayer.

Before we launched in 2010, small businesses were reliant on a small number of high street banks for finance. Over the past six years, a diverse range of investors have for the first time been able to lend directly to these businesses.

The British Business Bank is lending alongside 55,000 people, local councils, financial institutions and the European Investment Bank. To date, you have lent over £1.7 billion to more than 18,000 UK small businesses, providing a £2.7 billion boost to the UK economy.* This new commitment is recognition of the success of the programme to date, and the role investors lending through Funding Circle are playing in supporting the backbone of the British economy.

How will the British Business Bank lend on the platform?

The British Business Bank will continue to lend directly through the partial loan marketplace to UK businesses that meet their lending criteria. The bank will lend on the same terms as other investors in the loan.

Over the past few months you have lent to a record-breaking number of small businesses, with over £300 million lent in the last quarter of 2016. We expect 2017 to be another year of growth, with significantly more lending opportunities for investors than in previous years. To help meet this demand, the British Business Bank will increase the proportion they lend to each eligible business from 10% to 20% ‒ similar to when the UK government first began lending through Funding Circle through the Business Finance Partnership. This will allow more loans to be listed to the partial loan marketplace, resulting in a wider range of businesses for you to lend to and to diversify across.

The proportion the British Business Bank lends on each eligible loan may change in future, however it will not exceed 20% of any one loan. You can read more about the British Business Bank’s involvement in our FAQs.

If you have any questions about today’s news, please get in touch.

Enjoy lending,

The Funding Circle team

* Source: ‘Small Business, Big Impact’ research, Cebr, 2016

Take 10: 5 top tips for hiring and retaining talent

Quick and simple ways to boost your business in just 10 minutes

For the latest in our Take 10 series, we’re looking at how to hire and retain the best employees to help progress your business in 2017.

Talent

We all know that staff turnover costs business owners time and productivity. However, most businesses don’t regularly calculate the cost of losing good staff. ‘The Cost of Brain Drain’ report by Oxford Economics concluded that the loss of an employee earning £25,000 a year or more costs a business on average £30,000. This significant figure includes all the logistic costs of finding a new worker and the impact of getting them up to speed.

It may seem obvious, but a key way to retain good staff is making sure you find the right person for a particular role when hiring. This should be someone who’s technically capable, but is also a good cultural fit for your business. It’s said to be particularly important to have employees with social intelligence in a small business; people who are able to navigate social situations and work well with others, remembering that lots of practical skills required for a job can be learnt.

Once you’ve found the best candidates, however, there are simple measures you can take to ensure your workforce remain happy and productive. Below, we’ve set out just some of the ways you could make this happen for your business:

1)    Having a clear business mission can help foster loyalty

Having a clear business mission and making sure your employees know their part in achieving this goal is a good way to keep people mentally and emotionally tied to your company. For example, if you run a chocolate factory, your overall mission might be producing top quality chocolate but you need your workforce to collaborate and produce an extra 500 boxes a month in 2017 to increase turnover.

Small business employees, in particular, tend to have a breadth of responsibilities so it’s important to communicate exactly what a job entails and what you need or expect from your staff. Setting achievable goals can help employees feel satisfied whilst keeping your business on track to reaching your overarching goal.

These goals will also help you reward employees who do a good job either by recognising their achievements publicly or in terms of a monetary reward, for example a bonus scheme or salary increase, to keep staff motivated. Many businesses also reward staff loyalty by giving those who meet performance goals and work for a number of years at the business extra holiday for example.

2)    Finding out why your employees like working for you can help you focus

You may think that your workforce is happy, but unless you ask them you can’t be certain you know exactly why they like working for you – it may not be exactly what you expect! Conducting employee surveys, or simply asking employees what motivates them at work and what they like or dislike, is a good way to understand what makes your business a good place to work. It can also help you cultivate a good working environment, and make simple changes which could have a big impact. It’s important to remember, however, that some employees may feel happy giving feedback in person whereas others might prefer filling in a short survey.

Contributing to the future of the business by taking part in a feedback initiative will give your employees a sense of ownership and responsibility, and will help foster loyalty. Talking to your employees on a regular basis can also help make sure your business is adaptable should circumstances change and will ensure you can all work to the same new goal.

3)    Clear career development structures can help boost morale and productivity

Are your employees aware of the development opportunities and training you are willing to offer to further their careers? Outlining your approach to career development and giving employees a clear path to advancement is a good way to help boost morale and productivity.

This could be making sure your managers spend time coaching employees, which will help good performers while minimising poor performance, or sending employees on external training courses which could benefit both you and them. For example, if you run a cafe and your top employee wants to go on a nutrition course think about how you might be able to use this new skill set to benefit your business.

Promoting from within is also a good way to boost morale and reward your best workers. Although in some circumstances you may need certain skills or a fresh approach to a particular project which can come with an external hire, where possible giving your staff opportunities to progress internally can help motivate all your employees. The challenge will be ensuring you build up a pipeline of employees suitable for promotion.

4)    Offering competitive benefits can help show you care about your employees

Following the Pensions Act 2008, businesses must now have a pension scheme and contribute to employees pensions. However, offering additional benefits such as health insurance, for example, can help give you the edge when hiring employees and research shows it will also result in reducing the time your workers are off sick.

Other perks you could consider include offering flextime or allowing your staff to work from home if appropriate. These types of benefits can go a long way to showing you’re willing to accommodate your employees outside lives and will empower them.

5)    Everyone loves a freebie!

Whether it’s free fruit in the office, breakfast on your boss once a month, a couple of beers on a Friday afternoon or being able to have their online shopping parcels delivered to the office, small gestures, which don’t necessarily have to be a significant financial expense to your business, show that you care and want to help your employees manage their lives. Your employees will appreciate the gesture and these small acts could help keep them happy and healthy, which will ultimately benefit your bottom line.

These are just 5 ways you could motivate and maintain your workforce. As mentioned however, small business employees and their owners often have lots of responsibilities, so once your business reaches a certain size it’s worth considering hiring a human-resources specialist to oversee and streamline your employee structure and processes. This could take a load off of you and will ensure your employees are treated fairly.

We hope you found this post useful. In the next instalment of Take 10, we’ll be looking at reputation management.

The Funding Circle team

Your Funding Circle Guide to Christmas 2016 – Pt 4

Another Christmas has come and gone, and we’ve all had a great time seeing family and friends, singing carols, and eating our body weight in turkey and chocolates. The big day may now be over, but we hope you’re still very much in the holiday mood. In our guide so far we’ve already looked at ideas for presents, Christmas supplies, and stocking fillers. Now for the final part we’re showcasing ideas from our marketplace for amazing things to do over the rest of the holiday season.

Christmas activities

Wookey Caves & Winter Wonderland

Are you looking for a seasonal spectacular to cap off your holidays? Alongside their world famous caves, at Wookey Hole in Somerset you can pay Santa a visit at their Winter Wonderland. With live reindeer, a Christmas Circus show, and a 4D theatre, you can really have a trip to remember. To open up new caves and help with working capital, Wookey Caves borrowed £260,000 in 2015.

Butterfly Jungle Experience

Leave winter behind with a trip to The Butterfly Jungle Experience at Hall Place in Kent. You can walk among the free flying butterflies and exotic flowers in this slice of rainforest, learning about their lifecycle and observing them at their special feeding stations. With hundreds of butterflies to see, this is a experience to remember for all the family. To expand into new premises, Butterfly Jungles borrowed £50,000 from Funding Circle in 2016.

Xtreme Karting

If you’re after a more high octane day out, then Xtreme Karting could be the one for you. Based in Edinburgh and Falkirk, they offer both junior and adult karting as well as simulated combat experiences, so there’s plenty of adrenaline pumping action to wake you up from your food coma! Xtreme Karting used Funding Circle to help grow their business.

Kidz About Play Park

If the kids are getting restless and you’ve gone through all your favourite Disney films four times already, why not take them out to Kidz About Play Park in Swindon? They can play on the giant play frame and bouncy castle assault course, plus there’s a separate section for babies and toddlers. Kidz About borrowed £95,000 over two loans to invest in a new adventure golf course.

Are you interested in lending to businesses like these?

Lend alongside 55,000 investors and support small businesses across the UK by signing up online today.

You can use our investor information guide to help you get started and there are thousands of loans which you can be a part of, making it quick and easy to build a diversified portfolio. Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

Looking to expand your business?

We’ve helped more than 19,000 businesses access finance for a range of finance needs, including hiring staff, opening new shops and working capital. Get your instant quote today.

Enjoy lending. The Funding Circle team

Your last minute stocking fillers sorted | Weekly Lending Review

Week 50: 12 – 16 December

In the run up to December 25th we’ve been showcasing presents, food, drinks and decorations from Funding Circle borrowers. This week we’ve put together a list of last minute stocking fillers to help make your Christmas extra special.

This will be the last weekly lending review of 2016: we’ll be back in touch in the week commencing 3rd January. We hope you all have a nice break!

New loans available to you

There are currently 10 loan requests on the marketplace, and thousands of loan parts available for you to buy which will help you become diversified.

The total value of new loans listed on the Funding Circle marketplace was £25,184,678, averaging at £76,895 per loan. The largest loan value was £555,240 and the smallest loan value was £5,100.

Business loans available to bid on:

Gross interest rates are before fees and bad debts. Your actual return may be higher or lower as by lending to businesses, your capital is at risk.

Weekly marketplace trends

These graphs show the most recent activity on the marketplace.

The average gross yield graph is reported weekly and shows a rolling two week average of gross yields. This calculation assumes you reinvest your interest each month and therefore includes the compound interest you earn (The calculation is AGY = (1 + (two week rolling weighted average rate/12))^12 – 1). You can view the latest gross interest rates accepted on the marketplace on our statistics page.

Weekly average gross yield (2 weeks rolling)

WLR 50 - yield

Number of loans, value of loans and amount lent are reported weekly.

Number of listed loans per week

 WLR 50 loans listed

Listed loan value per week

 WLR 50 loan value

Total amount lent

 WLR 50 amount lent

Loan parts available to buy from other investors

 WLR 50 loan parts

Loans defaulted last week

Meat wholesaler. Loan 25031. Risk band B

This London business was established in 2012 and a petition has been registered.

Plant hire. Loan 4157. Risk band A+

This Ayrshire business has been running since 2006 and has been placed into liquidation.

Car showroom. Loan 8016. Risk band D

This South Yorkshire business was established in 2002 and is three months in arrears.

Pub. Loan 10516. Risk band D

This Cheshire business has been running since 2015 and is four months in arrears.

Builders. Loan 8610. Risk band D

This Somerset business was established in 2009 and has ceased trading.

Care Home. Loan 2380. Risk band A

This Lancashire business was established in 2005 and is three months in arrears.

Management consultants. Loan 4244. Risk band B

This Lancashire business has been running since 2005 and is four months in arrears.

Pet shop. Loan 7932. Risk band D

This West Midlands business was established in 1995 and has become unresponsive after missing repayments.

Designers. Loan 17753. Risk band E

This Somerset business has been running since 2003 and is three months in arrears.

Skip hire. Loan 12628. Risk band C

This North Wales business is three months in arrears.

Machinery suppliers. Loan 7257. Risk band C

This South Yorkshire business was established in 2010 and are three months in arrears.

Property developers. Loan 25075. Risk band A+

This Lancashire business was established in 2010 and has become unresponsive after missing repayments.

Construction company. Loan 26857. Risk band D

This Monmouthshire business was established in 2013 and has ceased trading.

Property maintenance contractor. Loan 20845. Risk band D

This Monmouthshire business was established in 2013 and has ceased trading.

Restaurant. Loan 5742. Risk band D

This Cheshire business was established in 2010 and has been dissolved.

Benefits of diversification

Lending to businesses can deliver attractive returns, while helping businesses access the finance they need to grow. However, from time-to-time some businesses will be unable to repay their loan, which is why lending a small amount to lots of different businesses is so important. Watch our 90 second diversification video below to find out more.

Our collections and recoveries team are working to recover the outstanding amounts for all of the loans described above and they will provide you with updates in the loan comments section on your summary page. Read how our collections and recoveries process works (part one and part two) on our blog.

Enjoy lending, the Funding Circle team

Your Funding Circle Guide to Christmas 2016 – Pt 3

A quick look at the advent calendar tells us that the main event is now only days away — where did December go?? Hopefully you’ve been getting stuck into the mince pies and mulled wine, and have already sorted everything for your Christmas holiday. We’ve been helping out with suggestions for presents as well as food, drink and decorations, but if you’ve still got some shopping left to do, this week we’ll be sharing some great ideas from our marketplace for last minute stocking fillers.

Christmas stocking fillers

Psychobabel & Skoob Books

We all have at least one friend who loves to read, the one who’s already read every suggestion you’ve ever given them. Now you can surprise them with one of the rare books from Psychobabel & Skoob. They have over 110,000 rare, used, and out of print books in their London store and available online, so you can find a truly unique gift this Christmas. Psychobabel & Skoob borrowed £25,000 from Funding Circle to improve their warehouse facilities and online ordering.

Crocodile Toy Shop

Whether it’s Lego, a magic set, or your new favourite stuffed penguin, opening up new toys on Christmas morning is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Cirencester’s Crocodile Toy Shop has been supporting play times for over 30 years, and they could help you find that missing piece for the stocking this Christmas. To help improve stock levels, Crocodile Toy Shop has borrowed £150,000 over two loans from Funding Circle.

Nothing But Tea

Coming in from the cold to a warming brew is one of winter’s great pleasures, so why not up your game with a delightful box of loose leaf tea from Nothing But Tea? The family-run tea shop have a wealth of experience in tea and stock over 200 different types! We’d recommend their Dessert Tea Collection, which includes a Rooibos Creme Brulee, Pear Marzipan Tart and a Honeybush Chocolate Cake tea. To increase stock levels to ensure prompt service, Nothing But Tea borrowed £10,000 in February 2011.

Farm & Pet Place

Is your cat lord of the household? Do you love your dog more than your in-laws? If so, you need to make sure they don’t miss out this Christmas. Farm & Pet Place have a huge range of pet toys and treats, as well as equine, agriculture and garden ware, so you can give your animals some extra love this year. Farm & Pet Place borrowed £215,000 to refurbish their flagship store in Abergele.

Swagger & Swoon

Do you know a man who prides himself on looking sharp? Whether he’d love something for his carefully sculpted beard or his ever growing range of dashing cravats, Swagger & Swoon can help you out. They’ve been supplying high quality men’s accessories and grooming products for 12 years, and are taking online Christmas orders up until 22nd December! To expand their product range and improve their online experience, Swagger & Swoon borrowed £10,000 from Funding Circle in 2016.

That’s all for this week. Next up on our guide we’ll be showcasing ideas for great things to do over the Christmas holiday.

Are you interested in lending to businesses like these?

Lend alongside 55,000 investors and support small businesses across the UK by signing up online today.

You can use our investor information guide to help you get started and there are thousands of loans which you can be a part of, making it quick and easy to build a diversified portfolio. Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

Looking to expand your business?

We’ve helped more than 19,000 businesses access finance for a range of finance needs, including hiring staff, opening new shops and working capital. Get your instant quote today.

Enjoy lending. The Funding Circle team

Highlights from 2016

As the new year approaches, we wanted to take a moment to share with you some of our highlights from an incredible 2016.

Together, you have now helped over 24,000 businesses access nearly £2.4 billion across the UK, US, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands. In the UK alone, you have lent £725 million to over 8,000 businesses in 2016.

We have connected with our colleagues from across the US and Europe to bring you this short video. You’ll be able to hear from members of the team, their personal highlights and some of the borrowers you may have lent to.

 

From everyone at Funding Circle, we would like to wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year, and thank you for helping to build a better financial world.

Enjoy lending,

The Funding Circle team