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How SMEs can fund technology plans for 2018

Technology is becoming increasingly integral to how SMEs operate and grow. However, this development comes at a price. Alternative finance has a key role to play in helping small businesses meet the costs.

Cybersecurity is probably the most important focus for small business owners in 2018. The data breaches that periodically make front-page news have made terrifyingly clear the vulnerabilities that exist and the consequences of insufficient protection. Notably, what is also clear is that the standard of SME cybersecurity needs improving. This is why investment in this area is vital.

An analysis of cybersecurity also brings data protection and GDPR compliance into the picture. Without the appropriate safeguards and protection, SMEs run the risk of losing out on business and taking a significant financial hit. This is another reason why small business owners will be spending on updating systems in the months ahead.

Switching focus, cloud computing is transforming how companies operate and work with clients and customers. As such, it is becoming increasingly necessary to embrace this technology so that the functions that it underpins can be fully exploited and the benefits enjoyed. Of course, this transformation and ensuring that this technology works reliably and well isn’t cheap.

This brings us back to a more basic technology-related issue for small business owners: superfast broadband and fibre ethernet technology. For businesses to truly benefit from new technology, connectivity has to be assured and high quality. As such, superfast broadband and fibre ethernet technology is another essential area of investment.

And of course, let’s not forget that small business owners have to spend in other areas as well. Policy-related costs such as those linked to business rates and compliance with pension auto-enrolment, living wage and apprenticeship legislation are also putting pressure on capital. Then there’s the Brexit-borne uncertainty affecting the market.

This is where alternative finance can help. With traditional lenders remaining largely cautious with regard to SME funding, it is vital that small business owners are aware of all the lending facilities available to them and can use them confidently. Services such as invoice finance, asset finance, peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding offer critical accessibility, affordability and flexibility.

This is how a company in West Sussex used peer-to-peer lending, through a Worthing-based commercial financial broker, to raise the finance to purchase new equipment.

Whether used independently or plugged into a broader financial planning strategy, alternative finance can help fund investment in new technology that provides both protection and the stimulus for new growth.

To find out more about A&T Business Associates services, contact Tony on 01903 602211 or tony@atbusinessassociates.co.uk.

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