Finance options for smaller businesses


Explore your finance options with The Business Finance Guide – a journey from start-up to growth. This guide has been devised for businesses and advisors by the British Business Bank and the ICAEW Corporate Finance Faculty, supported by a further 21 major professional, membership and representative organisations.

Access the Business Finance Guide

It is a unique guide that sets out the main things to consider and the finance options available to businesses – ranging from start-ups to SMEs and growing mid-sized companies.

The Business Finance Guide draws on the considerable expertise of its many contributors, who together represent more than a million members in businesses, finance providers and advisory firms and organisations.

Tools to help you consider your finance options

The guide also includes several tools and ideas to help businesses consider their finance options, make decisions and plan how they will finance expansion.

If you offer advice to business, and would like to use this guide as part of your business advice offering, please email info@british-business-bank.co.uk

The Business Finance Guide is also available in Welsh, downloadable from the Regional Support page of the Business Finance Guide website.

You can also tweet about the guide using the #bfguide2016 hashtag on Twitter.

The business finance guide - English version - guide to finance options

The English and Welsh language editions of the Business Finance Guide are downloadable from the Guide’s dedicated website. This resource also contains videos and additional content about finance options..

The business finance guide - Welsh version - guide to finance options

Finance Advice

Finance finder tools

The British Bankers Association’s Business Finance for You tool also provides a search function to businesses looking to raise finance from private sector sources, including many unlocked by the British Business Bank.

A new improved tool on the gov.uk website provides information on grants and schemes provided by the public sector.

For further advice on finance options for your business, please call the Business Support Helpline on 0300 456 3565, Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm. (Calls to 0300 numbers cost the same as calls to geographic numbers starting 01 or 02 and may be included as part of inclusive call minutes or discount schemes as defined by providers).

The Chartered Institute of Credit Management have produced a set of guides looking at all aspects of cash management .

If you are particularly interested in applying for equity finance, the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association has an online one-stop shop for venture capital and entrepreneurs.

If you are looking for finance to export, ICAEW have recently published ‘Competing in the Global Race’, a guide in association with UK Export Finance.

Advice and guides

The Business Finance Advice Scheme helps small and medium-sized enterprises find qualified accountants access high quality, independent, finance advice. You can find an expert finance adviser in your local area by searching the directories of the three participating accountancy bodies:

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW)

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS)

ICAS have also compiled a useful guide to starting a business in Scotland, which can be accessed on their website

HMRC also provide useful guides on topics related to business and investment on their web learning portal and website:

Starting your own business

Self-employed Business Expenses

Becoming an Employer

Investment Schemes

Other Advice

GREAT Business

The UK government provides a range of services and support for smaller businesses. The GREAT Business website provides details of what the government offers, as well as inspiration for growing your business.

GREAT Business

Business Banking Insight

The new and improved Business Banking Insight website aims to help over 5 million UK businesses to identify which bank is best for them and get the best possible service.

It provides SMEs with a clear and credible way to judge how their bank compares to its competitors and the finance options they offer.

Business Banking Insight