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FAQs

About Clear Idea Finance

What does Clear Idea Finance do?


Clear Idea Finance is a commercial financial advisory and broking business. We help business owners, entrepreneurs and property investors/developers find the finance they need to grow their business, fund a new project and achieve their business goals.




Does Clear Idea charge an upfront fee?


No. We are always happy to have an initial conversation with a potential client or introducer, with no cost involved. This is a fact-finding conversation, during which the client would explain the business or project requiring funding. We will then provide our preliminary thoughts on which form of financing is most suitable, and the likelihood of finding a lender willing to provide it.




Is Clear Idea Finance a lender?


No. Clear Idea Finance is a commercial finance advisor and broker. We are an intermediary between our client (the borrower) and the bank or other finance provider (the lender). Based on your funding requirements, we will advise on the most appropriate form of financing, and will approach potential lenders on your behalf. Clear Idea will manage the whole process for you, liaising with the lender and all relevant parties. We will keep you updated throughout the whole process.




Will Clear Idea help me through the application process?


Yes – this is what we do! If a client wants to work with Clear Idea, they will formally instruct us. We will complete the application for finance, and will help you to prepare to all the necessary information and documents. Different lenders require different information, but Clear Idea will ensure that your application is presented in the best way possible. Doing this will maximise your chances of being approved for the finance. One of Clear Idea’s unique capabilities is that we can help our clients put together a convincing business plan and even build a financial model with financial projections, depending on the transaction and the lender’s requirements.




Does Clear Idea operate across the country?


Yes. We’re based in Ipswich, Suffolk, but we work with clients, introducers and lenders across the UK.




What experience does Clear Idea have in commercial finance?


Clear Idea’s management has decades of experience in banking and finance. After graduating with an Economics degree from Cambridge University, Richard, our Managing Director, spent more than 25 years in banking and finance. Richard worked at Barclays Bank for 12 years and was a director at Barclays Investment Bank in London and Hong Kong for almost 10 years.





Becoming an Introducer

What is an Introducer?


An introducer is a business or individual who has a client or contact who is looking for commercial finance. Introducers are typically professional services firms such as accountants, financial advisors/IFAs, solicitors and surveyors, mortgage brokers, estate agents, auction houses, or anyone else with clients or contacts looking for commercial finance. Click here if you're interested in becoming an introducer for Clear Idea Finance.




How do I become an Introducer for Clear Idea?


First, get in touch with us! Email us here: partners@clearideafinance.com or complete this contact form to get in touch. Alternatively, give us a call on 01473 598132 (Ipswich) or 020 8064 0888 (London).




As an Introducer, how can Clear Idea benefit me?


If you’re a professional services firm or provider, such as an accountant, financial advisor/IFA, solicitor/surveyor, mortgage broker or estate agent, then we can help you to help your clients to find the commercial finance they need. Being able to help your clients will clearly help your relationship with your client. Clear Idea also pays industry-leading referral commissions to our introducer partners. This can generate a significant recurring revenue stream.





Commercial Finance Products

What is the difference between a secured and unsecured business loan?


The main difference is that a secured loan is connected to an asset that you will own, for example, an expensive piece of machinery or commercial premises. This asset can be repossessed by the lender if you default on the loan. An unsecured business loan isn't tied to or protected by any collateral, so if you default on the loan, the lender can't automatically take your property. We work with 40+ unsecured loan providers so enquire today if you think this could be the right financing solution for you.




Is invoice finance the same as discounting and factoring?


Well, not quite. Invoice financing is also known as invoice discounting, but it isn't quite the same thing as invoice factoring. The main difference between factoring and invoice financing / discounting is who collects on the unpaid invoices. With invoice finance, you will retain control of collecting payments from your clients or customers; however, with factoring, the lender (or factoring company) effectively buys your unpaid invoices from you and takes over payment collections.




Are CBILS and BBLS still running?


No, not since 1st April 2021, when the CBILS and BBLS schemes were replaced by the Recovery Loan Scheme, which started on 6th April 2021. Speak to our expert advisers if you'd like more information about these government-backed loan schemes.




Can I apply for a commercial mortgage for a buy-to-let property?


Yes, absolutely! Commercial mortgages are available for Buy-to-Let (BTL) properties. Almost any property that isn’t your personal residence can be used as security for a commercial mortgage loan and you can use the loan to purchase property (including for BTL), refinance an existing loan or for commercial property development.




Can I use asset financing to lease equipment and machinery?


Yes. Asset finance can be used to lease equipment (or any other physical asset) as well as buy it. As long as you can show that you need the equipment / machinery to run or expand your business, the financing should be approved. If you're not sure if this is the right solution for you, contact us today for a free, no-obligation chat about your business and its financing needs.




Can I use my business's existing assets to secure a commercial loan?


Yes, you can also use asset finance to raise capital by releasing cash that’s tied up in the value of your physical assets, including commercial property, equipment, machinery, etc
. This is also known as asset-backed finance or asset refinancing, but as you'll be using your existing assets as security for the loan, it's very important that you find the right lender and get the best deal for your requirements. If in doubt, it's always best to work with an expert, independent commercial finance broker / adviser – like Clear Idea! Get in touch today to discuss your business borrowing options.





Is a merchant cash advance (MCA) the same as invoice discounting?


No, not really. A merchant cash advance (MCA) is a fairly new commercial financing product and is aimed at retailers (merchants) that take card payments from their customers. The card terminal itself is where the financing is secured and repayments made, rather than via an outstanding debt, as is the case with invoice financing. MCAs are very flexible and innovative so if you're a retailer and you'd like to find out if it might be the right business funding solution for you, please get in touch with our expert, independent advisers today to arrange a free, no-obligation chat.




Can I get a bridging loan for a property I want to buy at auction?


Yes, that's why a bridging loan is sometimes known as auction finance. Bridging is intended as short-term finance when other forms of borrowing are not available, therefore, it's often a popular funding solution for property investors who have purchased a property at auction and need to complete the purchase within a short timeframe. There may be other forms of commercial financing that would be better suited to your needs, so if you're planning to make a purchase of this nature, speak to our commercial credit experts first to ensure you've received the best advice.




Can I use acquisition finance to buy another business?


Yes, acquisition finance can be used to fund mergers, buy-outs and takeovers. Acquisition financing comes in many forms and is often pieced together via multiple sources. Our expert business finance advisers are here to help you navigate this complex process and will ensure you achieve the best finance structure for your specific requirements. Speak to us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.





Need more answers?

We're here to help. Contact us by phone, email or via social media.

Client case studies

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Featured case study: Coffee shop

We were approached by an established coffee shop business with 4 sites in Cardiff who needed £150,000 to complete ongoing refurbishment to two of their premises which began just before the first lockdown.

 

Due to the first lockdown, like most hospitality businesses they had suffered cashflow issues. They managed to get a bounce back loan from their main bank, but this was not enough to cover their upcoming refurbishment costs and accrued losses. Their main bank declined their CBILS application, but we managed to get the client a CBILS loan with an alternative provider in 9 days replacing their £50k bounce back loan and giving them £100k to use as working capital.