"Gener8 are really good invoice finance providers because the listen and they’re flexible. No matter what we’re faced with, I know they"ll be there to support us with our cash flow every step of the way." Paul Ritchie – Foremost Security.
We work with small to medium-sized enterprises - everyone from start-ups to businesses with turnovers measured in £millions - to help them realize their ambitions. By freeing-up their cash flow, we help them achieve their business goals at a pace that truly reflects their abilities and potential.
We work with businesses in practically every sector: from wholesale distribution, automotive, professional services (including recruitment and design agencies), to manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, luxury goods, printing, FMCG, construction and beyond.
While no two businesses have the same requirements or receive identical finance solutions, each and every one can be certain of the same end-result – better, faster cash flow and the ability to drive growth at pace that suits them and their commercial aspirations.
"What's great about Gener8 is that with them, it's about more than just an unbending financial arrangement. I can ring up Dave Richards and chat about the latest football scores, or I can call him with a business related problem and ask him what I can do, and he'll be just as helpful."
I like what we get with them. I would recommend them to anyone - I do recommend them to everyone!"
With over a decade of experience as the Director of a company providing security services and personnel, Paul Ritchie of Foremost Security is familiar with the challenges associated with building and growing a business from the ground upwards. Historically, security companies have a difficult job of ensuring their cashflow remains smooth from one month to the next. Whilst staff members are typically paid weekly, clients are usually granted 30 days on their invoices from the end of the month, making invoice factoring an essential choice for any such companies wishing to prosper and grow in a difficult economic climate.
First established as Sawley Security in 1993, Foremost Security went through a complete brand overhaul in 2010, providing the perfect opportunity for Paul to assess how his finances were handled and how they could be improved. Larger financial organisations viewed Foremost as being new on paper, and so were unwilling to provide any flexibility in how funds were handled. "I always spoke to very nice people at the banks," said Paul when recollecting this difficult period, "but it's not the nice people you speak to who make the decisions. There's someone else on high calling the shots, and they couldn't understand that we already had the staffing and contacts of a well-established organisation."
Accommodating financial support
Paul was first attracted to Gener8 Finance because of their ability to be flexible in their initial arrangement, but was pleased to find that these characteristics weren't just a show put on to attract him in the first instance. In a short space of time, he found that Gener8 were willing and able to do what others wouldn't – or couldn't. When disaster struck unexpectedly and a large contract fell through just six months after the invoice finance arrangement was first established, Gener8 allowed time for Paul to find his feet and manoeuvre himself into a more stable position once again. Says Paul, "I know that larger financial institutions wouldn't have given us the same leeway. Gener8 were willing and able to help us out; they considered our financial needs more thoroughly than others and looked at our position sensibly from an on-going perspective."
"Gener8 really cares about smaller companies too," says Andy "and they don't force you to hand over control of your entire sales ledger like some of the institutionalised Invoice factoring companies do, which really makes a difference."
Victoria Litho produce everything from maps to brochures, magazines to super-sized posters. The family-run firm with decades of experience have had an excellent few years, mercifully shielded from the economic downturn by the nature of their business. With a huge amount of their business coming from the printing of promotional material for supermarkets, the recession has ensured a steady flow of work as clients using their services scramble to get ahead of the competition. But despite their 18-strong workforce turning over around £3 million annually, they're subject to the same 60 – 90 day payment terms that many print firms are faced with.
There's a lot to be said for family-run businesses. Andy took over the firm from his father, David Wilson, who originally chose to work with Gener8 Finance because of personal contact with David Richards, Gener8′s own Managing Director. The nature of small businesses is that they must be all the more clued up on which firms they choose to work with, particularly when it comes to cash flow. Whilst personal contacts in the business world are common, it's not always the case that you'd trust or choose them for your own business needs, so it's testament to Gener8′s solid business footing that they were chosen in such a manner.
Andy is certainly not a fan of more corporate financing companies, and it is quite understandable why. In a larger firm when something goes wrong, you can be handed from person to person and manager to manager. When you need an authoritative voice to give you an answer, it can be hard to know which chain of command you should pursue to get through to someone who knows you. With Gener8, Andy is confident that he always knows who to get in touch with, whether it's David Richards or any of his team. "They just make it so easy. It's a luxury to work with such a personal, flexible invoice discounting firm."
Victoria Litho invoice finance.
It's not surprising that there's little about the working relationship that Andy Wilson would change between Victoria Litho and Gener8 Finance. In assertive terms, he states that he's confident and reassured that Gener8 is working for the success of his business, sharing in the victories and being there to offer support in the more difficult times. “The only people I wouldn't recommend to Gener8 would be those with bad businesses – I wouldn't want to bring that upon Gener8!” admits Andy. It might seem an odd thing to say about a business that provides a professional invoice financing service, but it's further testament to the very personal way Gener8 and the people there treat their clients. They build strong relationships that last through both the good years and the bad, and that's certainly not something to be scoffed at.
"I couldn't express how good it is to work for them," he says, "I can't think of a way they could improve what they do. I'd recommend them to others with 10 out of 10, and that's not something I'd ever say lightly".
Taking titles away from the equation means that egos can't go mad, that nobody is categorised, and that everyone can be lifted and muck in wherever they're needed.” Clearly, this is a man who knows how to take the unconventional approach and make it work.
And work, it certainly has. David's birthright into leadership was formed in the recession of the 1980s at a previous company. After years of complaining about the top level management, he found himself promoted to a depot management position with a struggling yard. He had no choice but to immediately cut the workforce almost in half, axing 500 jobs to save 700. It was an extremely difficult time, but David managed to build up the morale of the remaining workforce by convincing them that if they could all work together to make the yard profitable, they would all have a future. The depot did a complete turnaround, running as one of the more successful arms of the parent company – but this brought its own flipside. David was called into the Chairman's office one afternoon to be congratulated personally; he was also informed that, due to the economic climate at the time, they would be selling the depot. Understandably, David could no longer persist in such a position. He completed his retainer period before exiting swiftly to form ACF Telehandlers with a philosophy to never repeat such grievous personal errors of judgement.
After a strong start, ACF Telehandlers faced its first challenge: the recession of the early 90s. But by now, David was experienced enough to know how to get through it. Despite seeing a 38% decrease in turnover, by 1993 they were clear and dry, and the company went from strength to strength in the years following it. By 2000, the company was in the enviable position of having a 10 million pound annual turnover. “But it wasn't fun any more,” explains David, “I wasn't looking forward to work in the way that I used to. I found myself spending as much time as I could on other hobbies, rather than on work as I'd done in the past. We knew something was wrong, and we knew something had to change.”
The direction David chose to move in was surprising. Against what most businesses would do, they scaled back ACF Telehandlers from the successful powerhouse it had become to a smaller, family-sized business once again. Rather than the mass cullings he'd performed in the past, David stayed true to his philosophy with a very gentle downsizing. He didn't renew contracts once they came to an end, and didn't recruit to fill old positions. By 2008, the company had reached an ideal size, balancing profitability with an exciting work culture. David built a successful workforce by meeting his workers on their level; he's just as likely to be found cleaning vehicles as he is working in the office. But, of course, 2008 was also when the most recent recession came into play.
ACF Telehandlers Invoice finance
In May 2008, they spent £3.5m on new equipment. By July, all their equipment was at home in the yard. Something was afoot. Sites were closing down across the board, all faced with the same problems: funding issues. David acted quickly, disposing of some of his machines in the as-yet unhit Asian markets. But there was not much more they could do. By October, their turnover had plummeted by a whopping 63%. To add further insult to injury, their previous invoice financing company made the move to drop them. The huge downsize, coupled with the economic climate, had made ACF Telehandlers simply too small for the financing firm to be interested in. It was rock bottom again for David and his firm.
They began looking around for another small business finance option. Through an agency, they were put in touch with Gener8 Finance, as well as two or three other options. “I think I bumped into the audit team when they were first looking into the business,” David says, “What stood out for me from the very start was just how personable they were.” As we've learnt by now, relationships have always played a key role in how David runs his business, and it was this aspect of Gener8 that immediately appealed to him. “They're gregarious and sympathetic, but also professional. It really enhances everything that we do with them. I know that any one of the people in my company could call up Dave Richards, the Managing Director, and he'd talk to them on exactly the same level as he'd talk to me. You don't get that with other firms.”
The relationship between Gener8 and ACF Telehandlers continues to strengthen. David likens it to a marriage, explaining how Gener8 strives for the same goals as his own firm and gets stuck in when life gets difficult. For a company where cashflow is critical, and everyone in the industry has had a terrible four years, business-savvy David would know not to stay with a firm that didn't meet his needs.