We hobnob with Russell Martin from Finance 4 Business as he reveals why he started his award-winning financial brokerage…
So, what does Finance 4 Business do?
Finance 4 Business is a Specialist Finance Brokerage operating nationally. We structure deals across many sectors of finance including investment and portfolio mortgages, property development, bridging loans, asset and invoice finance along with a number of niche offerings. We have teams specialising in all areas allowing us to truly tailor a solution for the benefit of the client.
How did the idea for your business come about?
I graduated through Lloyds Bank’s Management Development Programme which gave me an excellent grounding for developing and growing a brokerage business. When you work for a lender you can only offer their products to the client bank. The client’s needs often didn’t match – squeezing a square peg into a round hole doesn’t work. My plan was to develop a business, with scale, that had the ability to bespoke financing for our clients.
When was the company first established?
F4B’s first transaction was in 2005 when I was operating as an independent broker.
How is the business doing?
I am pleased to report that Finance 4 Business is experiencing phenomenal growth. Since the credit crunch, the landscape of finance has changed. Specialist solutions are often required to satisfy a client’s needs. Gone are the days when Banks served all the needs of their customers and instead a huge alternative finance market has evolved which is more flexible, nimble and most importantly available. We still complete £Millions of loans with High Street Banks, but the level of completions has been eclipsed by the huge array of Challenger Banks and Specialist lenders, often only accessible via a reputable brokerage.
Since the company began, what has been the biggest challenge?
Recruiting quality staff. In my opinion, there is a dearth of talent in the broker market. This, of course, provides F4B with a huge opportunity. In my experience, recruiting bank trained staff and teaching them the nuances of brokering finance results in huge output and professionalism once fully trained. It generally takes 6 to 12 months to truly convert a ‘corporate’ into a broker, but thereafter the results are fantastic. Most importantly, our client base enjoys the experience as our repeat business levels are fantastically high.
What makes you stand out from your competitors?
This really expands from the above by offering a unique customer experience. We never charge upfront fees which are unusual in our marketplace. This is because we are confident that the solution put forward is deliverable and we earn income upon successful completion. We do not pepper the market with the same deal but match the right lender to the client and manage the whole transaction from start to finish. Why would a customer go anywhere else!
What’s been your best business decision?
To form Finance 4 Business. I work longer hours than I spend with my family so it is important to me to enjoy my job. To see how Finance 4 Business has grown is massively rewarding and to look forward to going to work each day makes me feel very lucky.
What is next for Finance 4 Business?
The business seems to change weekly at the moment. There are huge plans afoot. We are finalising the purchase of new offices which will allow us the space to grow 6-fold if required. We recently entered into a new contract which has exceeded expectation and we are also well advanced with the due diligence for the purchase of a complimentary company.
If you could help one business now with a single piece of advice, what would it be?
Investigate the market in which you plan to trade in thoroughly before designing your business. It is generally easier to excel in an established market that is growing than to try and establish or change a market. The business plan can follow.
Finally, Russell what is your favourite biscuit?
I am partial to a dark chocolate Hobnob.