Finance Blog | Commercial Lending, Essex, London | first 4 Commercial

Marketing Tips for a Start-up Café

Starting your own café is tough work. There are many decisions to be made along the way, from the location, the size of the café, the type of food and drink you want to serve, to your target market and your choice of suppliers. Marketing is an important part of any business, and with a café it can make a huge difference to giving you that new customer bump that helps you build a loyal customer base to build from.

Find the Right Finance – Whatever your situation it is vital that you have a budget in place to market your café effectively. At First4Commercial we can help you achieve your goals through provision of commercial finance. With a budget in place you can choose the best route for your specific situation for marketing to your target customer.

Be Unique – The café and coffee shop market is saturated, so it is important to have some sort of unique angle that you can market. It doesn’t have to be anything drastic, just have a think about how to stand out. It could be that you open later than your competitors, that you specialise in a specific food or drink, or that you offer vegetarian or vegan food. There are plenty of choices.

Customer Loyalty – A fantastic way for any new business to grow custom is to offer a customer loyalty scheme. In many cases this is in the form of a card that can be stamped or marked every time a customer buys a hot drink (or food item), with the 10th being given free as a reward for return custom.

At First4Commercial we provide access to commercial finance for a wide range of businesses, including start-up cafés and other hospitality ventures. If you would like to find out more about our service please feel free to contact our friendly team today by calling 01277 620 083 or emailing


How to Survive When Your Business is Struggling

As a business owner you will go through peaks and troughs. Every business will have moments where it is struggling for cashflow or unable to make that next jump in progress that is desired and/or required. If you are finding that your business is starting to struggle, we have put together a few tips to help you survive, to get through the tough times, and to come out the other side stronger.

Maintain Contact –When a business first opens its doors it’s likely to be either a one-man band or a small group of employees working under you. As you grow it is important to delegate of course, but without regular contact and an understanding of how all facets of your business are running it is hard to get ahead of potential problems, or resolve issues quickly and effectively.

Market Correctly – Every business and industry is unique, and finding the right type of marketing can take time and bravery to make the wrong decision at first. Research your competitors and industry regularly and thoroughly, looking at new and inventive ways to market to your existing customers as well as new.

Find the Right Funding Source – Having the correct type of funding for your business is also important, especially if you are going through a tough time and require assistance with cashflow. At First4Commercial we have a wide range of commercial finance sources that can help you grow your business and ride out the tough times.

To find out more information please feel free to speak to our friendly customer service team by calling 01277 620 083 or emailing


How to Build a Loyal Customer Base at Your Restaurant

Customer loyalty is the vital lifeblood of any business, in any industry. When it comes to a restaurant however, it takes on an even more vital component of the success of a business. If you can build a strong and loyal customer base at your restaurant you can guarantee repeat custom that keeps your cashflow steady, whilst also having a better chance of succeeding in marketing to brand new customers through word of mouth.

Fresh Menus and Seasonality – It is important to always keep your customers on their toes. Look to change up your menu every now and then, make sure your food is seasonal and fresh, and get a buzz going about your food. If your customers are missing an item off the menu and let you know it is a great way to find out what’s working and what isn’t.

Build a Loyalty Programme – There are a few ways you can go about this, and it might depend on your budgets and the type of restaurant you are running. A customer loyalty scheme is a great way to build trust with your customers and to encourage them to spread the word to others. It could be that you offer a free side after a certain number of meals, discounts and offers, or entry to sample brand new menus ahead of time.

Word of Mouth – As mentioned, word of mouth is the best, and most cost effective way, to gain new customers. In the same way a customer loyalty programme offers certain discounts and free items, a customer referral could do similar, or offer a certain percentage off one meal for example.

We have a track record and successful history of helping our clients acquire the best commercial loans for their specific needs and long-term plans. To find out more information please feel free to speak to our friendly customer service team by calling 01277 620 083 or emailing


Creating High Customer Service Standards to Make Your Business Thrive

One of the key factors in growing a successful business is to maintain high customer satisfaction rates. This can be achieved through various processes and factors, including a high standard of customer service that is consistent, on-brand, and delivers when customer are both happy and unhappy with your overall service.

How do you build and maintain high customer service standards?

Good First Impression – First impressions are always important, especially in the modern age where an irate customer or potential customer can quickly jeopardise your company reputation through social media postings. Most first impressions are formed within the first 10 seconds, so provide your staff with thorough training that allows them to hit the ground running when speaking to a customer or a potential customer.

Consistency of Approach – Brand consistency is another vital aspect of a business, and your customer service staff should understand your brand, ideals, service and products, and customer service and complaints procedures inside out. A customer should find no difference in customer service approach whether they are speaking to the same person again, or a completely different employee from the last call or visit to store.

Fast Resolutions  – All any customer wants is a fast and effective resolution. This applies whether a potential customer is querying a product or service with a view to purchasing from your company, or if a current customer is phoning up to ask about your returns policy or to put in a complaint. Your staff must be fast, decisive, and provide an acceptable resolution.

At First4Commercial we can help you secure commercial funding, bridging finance and a wide range of other financial services to help your business grow. To find out more, please feel free to speak to our friendly customer service team by calling 01277 620 083 or emailing


The Benefits of Taking out a Commercial Loan

Commercial finance in the form of business loans can be incredibly helpful to businesses of all shapes and sizes. Here, we take a look at a few of the benefits of taking out a commercial loan, and how the team here at First4Commercial is in the perfect place to help you secure your future.

Business loans can be used to:

  • Help with cashflow issues
  • Pay for one-off business expenses
  • Fund business expansion plans
  • Provide Start-up funding for new businesses

For many businesses, especially those who are growing and looking for a more secure framework in which to scale and continue to thrive whilst expanding, a commercial loan is a viable option that provides them with flexibility and versatility at a time where rigidity could cripple the company before it gets a real chance to begin its life properly.

Managing the demands of cashflow, a range of employees, suppliers, clients, and in-house processes, hardware, software, and many other factors, is challenging for any business. Commercial finance could be the key to unlocking the potential of a company.

Speak to the First4Commercial team today and we’ll be able to offer expert advice, guidance, and industry insights into our wide range of commercial loan lenders. After discussing your company’s specific situation, budgets, and plans, we’ll be more than happy to point you in the right direction to the commercial finance options that suit your needs the best.

For more information about the First4Commercial service, contact our customer service team today on 01277 620 083 or


Reasons to Use a Bridging Loan

Bridging loans can be applied for under a wide variety of circumstances and for many different reasons. At First4Commercial we specialise in providing our clients with access to myriad commercial bridging loans, as well as domestic mortgage solutions.

The main reasons that people apply for bridging loans are:

  • Property investment projects
  • But-to-let property purchases
  • Development projects

Over recent years, with the long process that high street banks, private banks, and other traditional lenders have implemented, there has been a shift towards bridging loans as a legitimate alternative to mainstream lending sources, especially for large home loans.

A bridging loan is a tempting option, especially if you are looking at a property that you really want to add to your portfolio, but it has a short window with which to successfully acquire it. In these circumstances, instead of missing out whilst you wait for the deposit to become available, a bridging loan gives you the funds immediately, beginning the process of purchasing the property, and allowing you time to get together the money to complete the transaction and pay back the bridging loan.

There is a careful balancing act to tread when taking on a bridging loan, whatever the reasons you have for seeking one. By talking in-depth with the expert team we have here at First4Commercial, you’ll be provided with a wide range of options and lenders that can really help you with your specific situation and financial history.

To find out more about the First4Commercial service, contact our customer service team today on 01277 620 083 or


Information You Need to Apply for a Commercial Mortgage

When looking to buy a property for your business it is important to be fully prepared prior to making key decisions. Along with choosing the right location, having a deposit in place, and finding a specific building that fits your criteria, budget, and capacity, it is vital that you understand what is expected from you.

No matter where you end up lending money from for a commercial venture there will be a few documents and bits of information that will always be required. This will include documents relating to the performance of your business, as well as long-term projections and plans.

Our team can help you find the right lending stream for your needs and credit history, but any commercial loan will be awarded based on your ability to be able to make repayments. You should prepare by putting together a resource of your company documents that includes:

  • 2-years worth of audited accounts
  • Financial forecast for next few years
  • Current and historical business performance
  • Key business personnel information for credit-check purposes
  • Business plan specific to prospective property
  • Business credit status
  • Growth projections

At First4Commercial we can help you find the perfect commercial mortgage for your needs. We even have scope to help those applicants with adverse credit or a low deposit amount. To find out more information, speak to our expert team by contacting us today. After an initial chat about your situation we’ll be more than happy to provide you with advice and guidance about the types of commercial loans we can help you with.

Call us on 01277 620 083 or email


Applying for a Commercial Loan

At First4Commercial we are geared towards helping companies within a wide range of sectors and industries to achieve both short-term and long-term company goals through access to, often crucial, commercial finance and bridging loans.

We have helped companies within the following sectors with commercial loans:

  • Commercial Sector
  • Professional Sector
  • Leisure Sector
  • Retail Industry
  • Agricultural & Rural
  • Investment & Development

Absolutely any company can apply for a business loan. It doesn’t matter how small or large a company is, or the reasons behind seeking a commercial loan. Each company and application will be taken on its merits and a decision made from there.

We have access to a wide range of funding sources, enabling us to offer flexible commercial lending to many different customers. This includes non-status lending for those with a poor credit history, and 100% finance for those looking to raise a deposit on an existing property. The choices and options are available: it’s about matching each new application with the right lending stream for their specific needs.

A commercial loan can help a company at times when cashflow is tough, during the initial phases of a start-up company, when expansion is a real and viable proposition but finding is tight, and for a whole host of other reasons.

We have a track record and successful history of helping our clients acquire the best commercial loans for their specific needs and long-term plans. To find out more information please feel free to speak to our friendly customer service team by calling 01277 620 083 or emailing


Tips to Running a Successful Small Business

For any business to be successful it has to fulfil a few key concepts. Developing and implementing these key business strategies will allow you to have a strong foundation for your business to grow, with the framework from which you can scale effectively as you progress.

The first thing to consider is planning. It is a vital aspect of any successful business and without it you will most likely fail. Put together a full and instructive business plan, with clear targets and markers to success. This can include a yearly plan, or many smaller plans built within a long-term 5-year plan, with room for flexibility within it.

When you have put together the plan it is time to find relevant funding. Business funding is a requirement for absolutely any business when it starts out, with capital required for employees, manufacturing processes, premises and a whole host of other things. There are plenty of options open to you, so be careful with your planning and speak to experts for financing expertise, such as the First4Commercial team.

Whatever you are doing, find and offer the value in it. When comparing your products and services to competitors, don’t just compete by offering a cheaper price, find out how you can add value to your target customer. Offer a good place to work, with high quality of training and a clear route for career progression. By implementing all of this you can build a brand that is trustworthy for employees, suppliers and customers alike.

Business funding is an important part of running any successful business. Not only does it help you get off the ground in the beginning, but also covers cashflow issues and allows you to scale effectively as the company grows. If you would like to speak with our expert team about business financing options, please feel free to get in touch. You can contact us on 01277 620 083 or


The Benefits of Invoice Discounting for Your Business

Invoice discounting is a form of business financing where outstanding invoices from your sales ledger are exchanged for a cash advance. The funding can be used to help a business with current cashflow, or to fund other important items and services that could not wait until an outstanding invoice is paid in full. When the invoice is paid, the invoice discounting service will take a pre-agreed percentage of the invoice total amount.

Invoice discounting can take a number of forms, with the main choices being confidential invoice discounting (CID), disclosed invoice discounting (DID), and selective invoice discounting. Each has its own merits and drawbacks depending on your business activities.

The benefits of invoice discounting are clear for businesses, especially those that are either new or growing at a fast pace. It provides you with up to 95% of your outstanding invoice total within a few days. These funds can be used to fund vital company activities or projects. There is also no limit on how much you can borrow, it really all depends on how many outstanding invoices you have available as part of your sales ledger.

Invoice discounting allows you to maintain control over your customer payments, and to manage credit protection from non-paying customers, with the funds being released to ensure you are not left in the lurch in the short-term. Best of all, you do not have to disclose an arrangement with an invoice discounting service to your clients, so your relationship with them remains the same at all times.

At First4Commercial we offer a range of financial services for commercial purposes. If you would like to find out more about invoice discounting, or any other of our services that can help your business to grow, contact us today on 01277 620 083 or

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