Is now a good time to invest in the future of your business? Certainly LSi Gifts believes it is. This Cleckheaton-based distributor has taken advantage of low interest rates, low commercial property prices and a cashback incentive from Barclays to snap up a property that should help fuel the company's growth.
The factors which helped trigger LSi Gifts' move for property are interesting – but so too is the fact that economic growth is missing. The long-awaited recovery has been slow to arrive, leading some to believe that the economy as it stands is in fact the new normal. And if low growth is here to stay, the argument runs, there's no need to further delay business investment.
"There is more activity in the marketplace at the moment because small businesses realise that the state of the economy is business as usual from now on," says Stuart Stock, the Senior Barclays Business Manager who worked with LSi Gifts to arrange its new commercial mortgage. "Property prices are low. Base rates are low. And the value of businesses are down so there's a good opportunity for businesses to buy other going concerns."
For Barclays customers, this means attractive terms are available. "Business Managers always aim to be the most competitive on interest rate margins," says Stuart. "On top of that wherever possible we always include Cashback for Business [Barclays take on the Government's Funding for Lending Scheme] on the loan. All of which makes Barclays look very, very attractive."
LSi Gifts' Managing Director, Lloyd Simpson, agrees that Cashback for Business was a welcome bonus. "It paid for some windows!" he says. "The cashback was a real incentive for me."
So too was the speed with which Barclays could act. Lloyd says: "As soon as the property became available we had to move quickly."
Lloyd and Stuart had discussed LSi Gift's potential investment for some time and they both cite thorough preparation as the reason that the application was approved within 48 hours of submission. "The planning and the measures we put in place really helped," says Lloyd. Stuart expands: "Business mangers work very closely with the past financials and the cashflow projections so that it's clear how the loan will be serviced."
"It's this willingness to work hard for the benefit of the customer that, in the end, sets Barclays apart from other the other banks," says Lloyd. "I did have a look at other lenders but Barclays were giving us the best deal. They did everything we needed of them."