CreditHQ now available in Germany

German small businesses now able to use award-winning credit-checking tool, CreditHQ

CreditHQ is now available in Germany, as part of a new partnership with one of Germany’s biggest banks.

CreditHQ allows a small business to check the financial health and credit status of any customer or partner and will be available to the small business customers of its German partner bank. Its German launch is the next stage of an ambitious international expansion programme that will look to target Poland, the US, Australia and other European markets over the next 12 months. 

More than 4 million German enterprises are classified as small and medium-sized enterprises, accounting for 99.6% of the total number of enterprises. German SMEs generated an annual turnover of approx. € 2,149 bn in 2012, which representing 35.3% of the total turnover of German enterprises.

“Despite new regulations brought in to combat late payment culture in July 2014, late payment remains a major issue for German small businesses, impacting on cash-flow and the ability to grow,” said Martin Campbell, MD, Ormsby Street. “There is a growing need in Germany for an easy way of checking the credit status and payment performance of customers and CreditHQ meets that requirement head-on. Partnering with a bank in Germany is a great way of bringing CreditHQ to the German market and we are confident it will mirror our success in the UK.”

CreditHQ is working with credit supplier, Burgel and will allow small businesses to check the credit status, payment performance and general financial health of millions of German small businesses. The simple traffic light ratings system shows clearly the level of risk associated with the company in question, and users are given two different ratings, one addressing credit risk and the other payment performance.

CreditHQ is used by more than 27,000 UK small businesses, and launched in Italy in 2015. Ormsby Street has just returned from the SXSW event in Austin, Texas, where it was representing UKTI as a UK Tech Ambassador and seeking new partnerships with US banks to further expansion into the US market.   

“Late payment is a problem for small businesses all over the world and the next 12 months will see us launch in at least another four countries,” continued Martin Campbell. “It is impossible to force someone to pay on time, so small businesses have to protect themselves against late payment as best they can. CreditHQ’s use of big data to address that problem gives small businesses the insight and power to do just that, and is suited to almost any territory in the world.”

About Ormsby Street

CreditHQ is built by Ormsby Street, a Software-as-a-Service business based in Old Street, London. Formed in 2014 to take over the operation of the financial data proposition of BCSG, Ormsby Street is developing the next generation of financial data services for small businesses. Its team of high-performing product innovators and software engineers are quietly taking sophisticated financial information and turning it into a next-generation digital tool to help businesses make good decisions about customers, suppliers and themselves.

Which football club’s finances need a kick-start?

Swansea and Southampton top premier league of invoice payment!

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As this year’s football season reaches an end, here at CreditHQ we thought we’d take a look at how good the top football clubs are at performing where it matters – in the payments department!

Small businesses wait on average, 72 days for payment of invoices, and our analysis last year showed the average overdue invoice to a small business was worth a whopping £6,142. 

The Payment Premier League was compiled by combining figures for payment performance and credit risk.

“If a small business wins a contract with their local football team then it is easy to let the heart rule the head, and just go ahead with the work regardless – people love the idea of working for the team they support,” said Martin Campbell. “But our analysis shows that just because a team is good on the pitch, it doesn’t necessarily follow that they will be as strong when it comes to paying invoices on time.”

“Winning a major contract with any sizeable local company is a big deal for a small business, but few would think to run a credit check. Yet the average time for a small business to be paid is 72 days, a period of time which could be seriously problematic for a small business if the figures involved were big enough.”

Premier Payment league infographic

Sunderland and Crystal Palace were the worst performers on our payment premier league, so if you’re thinking of doing business with either of these teams, follow these simple tips to ensure you’re taking the right precautions to ensure you stay on top of your business cash-flow:

  • Stay on top of your invoice process to get invoices out on time.
  • Follow up before the invoices are due.
  • Chase invoices when due and always charge interest on overdue invoices (or issue a letter of intent).
  • Review payment terms for this company, including payment up front if you are really worried about the impact of late payment.
  • For major concerns about a customer’s financial health, don’t be afraid to walk away from a deal.

Check out who you’re doing business with at www.credithq.co.uk

Just ask! Your customers know what you need to do

Feedback

I called a long standing customer of our of our software products the other day and the first thing he said was “Hi Rob, I’m amazed you called.  I haven’t ever heard from anyone in your business before.”

And it’s true, he hadn’t actually ever spoken to anyone in the organisation before.  He signed up to access our service via his bank, his access information was sent to him via email, and since then he’s been signing in to the service and using it himself in order to get the value he needs.  At no point in the 5 years+ that he has been a customer has he spoken to any person within our business.

We had a great conversation for an hour, where he told me all the good things about the service we offer, the areas that he hoped it would get better, and importantly he told me about the challenges he faces as being the Finance Director of a small to medium sized business.

All of this information is absolute gold for me in helping figure out how we can get better at making businesses get control of their money.

At one point in the conversation he said ‘would you mind if I email you when i have something I think you should know?’, to which I said ‘of course not’ and I proceeded to tell him how every customer who signs up toCreditHQ will get an email from me where I ask for them to give me some feedback.  

I give every customer the chance to email me with the answer to a specific question such as ‘tell me your biggest business challenge today’ or to complete a questionnaire that takes about 2 minutes to do. 

It’s amazing what you find out.  And it’s amazing how you can use this to make decisions in your business about what you can do next.  Sometimes it’s a little thing (we don’t care about feature X) but sometimes it’s a bigger thing (you should charge more than you do).

And all through just asking.

Many businesses are scared to ask their customers what they think because they worry that they think bad things about them.  But they’re your customers so you already do something they like or they wouldn’t have got that far.  Why not listen to them and get them to give you more of their custom, or get them to spread the word about how great you are because you listen. A colleague of mine who was recently at SXSW (where we were showcasing CreditHQ as part of the UKTI’s Tech Ambassador programme), was told by an Über driver that he much preferred driving for the competitor taxi firm over there, Lyft, purely because they get in touch with their drivers asking for feedback and how they can improve conditions for them. 

We can’t do everything we get told would help, but we might find out some things we can stop doing that frees us up to do more of the good stuff.

You never know! Just ask!

Taking ‘care’ to help entrepreneurs

In January, we wanted to make good on some new years resolutions and make a difference to entrepreneurs in developing countries.

For the whole of January, we “lent” our subscription revenue to Lend with Care to pass on as loans to entrepreneurs in less privileged countries.

Lend with Care is an innovative microfinance charity; pairing up entrepreneurs in developing countries with people in more fortunate parts of the world, who loan those entrepreneurs money in order for them to transform their lives through business.

To date over 25,000 lenders have made 251,510 loans and lent over £8m to 27,567 entrepreneurs in 11 countries providing 32,976 jobs – that’s a measurable difference!

It was a difficult decision to choose who to donate to on the Lendwithcare site, as we really wanted to choose them all. They all have great stories, and are looking to improve their businesses to help their families and are also trying to improve the environment they live in.

After much thought, we choose four different businesses to lend to:

Bui van Kien

Mr. Kien wants to diversify the sources of income and he chose to rear buffaloes because it is profitable in his region. He applied for a loan, which is to be used to buy a young buffalo.

Bui van Kien

 

Bui thi Ninh

Growing rice and rearing 2 buffalo help them to bring 120 USD per month on average.
Mrs. Ninh hopes to expand her breeding business by rearing one more buffalo.

Bui-thi-Ninh

 

Ra Siem

To increase their income and make it better Mrs. Ra wants a loan in order to purchase another small plot of land around 1,600 square meters to grow sugarcane.

Ra-Siem

 

Nguyen van Du

Mr. Du requested a loan to finance the installation of a household biogas plant. The biogas plants accepts mainly animal manure but also other organic waste. Then it converts them into biogas which is then piped into the home and used for cooking, lighting and even heating. This will help reduce electricity cost and save a lot of time spent travelling to collect firewood. Therefore, deforestation will be reduced and the living environment will be much healthier.

Nguyen-van-Du

A few days later, we learnt that Nguyen van Du is now fully funded, so he’s on his way to realising his dreams for his business, which without Lendwithcare, he probably wouldn’t have been able to do. We’re looking forward to Bui van Kien, Bui thi Ninh and Ra Siem reaching their funding target too, so that they can get going with their projects.

Lendwithcare, is such a great idea, as it makes a real difference to entrepreneurs in developing countries, and it’s a ‘loan’, so you will get the loan amount back – so please lend any amount you can, to make a real difference today.

Here in the UK, we can help you to check the financial health of the businesses you’re trading with. For less than 50p a day, you’ll be able to see how good or bad a credit risk they are, and what’s most important to many small businesses – when they are likely to pay you. Sign up to CreditHQ so that you can get paid on time, and with that extra cash, please think about lending some to other entrepreneurs in developing countries, to help them improve their lives.

Thank you

It’s events and awards season in the Fintech world…here’s what we’ve been up to!

FInovate Trophy

September has been a very busy month so far here at Ormsby Street– we’ve just returned from New York’s Finovate Fall where Martin demoed CreditHQ to an audience of around 2000; ranging from directors of international banks to startup leaders in the Fintech world.

newyork from ferry

The next stop on our whistle-stop tour of Fintech events this month was Barcelona, where Ormsby Street was chosen from over 900 companies as a finalist in the BBVA Open Talent Finals. Here, we were able to talk to over one hundred attendees from BBVA bank, hear some fantastic keynotes about the future of banking, and meet the other sixteen companies who were lucky enough to be shortlisted. Unfortunately, we didn’t win this time (huge congratulations to both Everledger and Origin Markets who delivered great pitches and won) but we made some great connections and learned a lot about how Fintech’s innovations can work alongside traditional banking methods to improve banking practices for everyone.

Martin BBVA

We’re now gearing up for our next set of nominations as the award and event season marches on. We’re thrilled to have been shortlisted for The Growing Business Awards (Young Company of the Year), 2015 UKIT Industry Awards (UK Innovation and Entrepreneurship), The Credit Excellence Awards (Newcomer to the Industry) and the Great British Entrepreneur Awards. Hopefully we’ll be adding some more awards to the shelf here at Ormsby Street HQ. Wish us luck!

3 lessons I’ve learnt from 20 years in Small Business

lessons

It would be easy to think – amid today’s hype about digital products and Software as a Service’s disruption of so many industries by startups – that the business world has changed a lot over the 20 years that have elapsed since I penned my first proposal in response to the tentative phone call: “We’ve heard about the world wide web and we think we need one, can you help?” With so much ink spilled over what’s changed over those two decades, I’m surprised at how often I’m reminded of how much has stayed the same. Over my time as a small business leader, there have been three lessons which I learned early, but then had to learn again and again. I set them out here to remind you too.

Lesson 1: The customer isn’t buying your product or service. In startup circles it’s very fashionable to talk about how the customer is paying to solve a problem, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. There are so many ways a customer could solve a given problem, that when they choose to do so by buying your solution, it’s crucial to understand why. It’s almost certain that your product or service wasn’t the only option, so what made them buy from you? Was it the safety and security they get from your reputation, or was it the reputation for innovation that they get from buying “the next big thing”? Are they really buying the product? Or are they trialling it for one of their departments should the rest of the organisation go a different way? Getting to the heart of why customers buy from you is absolutely essential for effective selling.

Lesson 2: You’re not selling your product or service. Depending on how you pitch and deliver your product, you might be selling the promise of repeating the experience that another customer had, or you might be selling something that you are confident you can deliver but that’s not 100 per cent rock solid yet. Or maybe you’re selling the value that you built on the foundations provided by someone else. Whichever it is, your business success depends on understanding how your view matches (or doesn’t match) your customers’, and how your business really works.

Lesson 3: Business relationships are complicated. It’s easy as a small business to work simply: we provide a service, you buy a service, the service gets delivered, the bill gets paid. If you’re selling buns in a market, you might just have a business which is that simple (though it’s not as simple as it sounds!), but if you’re selling to businesses, then it’s more likely that your customer needs your product for a number of reasons, and has various individuals with different political outlooks and different objectives. Your own team will also have various strengths, weaknesses and disagreements about how best to deliver, though various factors can change, like the economy, circumstances and requirements from your relationships. On top of this, your customer’s finance department may seem to be working to some sort of 19th century timetable, where they have until next harvest to pay your bill!

So how do you learn the lessons?

Clear brands, product descriptions and contracts are hard work to create, but worth every penny because your customers can understand you better.

Clear internal procedures and industry standard roles help your team to move fast and do the right thing even when the unexpected happens (come on – you know it will!).

Finally, trust that everything’s going to be OK, and then make sure that it is – monitor your customers’ credit scores and payment performances and don’t accept any excuses for late payment!

by Martin Campbell

New CreditHQ partnership with The Formations Company, aims to address the growing problem of late payment to small businesses

Small business founders registering their business with The Formations Company, will now be offered access to CreditHQ when they form their new companies, allowing them to check the financial health of the suppliers and customers they invoice, and know whether those trading partners are likely to pay on time.

“Late invoice payment is one of the biggest reasons for the cash-flow issues that many small businesses are facing in 2015,” said Martin Campbell, Managing Director, Ormsby Street. “But most small businesses don’t think to check on the financial health of a customer or supplier. Making CreditHQ available to customers of The Formations Company not only provides an easy way to check this but will also recommend whether a company is likely to pay on time or not.”

The Formations Company is the most cost-effective way for a new business to form and has helped more than 100,000 UK small businesses form since its launch in 2009. It offers a range of extra services from a free consultation with an accountant or web developer to £25 free credit for business cards and stationary. The addition of CreditHQ to this suite of services looks to protect small businesses from late invoice payment and the cash-flow issues that can bring.

CreditHQ uses data from seven million company records to check credit status and general financial health, and uses a traffic light system to advise small businesses whether a company is likely to pay them on time. It also provides regular updates on credit ratings, so a small business will be kept abreast of any changes in a customer’s ability to pay. 

“Forming a business can be bewildering, so we want to provide our customers with the very best services and tools to help them as they start their business journey,” said Piers Chead, CEO, The Formations Company. “CreditHQ absolutely falls into that category. Late payment of invoices is a major issue for SMEs, so a free tool that enables them to check the financial health of potential clients before beginning work with them will be invaluable.”

For more information, or if you’re ready to set up your limited company: https://www.theformationscompany.com/