Advising businesses on financial and funding matters takes significant industry skill and knowledge. Granted. 
But it’s when you pair that with real-life experience and the human touch that the real magic happens. 
Which is exactly what I aim to do with my company, Peacock Finance, and what I hope makes what I offer that bit extra-special. 
Because I’ve been there, done that, built up a multi-million-pound company from scratch and then rescued it from the brink of bankruptcy. Myself. And this means I understand, from the inside out, what other business owners are going through, as well as how to help them capitalise on opportunities and overcome the problems they’ll inevitably come across along the way. 

Walking the walk 

Fundamentally, there aren’t many businesses I go to see, that are facing a challenge I haven’t faced myself. I established my own Food Wholesale business in 2001 with just me, my business partner and one van. Our goal was to supply local café bars and restaurants with chilled and delicatessen items. It then evolved to incorporate frozen and dry goods too and, before we knew it, our turnover was growing at a rate of £1 million a year. 
Within eight years, we were turning over £8.5m and had developed the business into a national franchise network. Then, in 2010, when it was generating over £2m per year, our franchise arm went bust owing us a considerable amount of money. We absorbed the cash hit but we needed cashflow support s or ‘liquidity’ just to maintain the business and service its complex food supply chains. 
This problem was then compounded by the bad winter of 2010/11, which meant we couldn’t get our vans on the road. The problem with that was that, in the food industry, if you don’t sell something today, the opportunity is gone forever and you can’t try again tomorrow, because the end customer isn’t going to come along and eat two meals tomorrow to make up for the one they missed out on one today. 
Because we were struggling, we had to put our loyal suppliers on 120-day payment terms and, even though we had good relationships with them, there came a point where they could no longer supply us until we paid them. Because of that, even though our customers were hugely loyal to us, they had no option but to go elsewhere for their stock. 

Every day’s a school day in business 

All of this taught me a very salient lesson – the fact that it’s cashflow, not profit, that can ultimately kill any business, and my interest in helping others to fund their business aspirations very much stemmed from that personal experience. Because when that set of circumstances happened to me, I had nowhere to turn. Despite having set up a successful business, I couldn’t get any help or guidance to support me through this blip. 
Fortunately, we found a group of investors who were happy to support the business , in return for a percentage stake, which enabled us to avoid going bust despite having lost a major chunk of our turnover in just three-and-a-half months. This was an incredibly scary time because the business was secured against my own house, Which ultimately meant we would be homeless 
With the investors’ help, we entered into a CVA – a voluntary arrangement with our creditors that allowed us to pay off our debt in a manageable way. Within just three years we were turning over £10m again. I’m proud of the fact that we managed to pay back everyone we owed money to, we never had a single CCJ and managed to save everyone’s jobs. We then sold the company, which is still trading to this day, under new ownership. There had been a point when we had the option to put the company into liquidation and start it up again as a so-called ‘phoenix company’, and that might have been more personally beneficial for us. But doing the right thing was more important to us than such short-term financial gain. 

Business support – with a difference 

Alpine remains the biggest business I’ve ever worked with, in terms of turnover and number of employees. The 14 years I spent building up that company and, ultimately, rescuing it, were a huge education for me. This taught me some vital skills that I’m now able to pass on to businesses I work with as a trusted advisor, like people management and the importance of relationships and having the right ethos. 
I also offer the full Financial Conduct Authority accreditation you might expect, coupled with the backing and buying power of a 50-strong network of advisors and 18 years’-worth of powerful relationships with the likes of invoice funders, developers and banks. However, while other finance brokers might understand the products and financial options available to businesses, I can also share first-hand insights into areas like sales, marketing, relationship-building and how to gain clients’ trust. 
Not only that, but with every deal I’ve done over the past four years since I established Peacock Finance, I’ve learned something new about funding. I’ve been privileged enough to work on several significant projects that are helping to shape our city of Hull and wider region, and this has made me very knowledgeable about a range of industries – from industrial electrical engineering to property development and accountancy. Now, instead of selling ham and cheese, my ‘products’ are money, but the principles are the same and my driving force is guiding other business people like me to achieve their full potential. 
If you think your business would benefit from some advice, get in touch 
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