Nigel Smith, Managing Director of The Chef's Patisserie, talks to us about how invoice finance gives his company a competitive advantage when dealing with large blue chip customers.
"I'm Nigel Smith, I'm one of the joint Managing Directors of the Chef's Patisserie. The Chef's Patisserie is a fine production of patisserie handmade, no machinery all done by a team of very talented pastry chefs. We wanted to produce a product that had no additives, no preservatives, no stabilisers. A natural product. On most large numbers manufacturing, it's all done by machinery. We didn't want to do that. We wanted to still be able to do things by hand. So we're very bespoke to our clients.
"Because we're bespoke and we provide a bespoke service. We, I suppose, look for bespoke services and that's where Optimum fitted. When you've got small clients who order small orders and they order, they pay, they order, they pay. When you start dealing with some of the blue chip companies that we deal with, some of those payment terms can be 60 days, 70 days, some 90. And it's very hard when you're paying bills weekly. And for somebody to not pay you for 70 or 80 days is really difficult.
"Our external accountants were saying, "No, you don't need it. It's fine. You just pull your controls in tighter and make customers pay quicker." That's all very well on paper, but it doesn't work. Listening to all the information, invoice finance was the right way, and it's a bit of a stigma because it's like "if your using invoice finance your business is not good and you're in difficulty". And that's a perception with lack of knowledge and lack of understanding of what it's about.
"What we look for in everything is consistency. So if we make a petit four, every one you eat is consistent in texture, flavour, consistency. Consistency is a big thing for us and I think the consistency came through in Optimum. They listened to what we needed to make the business work, what we needed off them and from that they bespoked of personal service to us that allows us to now develop and grow the patisserie.
"We've got great skills and we can understand what we do as chefs. We make an amazing product, but we do that as a team. And from that then we can develop what we're doing. And Optimum is part of our team. They're just an extension to it, in where we sit. We're seven months down the journey with Optimum and without question, we will continue the journey for our development for the future."
At Optimum Finance, we utilise innovative technology to offer a range of flexible funding solutions, which grow alongside your business. Get an instant estimate for the amount of funding you could access with our finance calculator. Products include invoice discounting and factoring that can boost your cashflow and give you access to a dedicated credit control team.
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