Invoice Discounting Offers Entrepreneurs Attractive Start-up Opportunity

Have you decided to start a business? Maybe you're fed up with your current job and looking for an alternative or have decided that it’s time to start making money for yourself for a change? There is a growing market that offers attractive opportunities for the entrepreneur who is looking for a tried-and-tested business model. That market is what is known as invoice discounting.

Invoice discounting and invoice factoring are mature financial services around the globe, with The World Factoring Yearbook 2013 showing more than 70 countries reporting a domestic and export factoring industry. In the last decade the world volume has more than doubled, and in South Africa, the same upward trend has been experienced with invoice volumes exceeding R300 Million in 2013.

The economy is certainly not at its strongest point and is suffering quite badly. Not only is the cost of borrowing an increasing burden, but the supply of credit has become extremely restrictive. One of the areas that have been hit badly is the small business financing sector. Cutbacks in this area have meant that many small businesses, which were, at one time, perhaps able to obtain a small line of credit prior to the crisis, are now totally excluded from the credit marketplace.

This forces thousands of formerly bankable businesses into the secondary finance market in order to find appropriate funding for their growth needs.

According to David Banfield, Vice President of The Interface Financial Group (Interface): “The invoice discounting market in South Africa is grossly underserved, with the significant amount of SME and start-up businesses in the country there is still a huge gap for non-traditional and trusted ways for businesses to improve their cash flow and achieve growth.”

Banfield explained that invoice discounting is where a company buys an invoice or sets of invoices from an SME at a discount, providing them with immediate cash flow until the invoice is settled by their client. “Starting a company from scratch, let alone a financial services business is no easy feat. The challenge with opening any business is always getting the business model right first,” said Banfield. “Why start a business from scratch when you can get a head-start by using a successful business model such as Interface which operates a globally successful franchise and license operation around the globe.

“When deciding to go into business there is a lot of upfront work that needs to be done to research the market and competitors, identify the need, identify the market potential, decide on the business to fill it, prepare a business plan, secure resources and get funding.”

Many entrepreneurs in the retail space have gone the franchise model as there is an existing business model that is proven and works. The same applies in this instance to the invoice discounting market except entrepreneurs purchase a license instead of a franchise.

Entrepreneurs now have an opportunity to be part of the globally successful Interface Financial Group as the company appoints its first Master Licensee in South Africa. Interface, like the financial services industry of which it is a part, is a very mature player. Having been in business since 1972, Interface is the market leader in invoice discounting.

He explained that many of their successful licensed businesses are owned by people from all types of professions including, banking, marketing, IT, education, engineering, real estate, medical and accounting: “What really stands out for us are licensees who have some business background, excellent communication skills, decision-making ability, and entrepreneurial spirit.”

While it helps to have some number crunching ability, it certainly is not imperative because Interface’s detailed system and training will walk licensees through the process and procedures. “Part of what we bring to the table is a comprehensive transaction tracking system that takes care of all of the monthly chores in terms of creating your income and expense statements and your monthly balance sheets,” Banfield commented. “This means that you don’t need to employ staff to run your business, but tap into the established systems of the Group.”

The Interface Financial Group are one of the very few options for small business to obtain cost-effective and time-effective growth funding. “While many people might consider that these are not good times in which to start a business, it is quite clear that Interface franchisees/licensees, working in the small business invoice discounting arena, are enjoying record growth opportunities which, of course, translate into record income opportunities,” concluded Banfield.