“Vantage Finance is a specialist distributor of secured loans, bridging finance, buy to let, commercial and development finance, working with intermediaries to ensure their clients receive the best products available with an exceptional service.
“It is a business I started when I was 18, and at the time I did not have much of a clue about running a business. When I launched the company I had a passion for what I was doing and was very motivated to learn as much as I could, but I was entering a crowded space which was thriving, and being taken seriously was very difficult. It took a while to gain traction but slowly I started to build relationships both with lenders, and introducers and began to really enjoy it.
“Then, the industry was overtaken by events and the credit crunch saw the industry freeze and reduce in size dramatically. Looking back at the last few years it is hard to believe how much has changed within the industry and how many products have disappeared, emerged or evolved. While there was a period after the credit crunch hit where I questioned whether there was a future doing what I was doing at all, as I am sure many others did too, I am glad I did not give up.
“Over their career, any business owner regardless of size or type of business will be faced with certain challenges big and small and one of the biggest challenges is to keep looking forward and to not give in to negative thoughts. In the words of Winston Churchill ‘success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.’
“It was hard to believe the market would fall to pieces as it did, but we have come through the worst of it and there is a considerable amount of optimism around. Packaging in today’s market is very different to how it was, but there is still plenty of value to be added in the process through specialist knowledge in specialist areas. Whereas our focus was previously on sub-prime residential mortgages, which was very packager orientated and structured, we now do not provide a service Structures in this sector at all, and our product offering consists of bridging, commercial, secured loans & development funding which is a lot more complex but also much more rewarding and interesting. Every deal is different.
“One thing which I find challenging is to find good people whom you can trust to do the job properly and that care about the business. I am a bit particular about how I like things done, and find it hard to relinquish control over certain tasks, which is absolutely necessary to enable the business to grow! Finding the right personalities who can do the job well is really tough, especially for small businesses. I have always taken people on without experience and trained them from scratch, but this approach is difficult to sustain and is a huge drain on resource so there is definitely something to be said for finding someone who can hit the ground running.
“Having the right support around you is vital, and without this support there will be certain areas of the business which become neglected, whether that be general development of processes and efficiencies of the business, growing the distribution, working on the product offering, compliance or just keeping up the level of service which is so very important. While we all try to manage our time efficiently, with the best will in the world it does not always turn out this way, and day-to-day distractions sometimes occupy more time than we had hoped.
“Given the tough conditions experienced over recent years it serves as a reminder of the need to have a flexible approach to doing business and to surround yourself with people who are all trying to achieve the same goal. This industry remains about relationships and those who will continue to thrive are those who work hard for their clients and work on their relationships in the industry.”
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