Guest writer Bird Lovegod,
Small businesses face enough challenges in trading competitively. Raising investment, hiring, firing, hiring again, working out what Brexit means to them, and trying to get their heads around GDPR. Life ain’t pretty sometimes and business can be a hard struggle, winning customers and contracts the glorious prize. Or so they think. The real prize is actually getting paid, and 50,000 small UK businesses a year go under when they unexpectedly don’t. It’s been a tough time so far in what some call the retail apocalypse, with chains dropping stores like men of the Nights Watch. In winter. (Like Flies) And these things tend to go domino, one large Carillion of a company topples and knocks down dozens of smaller ones in the supply line. It’s a problem hard to mitigate against. Does a small to medium enterprise accept a contract, knowing it’s a life or near death risk should they be defaulted on, or do they play safe, and wither as their competitors take the lions share? Business is about taking risks, preferably not gambles. Which leads rather nicely towards a Nimbla way of doing things.
Spoiler alert, the best bit is Nimbla insure individual invoices against default. So Mr or Mrs SME can know one way or another they’re getting paid, even if Bad Debts R Us. The cool thing is the rather seamless way this is done. The Nimbla app synchs with the cloud accounting software, be that Xero, Sage, or any of the others. This gives the user the ability to choose which individual invoices to insure. It’s actually cleverer than that, I watched the team demonstrate at Barclays Techstars demo day in front of a room of investors and it came over as pretty close to no brain perfect. The room certainly appreciated it. The app also collects data and generates insights on payment patterns from companies, all the better to insure you with, so one could anticipate it becoming cleverer as more and more users adopt it. And as the point of the whole enterprise is to reduce some of the £5.8B of bad debt write off by SMEs each year, the better they can understand the risk of shipping an order or providing a service on credit, on a case by case basis, the less of a gamble life will be for them. A rather good thing for everyone.
This article is one of 40 commissioned by P2P lender RebuildingSociety exploring innovative businesses with a positive social and commercial impact. Written by Bird Lovegod. Artist, journalist and humanitarian interventionist.