Marcelino Castrillo

Free your mind

Successful businesses begin with thinking differently from the rest, writes Marcelino Castrillo, Managing Director of Commercial Banking at Santander UK.

Rebel, rebel

Great business people are rebels, fundamentally averse to doing what everyone else is doing. The best ideas come from seeing opportunities others haven’t, taking risks others wouldn’t and most of all having the courage of your convictions, often against the odds. Of course, no matter how game-changing your ideas, if you don’t have a healthy bottom-line, you won’t have a business. But the danger with putting profit above all else is that it can constrain your thinking. All innovation, whether in your structure and methods or in the products and services you provide, needs freedom to be able to thrive.

It’s your choice

Accepted institutional wisdom is certainly useful as a foundation – no-one would dispute the value in learning from experience – but the essential thing to keep in mind as you grow your business is that very fact: it is your business. You have the ability to build it in whatever form you see fit, challenge conventional thinking in order to make the most of gaps in the market and find your point of difference in an increasingly competitive global marketplace. By doing this, you can not only think outside the box but essentially outside of the building, and give your business real purpose. This can be achieved via a number of means, from the supply chain you choose, to how you develop your employees, or in giving something back to the community in which you operate. You can also look for less conventional forms of funding or lending to support the growth of your business. Solutions such as Asset Finance and Invoice Finance tap into the strength already in your business, so you can use it to your advantage in a competitive market. Santander can also advise on our other specialist lending solutions such as our Breakthrough programme for fast growth businesses and the various Government lending schemes available.

Insurgency provides opportunities

Banks can think differently too and Santander is certainly demonstrating a unique approach to working with customers, with businesses allocated a Credit Partner to work alongside their local Santander Relationship Director. Our Credit Partners base decisions on the customer themselves, not just the paperwork, aiming to gain a better knowledge and understanding of opportunities open to businesses like you. We like to think of ourselves as an insurgent in the UK banking environment, more nimble and flexible than our competitors and constantly challenging ourselves to do things differently and, of course, better. We want to make transparent decisions, with no surprises. We were pleased to receive the following feedback from one of our customers, Mike Bishop, Finance Director of YourVets: “We probably visited every bank in the UK and Santander was able to offer the widest, most flexible package. Santander gets close to you in terms of understanding the business. Our Relationship Director really understands the nuts and bolts of what we’re doing and the issues we have. Santander came up with the solution and in total it took us about two months to actually complete on the deal, which I think is quite quick. It was a fairly painless process.”

Our aim is to give our customers the confidence to focus on moving their business forward rather than being tied up by day-to-day transactions and worries about cashflow.

If you would like to know more about how we helped YourVets and other customers, click here to see their full stories on our YouTube site: http://www.youtube.com/santanderukccb

If you would like to find out how we can help your business, or for more information about our extensive range of funding solutions, contact your local Santander Relationship Director.

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John Carroll - Helping businesses achieve International success. Head of Product Management & International Business, Santander UK