Kicking the can down the Road !

You can only kick a can down the road so far before you have to make a decision. Something we learnt at school, you could always put off revising for an exam for so long before having to cram in your revision.

Yet, looking at leaders both-in the UK and Europe, they seem to think you can keeping kicking a can almost forever. Then they discover, they are mortal, and have to make a decision, which is a great deal harder with all the can kicking, than if they had made the decision earlier.

Let us take a quick glimpse at Europe, they all looked with a “ Nelson eye” at Italy’s difficulties hoping that it would not be a problem on their watch! Merkel, has discovered that she is far from impregnable, and is desperately looking for another autobahn to kick her particular can down.

Other countries are taking their own routes with their problems. Brussels should have been sorting out all of these cans years ago, but thought they knew best, as the well known phrase” error coco” seems to fit.

Let’s not think it is just a EU problem, we have wasted over two years discussing, a hard or a soft Brexit, as if it was a boiled egg! Talk about can kicking! We know when the road ends, and still they kick!

Business need certainty, they thrive on clarity, they expand and invest on both. However, on both sides of the coin, the EU and the UK know that they will eventually stumble into an agreement, and the world will still require goods and imports from both sides.

That leaves opportunities for exporters and manufacturers to exploit. At the moment, rates are at a record low, and there are hints now of an increase in late Summer.

Leasing is fixed at the date of signing, so if as expected rates will slowly increase, you can benefit now from the record low rates. Oak Leasing offer fixed term contracts, they end when they say they will, no minimum term contracts. Also no annual or anniversary fees with Oak. Just straight Leasing contracts, what a refreshing change.

Many manufacturers and customers are fully aware that they perhaps require new equipment, that is more cost effective, cheaper to run, and more profitable over the longer term.

The choice Oak gives you is simple , you can either carry on kicking the can down the road, and postpone your decision, being fully aware that at some time a final decision has to be made, or learn from what is happening in the world around, the can will the morph itself into a far larger problem, possibly effecting your production line , your hotel or restaurant smooth running, or your IT cannot cope with the latest updates.

Oak are very efficient at removing cans from roads, both in the UK, and in Europe. For a straight talking experienced UK and European Leasing company, just give us a call or complete the contact form here.

Enjoy the Summer!

 

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Tricks of Nostalgia!

European equipment leasing specialists Oak Leasing

The good old days !

Years ago, there was a very popular TV programme called ” The Good Old Days”, where the audience would dress up in costumes of the turn of the century,  and it was based on an old music hall setting. There was and still is a definite feeling that when we were all younger, “things” were far better, Summers were hotter and longer, pop music was far better, and our dress sense was, well…. a word comes to mind, unique!

I am convinced that the decision for Brexit was based on this feeling of nostalgia! The percentage of younger people who wished to remain was far higher than those wishing to leave, but the decison has been made, and we all move on.

As we start to approach the endgame of the Brexit negotiations,the general feeling of business uncertainity is beginning to grow. Some of the media seem to report as if we are approaching the land of milk and honey; I do not share their view, and speaking to manufacturers and customers in both the UK and Europe, they do not believe this view.

If you are thinking about the past, how it used to be, and this will apply to both those think about the Empire, and those who think we should have stayed in the EU, I would simply say this, you cannot fall over something behind you, you have to look ahead at the future, that is where the obstacles are waiting for you.

Over the last year, Oak has been approached by more and more UK ,European, and even Australian  manufacturers who are firmly looking straight ahead, looking to the future, and using leasing to its full advantage to increase their sales. The size of these deals are not small €20K – €50K deals, but starting at over €150- to €5mK. Our unique panel of European funders ensure that we can offer a bespoke  european equipment leasing service to an increasing number of companies. From online web portals, to sales training in almost every European language, with documentation to match.

One of our manufacturers  summed up what we offered them  and their sales team in Europe, ” we did not believe that this was possible”. They were only looking ahead.

Hindsight and nostalgia make a dangerous partnership, they simply slow progress, and makes companies almost stand still. Companies will always make mistakes, Oak has, over the last 25 years, but we always look ahead and drive forward with new ideas, and  renewed enthusiasm to assist others in reaching their individual goals, either as a new start business or a major manufacturer looking to move into new markets.

Don’t look back, you are not going that way!

Posted in Equipment lease blog, Equipment Leasing, European Leasing, leasing for SMEs | 1 Comment

Our customers are too big for leasing!!

Our customers are too big for leasing, they are a large PLC! How often have we heard that line over the last 30- 40 years? Or we only deal with large PLC’s, and they do not need leasing, they are cash rich!  That is so, so true. The reason they do not perhaps need leasing is the fact that suppliers are giving them 90 – 120 days credit on a rolling basis

In truth, the suppliers are funding their customers for their own equipment, as Baldrick would say, “I have a cunning plan!!!”

It appears from a recent survey this year,  47% of SME’s say that their customers do not pay on the agreed terms, the amount outstanding is an amazing  £26.3 billion. The survey goes a stage further, 29% of SME’s have to extend their bank overdrafts or the directors are forced to reduce their salary to keep to ensure that their business has sufficient cash.

In light of recent events, perhaps suppliers of all equipment might consider saying to large firms, you have to lease the equipment, or cash on delivery. By utilising leasing and being paid perhaps within a maximum of say 48 hours, the saving on a supplier’s cash flow is immense, saving on worrying,  night after night , incalculable.

Many businesses have forgotten some of the slightly hidden benefits of using leasing, apart from  being the best sales tool in any sales persons’s box, it also seems apparently to aid a good night’s sleep!!

 

 

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The Pantomime Season

Here we all are as we approach the end of a very rollercoaster year.  I think that the pantomime season started quite early this year, my reckoning was before the Summer, but I could be wrong. Many of our favourite characters have been seen, The Ugly Sisters, Madam Twankey,and not forgetting the Genie! Finally common sense has prevailed.

However, we have now completed part one of Brexit, well so we are told. The key phrase in any pantomime is ” behind you”, and I hope that all the posturing is well behind us as we look to the New Year.

Sometimes, you look to the new year with a sense of trepidation, and uncertainty. This new year is different. This year will see new beginnings, people wishing to set out on their own or with like-minded friends, new starts, full of enthusiasm and expectations. It is down to companies like Oak to support these new firms and help them grow their businesses.

As with new beginnings, there will be new challenges for all of us. No one knows how this year will develop, but with new challenges, there are always new opportunities in every type of business, which must be seized firmly.  The Romans had a phrase for this, “Carpe Diem” and they knew a few things about expansion into new countries!!

If any company finds a gap in their chosen market, they might need extra machinery or equipment. That is where funders and leasing companies must support these firms.

This year, Oak has moved into new markets, seized new opportunities, and in the coming year will continue, with three very exciting new ventures. In one of these ventures, it was the major overseas supplier who approached Oak and asked for help to expand in Europe.

If you are a new start, we can help you with some of the best leasing rates available to you, we remember when we were a new start over 25 years ago.  If you are a company who spots an opportunity, and requires finance, please just use our calculator, and give us a call. For larger deals over £100K, please just use our contact form.

And finally, back to Europe, one of the most discussed subjects of many company’s minds.  Do not dismiss the European market as too hard, too difficult; is may possess many challenges, but outweighing this is the numerous opportunities that it can offer in the way of new business. We have helped many suppliers, varying from smaller companies to very well-known market leaders. They saw the opportunities, and went for them, let us help you seize your day

 

 

 

 

Posted in Equipment lease blog, Equipment Leasing, European Leasing, leasing for SMEs | 1 Comment

I know nothing!

Here we are again, as Laurel and Hardy would say, “That’s another mess mess you got me into” or even going further to Victor Meldrews’ catch phrase, ” I don’t believe it !” How we are constantly putting ourselves in positions that everybody will lose.

In this pantomime period that we all find ourselves, we cannot say the phase that is used at every show, ” It’ behind you ” because it all in front of us. The odds on another election in a year must be very high, a change of a leader, again very high. All businesses want and requires is certainty. And that is in very short supply.

But even with all of this going on around us, UK firms are growing, selling very well into the world markets, taking on more people to help them grow their business. We are very resilient, and determined to keep our companies safe, growing and successful.

The export boom has pushed manufacturing growth to a three year high, albeit on the weakness of sterling. But all of this could be scuppered by an animal, with very large ears, normally found in a corner of a room , trumpets loudly , and has two tusks. Even the EU only has one Tusk!

It is imperative that both sides of the Brexit discussions move very much on a pragmatic approach. I think that the main key to successful negotiations is that it is a score draw for both parties. No one must come out saying we won, they lost. That is the politics of the playground , not grown up countries.

We have found over the last few months that large companies, are turning to leasing as a crucial sales aid to increasing their sales. This is very apparent in Europe, where two very large companies have chosen Oak as their  leasing partner, so I know that we must be doing something right.

Over the next few months, everybody will have a break or a holiday, and hopefully come back refreshed ready for what lies ahead. Normally , I could safely say what lies in front of us, but the last year has proved, continuing on the quote front . That I am just like Manuel from Faulty Towers, ” I know nothing”

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Leasing is the new coffee!!

Leasing and coffee are very similar in many ways. Both are very popular, both have a slight mystique, but they are more alike than you would think! I was always taught at the start to make the audience smile, so here goes, ” Waiter, this coffee tastes like mud,… thank you sir, it was ground this morning” I know, there is nothing like an old joke, and that was nothing like an old joke!

There is serious side to that, many companies view leasing as old hat, very similar to banks and other institutions. But in reality, it has also helped companies grow, and expand over the last 40 years, and is still coming up with new ideas.

There are numerous varieties of coffee, as there are in leasing, but let me expand further. Years ago, there was ground coffee, then granulated, and if you were very lucky, filter coffee. Now of course, they are too numerous to shake a stick at,  decaf,  flat white, cappuccino, espresso etc. Leasing has also changed from just straight asset leasing , to  lease purchase, which was a posh name for HP really, lease rental, operating leasing, and of course sales aid leasing.

First thing in the morning , most people will have a coffee to help kick start the brain to face the day ahead, leasing can and does help kick start new business to open their doors for the first time.

Strengths of coffee are varied, double expresso, macchiato, to suit individual tastes. Leasing is the same, however for strength, substitute rate, new starts require more strength, perhaps DG’s, larger companies will not require the same sort of initial strength, as their accounts will qualify their strength.

The key is both leasing and coffee can be personalised to individual tastes and businesses. Whatever the equipment, whatever the taste, leasing will help you reach the next stage, if you are a start-up, it can help you acquire the equipment you need to start, or as an established company, help you seize other business opportunities, for growth to complete a new order, or to grow your business in other ways. With business opportunities, the window only stays open for a short time, leasing helps you through the window.

With Oak, there is a subtle difference, we all like trying different coffees, Italian, French, Swedish, the smell and aroma reflecting the different beans and methods of roasting. With Oak, we offer leasing to the whole of Europe, not just Italy, France and Sweden.

So if you are new start business, or an existing company looking to sell into Europe, come and smell the coffee with Oak Leasing, the taste is great wherever you are!!

 

 

 

Posted in Equipment lease blog, Equipment Leasing, European Leasing, leasing for SMEs | 3 Comments

Pragmatism Required

Definition of word pragmatism in dictionary

With elections, both Presidential in the USA, and national in Europe on the horizon, uncertainty is spreading. The word uncertainty is a word that business does not like to hear, it normally means reduced investment in new equipment and projects.

If you think that this is just applicable to the UK, you are very far off the mark. Uncertainty is also in Europe, countries like Sweden could see a large drop in exports, as Sweden’s exports to the United Kingdom amounted to $9.8 billion or 7% of its overall exports. We are in just behind Germany who have 7.3% , and it is not just Sweden, the sherry manufacturers in Spain have estimated that their sales could fall by as much at 15%.

I have just returned from The Netherlands, again very concerned as they export 9.5% to the UK. France and Germany again about 7% of their exports. The sobering fact is that 53% of our imports come from other EU countries, according to the latest figures, that amounts to £290 billion.The UK exports about £200 billion, but 80 % of that will be services, like banking and currency dealings.

Whilst I am a strong believer in the EU, I take with a pinch of salt when countries like France and Belgium, state that they wish to punish us. The question is, with stagnant EU growth, could they really afford to? You cannot keep members in a club by using threats.

Something that has not reared its head yet  is the UK’s binding requirements to the EU budget for the next 2- 3 years. This amounts to at least £20 billion. This is not just a very simple divorce, but an incredibly complictated one, and crucially, with 28 parties who have to agree!

I think that it will be soon time for a pragmatic approach from all parties. This I suspect will only start after the German elections in November next year, but the French elections early next year could shine a light on the possibility. I think that we might hear a lot of bluster from all sides, but this is definitely not the solution. Megaphone diplomacy, has never worked if you look back at history, sorry, I forgot, politicians have never looked back at history to learn by other’s mistakes !

In this uncertainty, there are currently huge opportunities for exporters to take advantage of the fall in Sterling to undercut other EU companies. If you couple this with an European leasing option, you have a window of opportunity. I have no idea of how long this could last, but my grandfather would say, “ make hay whilst the sun shines”

I think to summarise, uncertainty could spread doubt, but it also has opportunities! When the dust settles, and we have left the EU, whilst neither side will claim a victory, I predict that it will be a score draw. Any other result would be defeat to both parties, and neither the U.K. or the EU could financially afford such a defeat.

I am writing this from Schipol, for one reason. A large Dutch medical company chose Oak to be it’s leasing partner, in Europe, but also the UK. Together we have to be stronger than being divided. That gives me optimism that the uncertainty which we feel now, is only for a time, and as we all know too well, time passes. “Tempus fugit!”

Posted in Equipment lease blog, Equipment Leasing, European Leasing, leasing for SMEs | 3 Comments

Nothing New Here !!

Nebra_sky_disk_

I don’t suppose many of us had ever heard of the Nebra Sky Disk. It is not linked to any broadcast channel, or broadband provider, others may be available!! The Nebra Sky Disk is a Bronze age disk, found near Halle, in Germany, which enabled the people to know when to plant their crops. When the star cluster, The Pleiades, was in position to the new moon, it would have been early Spring, the best time to plant crops. The question you ask is, how is this linked to european equipment leasing?

The answer is very simple, when they initially analysed the disk, they found that surprisingly the gold came from Cornwall, and the Tin in the bronze, also came from Cornwall. This is about 1600 BC! Long before the Europe was really thought of, we were trading, in our log boats across the continent. I am unsure if those early traders used leasing, but it shows that we have been selling into Europe for thousands of years.

The question is now, why do we have a hang up with selling into Europe? Do we have better communication than those original log boats, can we travel quicker, do we have currency that we can use? Of course we have, there is absolutely no excuse whatsoever in why companies do not trade and sell more into Europe. It is by far our largest export market, and will remain so, Brexit or no Brexit.

The key is very simple, it is like learning to ride a bike, you start with stabilisers, and then when you are confident, off they come, and away you go. Just let Oak Leasing be your stabilisers when thinking of selling into Europe. We have over 24 years of European leasing experience. If traders from the Bronze Age could do it, you most certainly can.

There was no European Union when this disk was made, Brussels was still marsh land, and when we do leave the EU, we will leave the Union, not Europe. If you wish to move into the UK’s largest market place, please just give us a call.

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Business as Usual!

Business man pointing the text: Business As Usual

The talking is over, the result is known, so the UK  has decided to leave the EU. Whilst I consider this a wrong move, I would say it just proves what a mature democracy we have in the UK.  All of us now have to look to the future, and start working with the new situation that we find ourselves.

Firstly, all of our European funders have confirmed that it will be very much business as usual. The negotiations will take over two years from now, so lets just work as we have done over the past 24 years.  It is times like these where suppliers both in Europe and the UK will require help and assistance in all of their european leasing programmes. This is very much a time where experience will pay dividends.

Secondly, the UK funders have enough cash to continue to lend to business, and Mark Carney has just confirmed that the Bank of England will support the market. He started that ” BoE would provide an extra £250bn additional funds through its normal central banking facilities and substantial foreign currency lending to banks if they run short of dollars, euros or yen” So whilst there will be uncertainty, support is ready to be given.

The half glass scenario is a very good indication of how successful businesses will seize opportunities. The pound will be lower for quite a few months I would think, so that will make the prices of our equipment or products that you wish to sell into the EU lower, and therefore, very competitively priced. If you add on that you have an European  leasing or HP solution, it could help you swing the deal into your favour.

So in summary, we have all joined Captain James T Kirk, and together we are boldly going into the future.

Posted in Equipment lease blog, Equipment Leasing, European Leasing, leasing for SMEs | 2 Comments

To boldly go where no one has gone… before, well only Greenland!

Alien mothership near Earth for fantasy backgrounds

The words of Captain James T Kirk came to mind when thinking about the possibility of a Brexit; “To boldly go where no one has gone before” well not strictly true, Greenland did leave in 1985, however, not from the EU, but the EEC. As far as I am aware I cannot recall any BBC or ITV news announcement saying that we have secured a large contract with any company or government that was linked to the Klingon Empire. Joking aside, the economy is far too serious, and important to risk on a whim and a prayer.

All of the facts offered by both sides have been manipulated, either slightly or hugely. The one key fact that cannot be changed or argued about is the amount of commerce, both by products or services that the UK economy generates with the Eurozone. If we stay in, this will grow, slightly, I would think; but if the Brexit becomes a reality, business will drop by quite a large margin, as tariffs will be implemented.

This will affect both UK companies as well as European countries. The fact that about 40% of Swedish exports arrive in the UK will shock many. If we take this a stage further, if the UK had problems with a large market, it would naturally make companies look to other countries for exports. That is natural, but the crucial matter is they will also look to others for their imports. That’s just the way of life.

Countries and business will say, why look to the UK for new products to import as they have treated us so poorly. The loss of the British market will not make them feel warmly to us at all, quite the opposite I would imagine. There are certain EU countries that will relish the opportunity to ensuring that any trade agreement  with us will takes years and years, to give their own economies the chance to grow and capture markets, where we used to be the major players. If you start to then look as the other EU countries that a Brexit would affect, the figures start to look quite scary.

Some people will say, it is all ok, look what Canada has achieved with the EU.  The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is a freshly negotiated EU-Canada treaty, but, and it is a very big but, this has taken 7 years and still it is not quite not quite finalised. If you think we can survive well for seven years without our largest market, I doubt your sanity.

Mr Gove this week said that he saw an “independent” Britain alongside Bosnia, Serbia, Albania and Ukraine. I respect him for being honest, but if Mr Gove thinks we will be on the same level as these nations, no disrespect to them, but it would be similar to dropping from the Premier League to say the Vauxhall Conference.

At the moment, the UK received the largest inward direct foreign investment within the EU. Let me clarify this, this is not just EU firms moving into Britain, but large Asian companies, moving their manufacturing to the UK precisely due to the fact that we have full access to the huge EU market. If we leave, you can naturally expect that the investment will drop, and eventually, those companies would relocate in the new EU market.

As a leading European Equipment leasing broker, we firmly believe that we are better staying within the EU, not to say that it is perfect by a long way, but the financial gamble is far too large to risk.

Whatever happens in the weeks ahead let me end with these words, ” Live long and prosper”!

 

 

Posted in Equipment lease blog, Equipment Leasing, European Leasing, leasing for SMEs | 14 Comments