Facebook Slows Sales Growth With Apple’s Privacy Policy

Apple warned that sales growth slowed in the last quarter Of a corporation. App privacy rules continue to create uncertainty for social media companies. Facebook’s ad sales, a major source of revenue, slowed growth in the first quarter since Apple began demanding apps to ask users if they wanted to be tracked in April. This change makes it harder for advertisers to target their ads to the right audience and get information about their performance.

Facebook also announced on Monday that it will change its reporting structure to split a unit called “Facebook Reality Labs” that contains augmented reality and virtual reality products and services. This move separates the unit’s results from its core business segment, which includes its flagship Facebook platform and other apps such as Instagram. The company said its investment in Facebook Reality Labs is expected to reduce overall operating profit in 2021 by about $ 10 billion.

Revenues in the third quarter reached $ 29.01 billion, up 35% from the year-ago quarter, but below the $ 29.56 billion expected by FactSet polled analysts. This is the smallest increase since the fourth quarter of last year, well below the 52% in the first half of this year.

Advertising revenue fell slightly from the second quarter, including the largest complex market segments, the United States and Canada. European sales also declined from the previous quarter.

Facebook warned in its July earnings report that changes in privacy for Apple’s iOS operating system could compromise ad targeting capabilities in the third quarter as more people update their iPhones and iPads.Last week’s snap Ltd

Apple’s policy has accused stock prices of falling by more than 20% as earnings growth is expected to slow this quarter.

Facebook’s third-quarter earnings were up 17% to $ 9.19 billion, or $ 3.22 per share. According to the company, the number of monthly users was 3.58 billion, an increase of 12% over the previous year.

Facebook’s share price rose more than 3% in after-hours trading on Monday after the end of a regular session. The company’s stock fell 5% last week after Snap reported an advertising issue related to Apple’s changes.

Michael Nathanson, an analyst at Moffett Nathanson, said: Social media companies start a busy week of earnings for tech giants. After the bell on Tuesday, Apple and Amazon.com will report quarterly results. Ltd

Numbers scheduled for Thursday. All are expected to achieve healthy top-line growth year-over-year as they continue to embrace the digital products and services offered by consumers and businesses.

According to Jeffreys analysts, global supply chain disruptions were expected to slow Facebook’s sales growth as vendors with limited inventories cut advertising costs. Still, the investment firm said digital advertising is powerful and new advertising products from Facebook’s Instagram service will be up and running to provide a new source of revenue.

Facebook said it expects revenue to grow from $ 31.5 billion to $ 34 billion this quarter, reflecting factors such as “Apple’s iOS 14 changes continue to headwind.”

Parents of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp have also tackled other challenges. This includes scrutiny of strict regulations in Washington and criticism of the company’s operations by its own supervisory board following a series of Wall Street Journal investigations called Facebook files.

Share your thoughts

What do you think about the current state of Facebook’s business? Join the conversation below.

Last week, UK competition regulators fined Facebook £ 50.5 million ($ 69.6 million worth) for violating reporting requirements while reviewing a proposal to acquire Giphy, an online provider of animated images. Facebook has separately agreed to pay a monetary penalty as part of its settlement with the US government. It accused social media companies of illegally booking lucrative jobs for migrant workers sponsored for permanent residence, instead of looking for and considering available US workers.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has recently promoted his vision for the Metaverse. It is loosely defined as a broad future online world where people exist and interact in a shared virtual space through digital avatars. He recently described the Metaverse as the next generation of the Internet and the next chapter in his company. Facebook said last week it plans to create 10,000 jobs in Europe over the next five years to work on Metaverse-related efforts.

Zuckerberg emphasized the message in the company’s earnings report. “I’m particularly excited about the roadmap that helps build creators, commerce and the Metaverse,” he said. Facebook said it expects to increase its investment over the next few years. The company added that next year’s costs will be as much as $ 97 billion for technical staff, product staff, and infrastructure-related costs.

Sarah E. Needleman

By: Sarah E. Needleman

Source: Facebook slows sales growth with Apple’s privacy policy – Texas News Today

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Visa’s 54 Bitcoin-Linked Cards Pave The Way For Younger Generations To Spend Growing Crypto Wealth

Visa V -0.5% is taking robust steps to connect digital currencies to its global electronic payments network in order to prepare for a financial future where digital assets comprise a meaningful amount of a saver’s wealth.

To date, 54 crypto companies have partnered with Visa to enable crypto spending. Much of this progress comes from the issuance of debit cards using Visa’s FastTrack program, which is targeted towards integrating fintech companies with the Visa network. Over the summer, the firm launched two more products, a crypto rewards credit card in partnership with BlockFi and a debit card with major crypto exchange FTX, which just raised a record $900 million at an $18 billion valuation.

Other crypto-friendly card partners include CoinZoom, Coinbase, Zap, Crypto.com, Bitpanda, Fold, Upgrade, Wirex, and ZenGo.

“We saw this opportunity as these crypto platforms grow, as consumers want to gain access to the liquidity that they have held in these assets, issuing a Visa card could become a bridge that unlocks that value and enables it to be spent at any merchant that accepts Visa,” Head of Crypto at Visa, Cuy Sheffield said.

These projects have gained traction — crypto-linked Visa debit cards facilitated over $1 billion worth of transactions across Visa’s 70 million merchants worldwide in the first half of 2021 alone. $1 billion is only a small fraction of the trillion-dollar payments industry, however retail interest in cryptocurrencies is picking up, suggesting the market has room to grow, especially with younger generations. Sheffield says that no single predominant spending category has emerged in crypto-linked card use.

Survey data suggests that younger generations are increasingly diverting wealth into cryptocurrencies and digital assets. This is especially true for the most affluent members of these generations, which are especially prized by financial institutions and card networks.

A Michelmores survey of 501 ‘affluent Millennials’ in the United Kingdom found that one in five have invested in cryptocurrencies and a CNBC survey of 750 investors conducted in April and May of 2021 reports that nearly half of Millennial millionaires have at least 25% of their wealth in cryptocurrencies. Millennial interest in crypto isn’t limited to the Western world — a recent Mastercard MA -0.1% survey found that Middle Eastern and African Millennials surveyed during February and March of 2021 are especially interested in crypto with 67% agreeing they are more open to using crypto now than they were in 2020.

Meanwhile in Asia, India and China each account for 33% of the $9.4 million worth of weekly peer-to-peer payments volume in the region. In both nations, tech savvy millennials with aspirations of wealth are leading the trade. The Covid-19 pandemic only accelerated this trend by simultaneously spurring savings ambitions and interest in cryptocurrencies.

Approximately 70% of burgeoning retail brokerage platform Robinhood’s $80.9 billion assets under custody came from users aged between 18 and 40. $11.5 billion of those assets under custody are cryptocurrencies, according to the firm’s S-1 filing, and for the three months ended March 31, 2021, 17% of its total revenue was derived from transaction-based revenues earned from cryptocurrency transactions. This number is up from 4% for the last three months of 2020. All of this data suggests high interest among retail traders between 18 and 40 in crypto assets.

As retail brokerage accounts boomed, the crypto market was also hitting new heights, adding to the excitement among younger generations. Bitcoin reached its all-time-high price of $64,654 on April 14, 2021, just after the one year anniversary of the start of the pandemic. The market crashed a month later, bottoming out in July at a $1.2 trillion value for all cryptocurrency in circulation. Since then, the crypto economy has started to recover. The market broke past $2 trillion again on Wednesday, August 11, for the first time in nearly three months.

While investors are still mostly thinking long-term, a time will come when they need to generate liquidity from their holdings. Speaking to that effect, Sheffield argues that even if crypto owners intend to HODL (hold on for dear life, a crypto rallying cry), the day will come when they want to spend.

When that happens, Lisa Ellis, partner and senior equity analyst at research firm MoffettNathanson noted that they won’t want to go through the often arduous process of converting that crypto into fiat because of what Visa is doing.

“Brokerages like Fidelity figured out a long time ago that they should — and Merrill Lynch — figured out that they should issue a card against the balance in your brokerage account because that way you can keep your money in the brokerage account and you’re not constantly moving money,” Ellis said. “It’s basically the same. This is just allowing people to keep funds in what’s essentially a brokerage account and keep it in crypto. And then if they need it for spending fine and people like to do that.”

These developments are unlikely to stop with crypto-fiat payments. In pursuit of creating opportunities for seamless crypto transactions, Visa is finding new ways to appeal to crypto platforms who are looking to expand client offerings. Among these upgrades is the ability for crypto firms to settle payments using a dollar-pegged and quickly-growing stablecoin, USDC. As of writing, USDC’s market cap stands at $27.39 billion.

Typically when transactions are carried out with a crypto-linked debit card offered by a company like Crypto.com, that company converts the crypto to fiat and then sends the funds to Visa, who then sends the funds to the merchant’s bank for the appropriate amount and in the correct currency. Through a partnership with the first federally chartered digital asset bank, Anchorage, Visa will now accept USDC, instead of fiat, from card providers like Crypto.com.

“The goal is if we can make it easier for crypto platforms to issue Visa cards and interact with Visa we think many more — and we’re already seeing a ton of demand in crypto companies coming to us — will have a path to creating a Visa card,” Sheffield said. “We are committed to Visa being the preferred network for crypto wallets and so we want to meet them where they are.”

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Source: Visa’s 54 Bitcoin-Linked Cards Pave The Way For Younger Generations To Spend Growing Crypto Wealth

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China’s Internet Tycoons Suffer $13.6 Billion Wealth Drop As Regulatory Crackdown Triggers Market Sell-Off

China’s internet billionaires suffered the biggest losses on the list of the world’s richest people on Monday, as spooked investors continued to dump stocks targeted in Beijing’s widening regulatory crackdown.

Meituan founder Wang Xing, NetEase Chief Executive Williang Ding, Pinduoduo founder Colin Zheng Huang and Tencent Chairman Pony Ma racked up a combined $13.6 billion plunge in their wealth in just one day, according to the World’s Real-Time Billionaires List. The hits to their fortunes come as a sell-off in Chinese education and technology stocks continued to spread to other sectors, with investors pondering which companies could fall under Beijing’s scrutiny next.

“[The crackdown] is a continuation of previous policies of anti-monopoly and stop the disorderly expansion of capital,” says Shen Meng, director of Beijing-based boutique investment bank Chanson and Co. “China also wants to reduce discontent among different factions of the society, and alleviate overall pressure.”

For example, following reports of long working hours and dangerous conditions, regulators are now seeking to adopt safeguards to protect food delivery riders by requiring their employers to pay more in insurance and making sure the couriers earn above minimum wage. The announcement of the new guidelines sent shares of Tencent-backed food delivery giant Meituan, which is already subject to an ongoing anti-trust probe, tumbling by as much as 10% in Hong Kong on Tuesday, after plunging 14% a day earlier.

Tencent, which also backs online marketplace Pinduoduo, lost 5% in Hong Kong today, after regulators ordered the company to give up exclusive music copyrights. The company has already pledged to comply with the directive.

In the meantime, Beijing is also seeking to alleviate some of the financial burden of parents in support of its efforts to boost declining birthrates by targeting after-school tutoring. The sector once grew rapidly as students went online to study during the pandemic, but has recently been plagued by complaints of misleading pricing and false advertising.

NetEase’s New York-listed online learning unit Youdao lost more than 60% of its market value over the last three trading days. The U.S.-listed shares of Chinese education firms Gaotu Techedu, TAL Education and New Oriental Education & Technology all plunged a similar amount, after regulators unveiled a sweeping set of rules over the weekend. It requires tutoring firms seeking to teach school syllabus to register as non-profits, as well as stop offering courses over weekends and during school vacations. The companies are also banned from going public or raising capital.

“To remain listed, they may need to spin off the businesses that are in violation of government rules, ” says Tommy Wang, a Hong Kong-based analyst at China Merchants Securities. He adds that as much as 90% of the companies’ revenues could be hit as after-school tutoring for elementary and middle school students account for the bulk of their sales.

In this uncertain environment, foreign investors would be wise to take into account policy risks and re-assess the outlook for investing in Chinese companies, according to Chanson and Co.’s Shen. The crackdown on education companies, for example, has left global investors ranging from SoftBank to Temasek struggling to find a way out of their positions. They’re among investors who had placed multi-billion dollar bets on Chinese education startups like Yuanfudao, Zuoyebang and Yi Qi Zuo Ye, which are now also being subjected to heightened regulatory scrutiny.

Claudia Wang, a Shanghai-based partner at consultancy Oliver Wyman, says one option for investors is to simply wait, and exit when the startups find a market that is on par with the online education industry that was valued at 257.3 billion yuan in 2020, and transition their business. The wait-and-see attitude is already taking hold among some investors in public markets, according to Nomura securities.

“Bruised and shaken investors are now likely to ponder which other areas could potentially become the next target of expanded state control,” analysts including Chetan Seth and Yunosuke Ikeda wrote in a recent research note. “Until news flow on regulation starts abating (no signs of it yet), we think most foreign investors will likely remain on the sidelines despite some areas of the market looking attractive over medium term on valuation grounds.”

I am a Beijing-based writer covering China’s technology sector. I contribute to Forbes, and previously I freelanced for SCMP and Nikkei. Prior to Beijing, I spent six months as an intern at TIME magazine’s Hong Kong office. I am a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University. Email: ywywyuewang@gmail.com Twitter: @yueyueyuewang

Source: China’s Internet Tycoons Suffer $13.6 Billion Wealth Drop As Regulatory Crackdown Triggers Market Sell-Off

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Critics:

The Chinese government’s crackdown on big technology companies will likely last for a few years, which means those stocks aren’t a buy for now, a BlackRock portfolio manager said Wednesday.

Since autumn, regulators have ramped up scrutiny on the country’s tech giants such as Alibaba and Tencent. After years of relatively unrestrained rapid growth, becoming some of the biggest companies in the world, the corporations now face fines and new rules aimed at curbing monopolistic practices.

“This regulatory cycle is long-lasting compared to 2018,” Lucy Liu, portfolio manager for global emerging markets equities at BlackRock, said during a mid-year Asia investment outlook event.

In contrast with that period of increased scrutiny, which ran for about six months to a year, she said that this time, “we think it’s going to be a multi-year cycle.”

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How Sales Enablement Can Drive Revenue Growth in 2021

How did your leadership priorities change in 2020? If you started paying more attention to the sales enablement needs of your organization, you’re not alone.

According to recent HubSpot research, 65% of sales leaders who outperformed revenue targets in 2020 reported having a dedicated person or team working on sales enablement efforts instead of making it an initiative someone works on off the side of their desk.

[New Data] The 2021 Sales Enablement Report

For sales organizations that have been waiting to implement dedicated sales enablement measures — the time is now. With 2021 right around the corner, intentional sales enablement is a must-have for organizations that want to remain competitive in the future.

HubSpot recently sat down with Chris Pope, Director of Sales at Crayon, to discuss how companies can implement sales enablement strategies that can move the needle and drive revenue growth.

“Crayon defines sales enablement as providing our account executives with the resources and content they need to win more deals. Closing deals is more important than ever, especially in today’s competitive market where there are fewer deals to close,” he says.

In 2020, Crayon placed even greater emphasis on sales enablement to support their sales force. “We’ve put even more effort into making sure that our sales teams have the resources they need, simply because every deal matters more than ever,” says Pope.

How to Improve Sales Enablement for Your Team

1. Use data to inform your sales enablement content.

Crayon uses data to inform sales enablement decisions. According to Pope, his team relies on “velocity reports” to determine what areas of the sales process reps need the most support with.

“Velocity reports tell us what our reps conversion rates are at every stage of the sales funnel. How many opportunities are turning into discovery calls? How many discovery calls are turning into demos? How many demos are turning into proposals? And how many proposals do we send out that turn into closed business?” says Pope.

“We leverage that data to inform us where each individual rep needs to spend the most time, and where managers need to spend time training individual contributors.”

From an organizational level, this approach helps sales leaders know how to support sales managers and reps, and provides valuable insight into the type of training and content would be most effective.

Two examples of enablement content Crayon leadership has provided to their sales team include:

Call Recordings

“We love call recordings. We not only have call recordings of what the perfect call sounds like, we also have recordings of ideal discovery calls, effective demos, and successful closing calls. We share these recordings with reps who may need help in those areas, and we share them broadly across the organization so everyone is on the same page,” Pope says.

Battle Cards

Battle cards are a valuable tool for preparing reps to speak to features and objections related to your product. Crayon relies heavily on battle cards to ensure sales reps understand what they’re selling inside and out.

“We use our own product to make sure that our individual contributors have the most up to date messaging on how we position against our competition. This knowledge has been crucial not only for our organization, but for our customers as well,” says Pope.

2. Focus on sales team culture.

Chances are, you’re familiar with the term “company culture” — the idea that a company should have a shared set of beliefs, values, and practices. But when was the last time you assessed the culture of your sales team?

Sales teams are often dynamic organizations with motivated team members whose ability to sell is critical to the health of a company. Building strong rapport among members of the sales team and having a culture of open communication, especially in a remote environment, is an effective way to support sales enablement.

Feeling supported and included while selling remotely can be challenging for reps. For Crayon, sales team cohesion is a high priority.

“We’ve done our best to create a team atmosphere. We have daily calls where the entire sales team is on together, we have a peer program where our more experienced reps are paired with less experienced reps to offer coaching and mentorship, and we’re creating cross-functional opportunities for our pipeline generation team to work closer with our closing team,” says Pope.

These activities build trust across the team, and strengthen communication among sales managers and reps, creating a better environment to tackle sales enablement issues as they arise.

3. Prioritize sales enablement at each level of the organization.

At Crayon, sales enablement is an all-hands-on-deck initiative from the top down.

“Sales enablement is a team effort at Crayon. It starts at the top with our Senior Vice President of Sales, who delivers insight on broad topics and training related to overarching sales themes such as a demo workflow, or how to run a closing call,” says Pope.

“The managers and directors are responsible for individual training tailored to the needs of their reps. This can include listening in on at least a few calls for each individual contributor weekly, and providing regular feedback.”

In addition to the sales enablement work of leadership, Crayon focuses heavily on team selling to get everyone involved.

“If one of our reps is great at positioning our product against a competitor’s or they’re strong at demoing a certain aspect of our platform, we’ll invite their team members to tune into their sales calls so they can learn from them.”

Everybody within the organization plays a role in our sales enablement.

In 2020, sales managers at Crayon took a hands-on approach to coaching reps who had opportunities for improvement.

“We’ve really made it a focus to make sure managers are involved in more calls. Managers are putting time aside to give individual contributors and feedback that they need after calls, and benchmarking performance after every stage of the sales cycle,” says Pope.

According to Pope, if a rep is struggling with a specific part of the sales process, Crayon’s team will “focus our training on the specific aspect of the process they’re struggling with to help them improve and get their overall win rate up.”

4. Don’t wait to give feedback.

When sales managers and seasoned team members are coaching reps, the Crayon team makes it a point to provide feedback quickly.

For example, if Pope were to listen in to a rep’s sales call with a prospect, he would schedule 15 minutes with the rep right after the call to deliver feedback on how it went.

“When you let time pass, the call is not as fresh in the rep’s mind, and your feedback is not going to be as direct as it would be if you delivered it right away.”

5. Make sure sales managers feel supported.

Sales managers often have a lot on their plate. They are responsible for coaching and leading their reps to success, and are accountable for their team’s performance to leadership. For growing companies, relieving pressure from sales managers is crucial for a healthy organization.

“As you continue to scale your teams you don’t want your managers to feel overwhelmed. You want to make sure they have enough time in the day to give every individual contributor the attention that they need to to perform their best.” says Pope.

Pope says Crayon focuses on conscious staffing and resourcing to avoid sales manager burnout:

“If we know we’re going to hire a new group of sales reps, we make sure we already have enough managers in place who have the bandwidth to lead.

So when those people start we don’t have a new manager meeting new reps, we have experienced managers working with new reps, and we make sure that team members have the data they need to understand what their path to success will be as an individual contributor.”

Improving Team Morale in 2021

Per HubSpot’s 2021 Sales Enablement Report, 40% of sales leaders expected to miss their revenue targets this year. That means sales enablement efforts are not only necessary for growth — they are critical for survival.

In a competitive landscape where sales teams are working with volatile markets and buyer uncertainty, keeping morale high is more challenging than ever. Pope shares why communication is Crayon’s greatest tool for keeping employees engaged.

“Morale has been all over the map for different members of the team. At Crayon, we never go a day without checking in on our reps,” he says. “I try to at least have two times a day where I’m asking them how their days are going, what they’ve been working on, what calls have gone well, what calls haven’t gone well, and asking how can I continue to support them.”

This approach to communication happens at the organizational level as well.

“Crayon has done a really great job of communicating, being honest about when we might go back into the office, and making sure we’re meeting with folks who are concerned about not having an office atmosphere to make sure that they’re comfortable with their remote work setup,” says Pope.

If you’re looking for more advice on boosting sales rep productivity and morale, check out this post for advice from an Aircall sales leader on navigating employee fatigue.

By: Lestraundra Alfred @writerlest

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HubSpot

Learn more about Sales Enablement: Why You Need Sales Enablement: https://clickhubspot.com/Sales-Enable… The Sales Enablement Certification will teach you how to develop a marketing-driven sales enablement strategy. This course was designed with marketing managers in mind, but other marketers, as well as sales leaders, can benefit from learning the principles involved in this approach to sales enablement.

This course is made up of 12 classes and a 60-question exam. Completing this course will help you: 1. Align your marketing and sales teams around business-level goals 2. Define your target customer using buyer personas and Jobs to Be Done 3. Implement marketing processes that will provide your sales team with a steady flow of qualified leads 📔 Grow Your Career and Business with HubSpot Academy: https://clickhubspot.com/Popular-Courses 📔 Favorite Free Certification Courses: • Social Media Marketing Course: https://clickhubspot.com/Social-Media… • SEO Training Course: https://clickhubspot.com/SEO-Training… • Inbound Course: https://clickhubspot.com/Inbound-Cert… • Inbound Marketing Course: https://clickhubspot.com/Inbound-Mark… • Email Marketing Course: https://clickhubspot.com/Email-Market… • Inbound Sales Course: https://clickhubspot.com/Inbound-Sale… • Taking your Business Online Course: https://clickhubspot.com/Business-Online

Royalty Finance Provides The Key to Becoming The Master of Your Own Business Destiny

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The global pandemic has dealt yet another blow to business in general, and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in particular.

Even at the beginning of the year, the level of indebtedness across this community was untenable. To make matters worse, recent research has highlighted that a quarter of a million companies are at risk of collapsing under £35bn ($44bn) of unsustainable debt taken on during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is foreboding, to say the least.

However, the outlook need not all be doom and gloom. Alternative and more flexible forms of finance have been on the rise since the Global Financial Crisis sent shockwaves through the markets in 2008. Now, 12 years on, businesses have more options than ever before when it comes to finding an innovative capital solution which promotes, rather than encumbers, growth. Evaluating these will be essential for management teams as they look to stabilise their business in a post-pandemic world and create a stronger growth platform for 2021.

The biggest sector you have never heard of.

Royalty Finance is one such solution. It is probably one of the biggest sectors you have never heard of. Popularised in North America, this form of alternative financing is estimated to be worth around $50 billion in the region and has been recognised as a viable capital solution for companies operating across a range of sectors since the 1980s.

The solution sees well-established companies receive capital in return for a slice of their revenues.  Models vary, but typically royalty financing works as a type of ‘corporate mortgage’, where a business exchanges a small percentage of its revenues over a long period of time in return for capital today. It is because of its ability to provide supportive capital which does not saddle the business with re-financing risk that its relative obscurity in the UK and Europe is quickly changing.

The advantages are clear: because it is passive, unlike other options, royalty financing is the only source of capital which enables business owners to realize their long-term business goals without compromising owner control, adding amortizing bank debt to the business or, in most cases, diluting equity shares.

Since the royalty company is taking a slice of revenue from the business, it also means that the interest of the two partners are aligned (arguably, unlike other traditional finance methods), with the repayment percentage adjusted annually to reflect any movement in an investee’s revenues. This means that it represents a true partnership model.

As an additional benefit, the company’s repayments cover the principal as well as the interest. Many companies use the money to replace existing short-term debt to allow them to grow.  Royalty financing eliminates re-financing risk because it has a payback over decades, hence the analogy to a ‘corporate mortgage’. As well as being used to refinance debt, other common applications include M&A, shareholder restructuring and organic expansion.

A transatlantic shift

The transatlantic jump for royalty financing originally came as a result of a shift in how SMEs perceived and dealt with their banks on the back of the Global Financial Crisis. Just two years ago, the UK’s Federation of Small Business (FSB) reported that small credit business approvals had fallen to a 30-month low, with only 60% of small firms that applied for credit being successful, establishing a significant SME funding gap and frustrating growth.

Fast forward to today, and the coronavirus has shifted this sentiment stagnation a full 180o to the other extreme. The UK government’s decision to act as a guarantor for business loans to prop up the private sector during the pandemic, however well-meaning, has created a staggering debt mountain.  Worryingly, the implications for the SME sector, which employs 60% of the UK’s private sector workers, and its future growth prospects are even more eye-watering.

Banking industry executives fear that the loans will lead to widespread corporate failures in 2021 when companies must start paying interest on the debt, leading to a swathe of job losses. Even among businesses that can afford to service their loans, debt impedes a companies’ ability to invest and grow, thereby creating a significant drag on any economic revival after the Covid-19 pandemic.

The UK government has already started work on how to tackle the corporate debt mountain. A likely solution will be to enable the debt to be swapped by the government for equity stakes in businesses, much like we saw during the global financial crisis. This will make many of our SMEs accountable to UK Government, presenting an array of new potential headaches for management.

This raises the question: is this the only way? After the initial drop in revenue experienced by companies almost across the board in April 2020, when the pandemic first struck UK shores, many have started experiencing a relative upturn in trading. For those businesses which have a proven, long term track record of profitability, but have taken a hit during unprecedented times, there lies the opportunity to evaluate their options, refinance this debt and once again make themselves the masters of their own destiny.

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A new tomorrow

The accelerated adoption of pre-existing trends, whether it be flexible working or digitalisation, during the pandemic has been a hot topic over recent months. In my mind, this extends to the application of alternative finance as well.  In times of short-term uncertainty, long term capital, which does not need to be continuously repaid or have an identified exit strategy in place, represents a no-brainer for management teams.

The businesses of today benefit from a financial landscape that is more diverse than ever before. Now that the dust has settled following the initial shockwaves sent through the business community at the start of the outbreak, management teams have the perfect opportunity to take their future into their own hands and ensure that their capital structure works for, not against, their business.

With its aforementioned advantages and amid a quickly changing finance environment among SMEs in particular, royalty financing is set to grow from strength the strength across the UK and Europe. You could call its sudden rise a surprise, but all the right conditions have been there for growth of the industry.

Neil Johnson
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