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Raising finance for a seasonal website - UK
where to obtain a SB loan for marketing and cashflow?

 11:00 am on Sep 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

My site has seasonal sales. The season ends in a few weeks :(

I'm looking to obtain finance to a) help with cashflow during the quiet period, b) to allow me to spend on marketing to try and boost sales during the winter.

What I usually do off season is to return to IT contracting. But have you seen the state of the UK market recently? I'd earn more window cleaning. Seriously.

So I'm thinking of getting a small business loan which its mostly for maintaining cashflow whilst sales plummet by a 1/5th, but also to finance an effective marketing campaign.

I dont advertise and rely on word of mouth and repeat customers for income. What I want to do is to sponsor events related to the site theme. This is an excellent way of getting the message across but costs 500-1000 a shot. I'd like to run a series of these through the winter months so I'm looking for a good few K.

I don't think my bank would oblige. I asked them for an increased overdraft a while ago but they were not too happy.

So whats the options? What kind of rates, deals, are available and must I sell my soul for collateral?

I don't know if getting help from the family is a good idea. I like to keep business and personal seperate.



 11:24 am on Sep 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

I sent you a sticky mail


 1:51 pm on Sep 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hi Frank

Is there any chance of sarting another seasonal site, with the "busy months" being almost directly opposite of your current site?

Example: American football merchandise site for the Fall/Winter months, and a Baseball merchandise site for the Spring/Summer months.

Ideally, the two subjects would be cross promoted and create a synergy between a similar group of people.. sports fans in this case.

Depending on your subject matter and how quick you can get traffic flowing to a site, this idea might not help your immediate situation. My advice for that is... don't ask the family for money!

Best of luck


 2:49 pm on Sep 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

What about a venture into other sports? Football would be a prime example... But it isn't really as complex as the ponies.

Dotcom's that survived, such as lastminute and amazon, have gone from very specific areas of business to very large ones, once they realised that the demand couldn't quite pay back their huge investments. I realise that you are on a smaller scale, but I think that is the only way to do it- expand into other areas.

This will cost you development time but it will be worth it in the long run.


 3:44 pm on Sep 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

Doing the opposite and setting up a winter season site to cover the winter sports, I have got plans to do that, but its going to cost me 20,000 just to buy the data so thats going to be a year or two away.

There's plenty to do on the existing site. It's only about 40% complete of where I want it to go. I got so many plans for the site but not enough customers to pay for the investment. Can't get more customers unless I market. Can't market because....


 4:08 pm on Sep 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

Maybe you could go with some sort of revenue share with the suppliers of your data? If you have a good relationship with them and you could present a good case then maybe that would be a way forward?


 11:23 pm on Sep 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

I couldnt go with the same suppliers. They are the ones who have bumped up the cost of the new data to extortionate rates to stop me from doing it.

The problem is that I'm now at a level where I am competing with the suppliers sort of 'bricks and mortar' customers who may start to make noises if their trade is affected.

I'm at that stage where the site needs to grow but hasnt got the capital. The customers are on a downturn until the spring so this is tricky.

I've put too much of my own money into it and I can't do no more. This is why I'm looking at financing.

I don't like the sound of vulture (sorry venture) capitalists as this would mean I'd lose some control of the site.

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