We launched Business accounts in October 2018, and are rapidly welcoming a base of small UK-registered businesses. Offering two-day account opening, free domestic payments, low cost international transfers, a bundled personal account and a free contactless debit card, the Monese Business account is perfect for new to seasoned entrepreneurs looking for a world-class digital experience.
In an exciting new blog series, we ask our business customers the tough questions. What does it mean to start your own business? What are some of the hardest challenges you have had to face? How can business banking help or hinder your growth? We have a diverse range of companies using our accounts, and can’t wait to learn from their successes and failures when it comes to setting up your own business.
Lavin Jane D’Souza, director of Marily London, was first to be interviewed. Marily London is a fledgling management consultancy, having only established in December 2018. It focuses on helping small companies with their HR processes and management skills, offering training and workshops to employees in positions of leadership. Given her line of work and her role as company director, Lavin had plenty of insight to offer into how small businesses can succeed in a competitive marketplace.
My transition started years ago. I had to mentally shift myself from the corporate world to being self-employed. It is not easy - I had to learn to function on my own.
Lavin previously worked as a consultant for Marily in the United Arab Emirates, before moving to set up the business in the UK. Her transition from consultant to entrepreneur, however, was a long process: “My transition started years ago. I had to mentally shift myself from the corporate world to being self-employed. It is not easy - I had to learn to function on my own.” Her process was incremental: “I was attending extra workshops, conferences, expos on different markets. I was expanding my horizons, understanding how these industries worked, and talking to people about how they started their businesses.”
Businesses prefer if you have dealt with UK businesses, not international. They want social proof.
People are a key focus for Lavin, both in terms of her own development, and the management of her company. She spoke about the power of networking and how trust, especially for foreign businesses, can be one of the biggest barriers: “Businesses prefer if you have dealt with UK businesses, not international. They want social proof.” She overcomes this by taking a personal approach: “Businesses are based on relationships. Everyone is human at the end of the day. If you approach them in a friendly way, people open up.”
Although she continues to face challenges as a foreigner setting up a company, Lavin was quick to extoll the virtues of the UK as a hub for businesses: “The UK is the centre of business - it’s a really dynamic spot. So many companies are being formed every day. ” Digging into the ins and outs of the process, she commented: “It’s easy to start a business - the whole process in the UK is very streamlined. It’s free of bureaucracy.”
Unless you have a council tax bill, water, electricity bills, you can’t open a bank account. I didn’t have a credit history. Actually with both things (personal and business), Monese helped me.
Accessing finance as a foreigner remains a key challenge for customers like Lavin. When asked about the challenges she has faced so far, banking was the first to come up: “Unless you have a council tax bill, water, electricity bills, you can’t open a bank account. I didn’t have a credit history. Actually with both things (personal and business), Monese helped me.” Reflective of the problems faced by a large number of our customers, Lavin expressed the weight of this bank account dilemma: “Not having a bank account and having one is a completely different story,” referring to her inability to access credit and other essential services without a current account.
Monese business customers face tough challenges every day - particularly if they are foreign nationals running cross-border companies. What Lavin made clear is the importance of being in the right mindset to tackle the challenges of opening a new business in a new country. Her sense of optimism, and her willingness to learn, is something that seems to drive Lavin’s success. As entrepreneurs ourselves at Monese, we love to learn from people going through the same difficulties, and we take joy in being able to knock down some of the barriers to their success. It will be interesting to see how customers like Lavin build their companies into scalable enterprises.