Despite that they were at least positive towards us because we presented a solid business plan and plenty of evidence about the commercial strength and stats of the design industry. It wasn’t a tough sell then and, given that creativity is still a pillar of our economy, it shouldn’t really be a tough sell now so long as you’re professionally prepared.
At the time there were also government-based DTI Loans and we managed to secure one in the tens of thousands, paid back over a four year period. It had pretty competitive interest rates too. The loan essentially gave us a lump of capital that allowed us to open our doors and get cracking with a few months’ security. It was the start of everything really. And we never looked back.
We ran the company very frugally back then (and still do as it happens to a lesser degree) and because of that, we never had to factor our invoices or extend (or even use!) our overdraft facility. Part of our frugality was an agreement between ourselves to never draw dividends as directors until we had at least three months operating costs in the bank. Frugality has been key to our successful financial navigation. So my advice on setting up is to prepare like a banker, not a designer, and when you do have the money don’t just blow it on brand new Macs and fancy coffee… build yourself a decent buffer because one day you’ll rely on it for survival.