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Navigating Choppy Waters: Strategies for SMEs in Turbulent Economic Times

In the wake of unprecedented macroeconomic shifts and heightened geopolitical tensions, the landscape for raising capital has evolved into uncharted territory for businesses, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The convergence of soaring inflation rates and escalating interest rates, coupled with concurrent wars in Ukraine and Israel, has injected a new level of uncertainty into the global financial ecosystem.

Impact on Lenders to SMEs

The surge in inflation and interest rates over the past 15 years has created a challenging environment for lenders to SMEs. Traditional lenders, such as banks and financial institutions, find themselves facing increased pressure to reassess risk and adjust lending terms. Higher interest rates may lead to a spike in the cost of capital for SMEs, potentially restricting their access to affordable financing. As inflation erodes the purchasing power of currencies, lenders may also grapple with assessing the creditworthiness of SMEs in an environment of economic volatility.

Impact on Venture Capital Funds

Simultaneously, venture capital funds, the lifeblood of many startups and innovative enterprises, are confronting a paradigm shift in their investment strategies. The geopolitical risks posed by ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Israel contribute to an atmosphere of caution, prompting VC funds to scrutinize potential investments with a keener eye. The uncertain geopolitical climate has the potential to dampen investor confidence and may lead to a temporary retreat from riskier ventures. However, astute venture capitalists recognize that periods of uncertainty can also present unique opportunities for strategic investments.

Adapting to Remain Attractive to Lenders and Equity Investors

In times of economic turbulence, companies must proactively adapt their strategies to remain attractive to both lenders and equity investors. Here are key considerations for businesses navigating these challenging waters:

  1. Risk Mitigation Strategies: Implement robust risk mitigation strategies to reassure lenders and investors. This may involve stress-testing financial models, securing diverse revenue streams, and fortifying supply chain resilience.

  2. Transparent Communication: Open and transparent communication is paramount. Businesses should provide clear and candid updates to stakeholders, addressing concerns and showcasing a proactive approach to risk management.

  3. Diversification of Funding Sources: Explore alternative funding sources beyond traditional loans and venture capital. Crowdfunding, strategic partnerships, and government grants can provide additional avenues for capital infusion.

  4. Focus on Operational Efficiency: Streamline operations and enhance efficiency to demonstrate a commitment to financial sustainability. Investors and lenders appreciate companies that can weather economic storms through agile and efficient operations.

  5. Technology Adoption: Embrace technology to drive innovation and efficiency gains. Companies that demonstrate a commitment to staying at the forefront of technological advancements are likely to attract both lender and investor interest.


In the face of global economic turbulence and geopolitical uncertainties, SMEs must adopt a strategic and proactive approach to secure the capital needed for growth and resilience. By implementing robust risk management strategies, fostering transparent communication, diversifying funding sources, focusing on operational efficiency, and embracing technology, businesses can position themselves as attractive propositions for lenders and equity investors alike. In these challenging times, adaptability and foresight will be the cornerstones of success for enterprises navigating the complex terrain of raising capital.


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About the author

Sabbir Rahman is Managing Director of Langdon Capital. He has held prior roles with Morgan Stanley, Lazard and Barclays Investment Bank. He has executed over £60 billion in notional value of transactions across financing, M&A and derivatives with global corporates, private equity funds and financial sponsor groups.

About Langdon Capital

With a network of 700+ alternative investors, Langdon Capital raises debt and equity capital between £1m and £25m for high-growth and innovative scale-ups with >£1m annual revenue and >30% annual revenue growth in technology enabled and clean-tech sectors at Series A or beyond to help fulfil growth ambitions and paths to profitability.

This is not financial advice or any offer, invitation or inducement to sell or provide financial products or services or to engage in any form of investment activity.

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