14 December 2022

  • From a Yorkshire based café that caters to puppies, a foodies authentic review of a French bakery in the heart of Leeds, to a carol recital in a trendy London café dedicated to music and a meet and eat with an innovative cereal CEO

  • Over one in five (21%) SMEs surveyed by Funding Circle admit they do not do any marketing at all – even though they know it is vital for growth and attracting customers

  • In the time it takes to view a 30-second TikTok, three SMEs can have received their loan application decision from Funding Circle, and others can qualify for funding

What happens when the worlds of TikTok trends and British small businesses collide? That's what Funding Circle, the UK's largest small business platform wanted to discover after research of 1,100 SMEs revealed that 84% know marketing is crucial, yet over a fifth (21%) don't do any marketing at all*.

To help turbocharge and tell their stories in new and inspiring ways, Funding Circle paired four SME customers with some of the UK's most inventive and quirky creators on TikTok. The result is a suite of light-hearted and leftfield clips that includes dogs lapping up ‘puppyccinos’, a festive after-hours rendition of Silent Night in a trendy London café and a local British foodie discovering her love for French pastries. All the TikTok clips run for no more than 30 seconds, the same time it takes for an SME to take the first step in discovering if they qualify for financing from Funding Circle thanks to its superfast online application.

The unlikely pairings included:

  • A traditional Leeds, French bakery called Pany Chaud, paired with local foodie and TikTok content creator Eat with Fizza
  • A Yorkshire-based dog-friendly cafe and spa called Kibble Bakery, paired with transformation coach and feel-good TikTok content creator Magnus Davies
  • A healthy revamp of everyone's favourite meal / snack, London-based cereal retailers Brave Foods, paired with one of London's favourite, go-to sources for city inspiration, TikTok content creator London by Kseniia

Offering tips on how to embrace social media as part of your business, TikToker Magnus Davies shares five dos and don'ts to selling your business in unexpected ways:

  1. Hashtags: Using trendy hashtags that are relevant to your business, can ensure that your content gets a higher chance of reaching a wider audience

  2. Songs: Music and TikTok go hand in hand, pair your content with trendy songs and sounds that are popular on TikTok in order to boost the visibility of your videos

  3. Consistency: By posting on a more regular basis, you will begin to see which content performs better than others and be able to produce that content more frequently, maximising your potential reach

  4. Location: TikTok shows you content that correlates to your current location. That is a big advantage for small, local businesses. Localise your videos as much as possible to attract locals to your content and products!

  5. Timing: Give some thought as to what time of day you post your content on. Posting in the evenings can be beneficial as that is the period in which TikTok users are the most active and more likely to come across your content

Funding Circle provides small businesses with support that goes way beyond investment. The TikTok and SME collaboration is one example of how small businesses are being inspired to think differently in a challenging economic climate.

Alexander Allen, Managing Director at Funding Circle said, “Starting and running a small business is extremely challenging, and marketing often gets neglected or becomes an afterthought. Even if an SME is born from ambition and hard work, not everyone is equipped with the time or support to attract new customers and drive growth. TikTok is just one example of new and compelling ways SMEs can reach new audiences and customers by showcasing their people, passion, and products.

"These unlikely content collaborations and tips from TikTok creators can inspire other small businesses - from bakers to builders - to think differently about self-promotion. It can be easily done with personality, wit, and charm, without breaking the bank and provides a return of investment that gives a competitive edge”.

Tina Kebe, Owner, Director and Company Secretary for Pany Chaud said, “As a business reliant on footfall in a highly competitive market, we need to get our name out there and people seeing our stunning bakery creations. We know lots about baking, but nothing about TikTok, but it’s a place where so many potential customers go for food inspiration. Working with Fizza showed us how to think differently and tell our story in ways that are eye-catching, authentic, and fun. It’s changed how we present ourselves and drive sales."

As the SME market continues to grow, the most popular business sectors according to Funding Circle research include property and construction (20%), retail (15.4%), manufacturing and engineering (11.1%) and professional and business support (10.7%). The regions with the highest number of SMEs are Greater London (19.2%), the South West (14.8%) and the North West (12.2%).




About Funding Circle     

Funding Circle is a lending platform for small business borrowers. Established in the UK in 2010, and now the leading lending platform to SMEs, the Group also has a material and growing presence in the US. Globally, Funding Circle has provided £14.5bn in loans to c.130,000 businesses.

For small business borrowers, Funding Circle provides a leading-edge customer experience, delivered through its technology, machine learning, and data science, coupled with a human touch. Its solutions continue to help customers access the funding they need to succeed. For lending investors, Funding Circle provides access to an alternative asset class in an underserved market, and delivers robust and attractive returns.