Financing for entrepreneurs: How OakNorth customers represent resilience and innovation

A great idea, a well thought-out business plan and the cash to make it happen are all behind the beginnings of a successful business. But a daring mindset is just as valuable, if not more. Qualities like positivity, resourcefulness and an innovative mind can sometimes be even more useful than having all the other aspects needed to grow a successful business handed to you on a plate – as these characteristics can’t always be taught. 

We see these positive attributes in many of the leaders of the businesses we back, so we’ve picked out some of the best qualities we see in successful companies like Dandi Group and MoneyPlus and have explored how they helped them to flourish.   

Starting small, thinking big 

Many fledgling entrepreneurs will have grand ambitions of doing things that have not been done before. But it’s those with a dreamer’s mentality and big plans who can scale them from small beginnings that will eventually see these become a reality. Because not only are they bold enough to even dream it – they also do something about it to achieve it. 

We’ve seen this mentality in entrepreneurs that have grown the scale of their business and then made waves in new sectors, proving it’s never too late to pivot and chase after your next dream. Alex Shamash began in tech but pivoted into a new passion in hospitality and hotels after selling his first business. With an OakNorth business loan, Alex was part of a joint project developing a major new hotel a stone’s throw away from London’s Old Bailey 

Confident thinking 

Belief in yourself and your business can get you far and shouldn’t be underestimated as a great asset to have within your company. Having the assurance that you will make a success of yourself and have a substantial impact in your industry can take you just as far as your good ideas and the best resources. (It is worth reminding yourself to not let your confidence develop into arrogance – remember the earlier point on growing from smaller beginnings!)  

It was confidence that fuelled Mo Moosa when finding and backing a strong business he wanted to invest in. New entrepreneur Mo came across Care Unique and was so inspired by their vision, and confident in his ability to elevate their current service offering even further, that he created his new business Nightingale Healthcare to acquire and develop promising businesses like this. A business loan was the final piece of the puzzle in Nightingale Healthcare really taking off and making a bigger impact for other businesses around the country.    

Innovative approaches 

We’ve come across many entrepreneurs with a great sense of ingenuity and a desire to push boundaries. These kinds of creative minds can really shake up the markets in which they operate. 

Ali Reza Ravanshad took this approach with his London property development business Dandi Group. By focusing on creating living spaces that spoke to the need of having multi-functional rooms in smaller square-footage flats, they’ve been able to transform homes to better meet residents needs while remaining stylish.  

A resilient mindset 

A true test of a strong entrepreneurial business is how it fares when times get tough. Being able to ride out the troughs of economic cycles to be ready to enjoy the peaks will hugely increase the longevity of your business.  

This was the case for Ottolenghi, Yotam Ottolenghi’s restaurant and deli chain who we have supported with several loans over the years. When they found themselves with a cash flow shortage, they were level-headed when planning their future beyond the lockdown. The loan we provided them with saw them through some of the most challenging times for restaurants.  

They expanded their product lines to include finish-at-home meal kits when restaurants couldn’t be visited. They also created a new retail product range to meet the demand of people wanting to update their homes as they spent more time in them. 

The actions Ottolenghi took resulted in them seeing higher earnings than pre-pandemic and their growth was so strong they were able to pay back their loan at a much faster rate than they predicted. 

Compassion at the heart of everything 

To succeed in business, a cutthroat mentality isn’t a necessary requirement anymore. Far from the boardroom of The Apprentice where it’s every person for themself, looking at your business through a different lens where kindness guides your decisions can instead be a benefit rather than a weakness. It can create a clearer sense of direction for your business, help to differentiate you in a market where consumers are looking for more thoughtful businesses, and there can also be cost savings from adopting more ethical practices in your company. 

MoneyPlus are a consumer debt advice provider who has seen the demand for its services skyrocket in the face of the cost-of-living crisis. As people need good personal finance advice more and more into 2023 and beyond, they’re equipping people with advice and guidance to begin the path to a debt-free life. They used their loan for good by expanding their services to be able to help even more people access life-changing advice. 

When you’ve got these attributes, the final piece of the puzzle is making your business plans a reality with the right resources. If you need that extra cash injection to take your business and bold thinking to the next level, check out how our loans can power your business 



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