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Companies need to be cautious when it comes to deciding how to access credit, it has been suggested.

Assessing whether it is really needed is crucial, said John Grange, a Business Link adviser, who believes looking for other ways of coping with debt management would be better.

"If you are going to approach somebody for a loan of any sort, make sure you are very clear about what you are using it for and how you can repay it," Mr Grange said.

Another option is establishing whether the money can be found from elsewhere in the business, namely through existing stock or managing creditors and debtors more effectively, he added.

Almost a third of small business owners are prepared to take out a personal loan to finance their business, according to research from Close Brothers.

In the survey of 505 small and medium-sized businesses, it found that 30 per cent would take a personal loan and six per cent would use credit cards to fund operations.

A fifth of those questioned said they would approach friends and family for the funds.

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