Money for nothing…? Using grant funding to accelerate your business.

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Investing in SMEs by way of grant funding is considered by government to be a good use of our money. Especially if those grants are used to acquire new skills focused on delivering growth. So why do so few owners of SMEs share the same view?

You might ask why government funds are being spent in this way, you might also think that “hand-outs” aren’t meant for successful business like yours. You are also likely to loath the idea of engaging the bureaucracy that comes with anything “government”. Used correctly however, grant funding can really help grow your business.

Grant funding for SMEs is one of the tools that governments use to stimulate economic growth at a macro level. SMEs are widely recognised as the engine room of the UK economy, if they do well, we all do well. Therefore, supporting this sector of the economy is vital for the long-term success of the country. Using this to your advantage is nothing to be ashamed of.

For many owner managers who have worked hard to build their business, costs are something to be minimised, and consultancy is something big businesses waste millions of pounds on when periodically rearranging the deck chairs. Business is about investment in expectation of a profit. As we develop our businesses we all form a view of which activities lead to profit and which do not. Consultancy sits in a grey area where often the expenditure and the return can either be difficult to directly attribute or there is a significant time delay between the two. This sort of relationship makes many business owners nervous to engage in consultancy services.

The truth is that very few businesses grow beyond a natural ceiling without bringing in expert advice to break through certain barriers. But starting on the journey as an acquirer of consultancy services can be daunting. What to buy, when to buy it and who to buy it from leads to a labyrinth of decision making. Whilst all good questions, I don’t seek to answer these here. But when you feel you have identified what you need, grant funding can take the edge off as you explore bringing in this extra dimension to your business.

Using the South West as an example, although similar schemes exist across the country, Business West manages the distribution of scale up grants designed to support investment in business coaching and strategy consulting. These grants can cover between 25% and 40% of your expenditure. With this sort of support, making the decision to invest in consultancy should be significantly easier.

As for the bureaucracy, that is far from insurmountable. The team at Business West are helpful and proactive, the application form is simple to complete and by most standards, very short. If that still remains too much, and you are working with us on a qualifying project, we are happy to manage this process for you.

In summary, engaging in business coaching and strategy consulting can really accelerate your business and of course its value and ultimately your reward. But the real winner is that the government will make that investment alongside you with no expectation of a return. What is not to like? Is it money for nothing? No not really, but as a co-invest proposition in your business, we think it is compelling.

If you want to discuss how we can build with you a programme of support through our Grow services supported by grant funding get in touch. We would be delighted to help you on this journey.