Have you been looking at your website recently? Have you been thinking that it could do with a re-vamp or an upgrade?
Or, maybe you struggle with the cash flow; some days and weeks the money comes pouring in and yet other, weeks the work is there and being done, but the bank account is drier than the Sahara.
Your website might look better with a modernised logo, or maybe you would like it to be more responsive and mouldable to your changing customer base. Maybe, you would like it to feature higher in the search engine rankings but know that to achieve this, it is going to take some work and effort, all underpinned by a good dollop of time but, you just don’t have any more seconds in the busy working day to spare.
Maybe if the books were managed better, and not something tagged on to your busy day, completed at 11pm with one eye closed; if you had a system that produced invoices…
You know you can pay someone to do it, but the profits are just about starting to take shape and spending a huge amount could wipe out the small surplus you have and…
What does come first, the chicken or the egg?
It is the question to which the answer has been lost in the midst of time. But, with the business ‘chicken and the egg dilemma’, there could be some much needed financial help on the horizon, in England at least.
The end of January 2015 will usher in a new research programme, as announced by the UK Government, and it is something that YOU, as a local, small business can take part in. And it includes financial help to spend on aspects of your business that you may need help with – and Locally could be an agency to help.
What are Growth Vouchers?
Essentially, it is a subsidised business support scheme delivered through randomly allocating Growth Vouchers to small businesses. And with £30 million in the pot, it promises to be an exciting scheme. If you receive a Growth Voucher, it covers up to 50% of the cost, covering 5 key topics that help small business grow.
But, you need to register and your business in the frame to possible receive some of these Growth Vouchers…
What kind of support could a Growth Voucher be spent on?
There are 5 main categories and all have been identified as being areas where small businesses can sometimes struggle to gain not only helpful, strategic advice but, by not being able to compete in these areas, are staying in the shadow of larger competitors.
The 5 areas are:
- Managing cash flow, as well as the scourge of late payments and the tricky negotiating of additional finance
- Developing skills, and employing staff
- Improving leadership and management
- Marketing and attracting new customers, and keeping them coming back too!
- And make the most of digital technology, such as creating a website, updating your website, creating content…
Right, let’s talk money!
Growth Vouchers are up to a maximum of £2,000 BUT, the voucher match funds what you put in so…
You spend £1,000 having a new website developed, including training and with fabulous content and great blog. You would pay £500 and the Growth Voucher would match this with 50% of the cost, so £500.
Can you spend the whole £2,000?
Yes and more if you like but, the Growth Voucher maximum is £2,000. You may choose to spend £5,000 on a fandangle website, with ecommerce option and all kinds of gizmos and gadget, with the voucher covering £2,000 of the cost and you stumping up the other £3,000.
You will also need to be aware that you pay the supplier first and then claim the 50% Growth Voucher back from the Government.
So, can anyone person or agency, business, company etc. be a Growth Voucher agency?
Companies who can and do offer these kinds of services in the 5 key areas will need to register with the scheme, and show that they pass a minimum set of standards. This, of course, is the obvious solution to making sure that every small business, regardless of where they are in the country get the same high standard of advice and product.
Interested? Thought you would be…
If you are a small business looking to tap in to the scheme you will need to register and if you follow this link, you can do it right now – https://www.gov.uk/apply-growth-vouchers
You will need to have some information to hand to complete the process, such as your Unique Tax Reference if you are self-employed, or you company registration number etc.
Am I eligible?
In order to run the scheme, there needs to be a definition of ‘small business’ and, the eligibility criteria for taking part and possibly receiving a Growth Voucher are:
- You must employ 249 employees or less
- You must be registered in England
- You must also actively sell goods and services
- Be an independent company, with no more than 25% of your business owned by another company
- And your turnover should also be less that £50million
IF you are selected for a Growth Voucher, you will need to find an approved supplier and the only place where you will be able to get this information is the Enterprise Nation marketplace. As the scheme gathers pace, more suppliers will comes online and you will have a wider choice.
As you can imagine, there are some big names and organisation driving this as it is a great way of making the small business market place in England a buoyant, thriving one.
The Locally Perspective
We will be keeping a close eye on the scheme, simply because any help in gaining advice and support in these 5 key areas is the key to a thriving business. We’ll keep you updated on changes too, so keep calling back.