Ten top tips to help you secure business funding

GetSet Midlands (part of YTKO)

Whether you are looking to expand your business, undertake a specific project or simply fund your day-to-day purchases, you might be seeking funding.

GetSet Midlands specialises in helping small to medium sized businesses, across a diverse range of sectors, with their individual business, marketing and finance requirements.

We are delighted to announce a new series of events to assist SMEs meet their growth potential, in partnership with our sponsor, Bibby Financial Services. Bibby is the UK’s leading independent invoice finance provider.

Since January 2016, they have advanced more then £26bn to UK businesses, supporting more than 7250 clients throughout the UK.

A grant may be the answer Grants are sums of money awarded for a specific project or purpose by various bodies including government, councils, charities and foundations.

It is vital that you find the right grant and the awarding agency for your business.

Normally a grant will cover only some of the costs (typically between 15% and 50%); and your business will need to fund the balance.

Grants are rarely available for the ‘internal’ costs of the project (your own wages and salaries) and more commonly apply to external costs only.

One of the main features of a grant is that the money is not repayable provided that the terms and conditions of the grant are met but, having said that, their availability is limited and competition for the funds can be quite intense.

Our top tips for applying for a grant If you have never applied for grant funding before, you may find the process daunting.

Here are our top 10 tips that will help you through the application process:

1. Apply as soon as you can.

The best time to apply for a scheme is when it first opens. Competition will be less fierce and those administering the scheme will be most keen to get their grants awarded, and most importantly, most money will be available at this time.

2. Make sure you’re eligible. Not all business sectors are eligible for funding.

We recommend having a conversation as early in the process as possible with the fund provider. Make sure you do not engineer your project to fit the grant criteria, as this may divert you from where your business ought to be heading.

3. Prove your ‘need’ for funding.

Make sure that you clearly demonstrate why you need funding. The grant provider will want specifics.

4. Don’t start your project yet. If you have already started to incur costs then you cannot claim funding against them.

Your project may be considered ineligible, as it would be viewed as proceeding anyway.

You need to assure the grant agency that there is no chance of you moving ahead with your project without the grant.

5. Keep the awarding body’s aims in mind –Write your proposal with the objectives of the awarding body in mind at all time.

Make sure you answer every question, write as concisely and as accurately as possible, and do not make assumptions about what the funding body may or may not know about your project or organisation

6. Be honest.

Be honest in what you write, and do not bend the rules. Also consider all the implications of your project.

7. Demonstrate what you can return.

To attract grant funding you normally have to deliver outputs that provide economic benefit to the region.

This might include protecting existing jobs, creating new jobs, up-skilling staff, increasing productivity and improving profitability.

Emphasis on the environmental impact, social diversity and introduction of innovative products and processes are also increasingly important.

It is common that grant awards contracts will set out a requirement for future reporting (on the outcome of the project, jobs created etc.) and if you are successful in procuring a grant you need to be aware that you will be expected to observe these reporting requirements for some years after the grant has been spent

8. Be credible right from the start.

Make sure you have up-to-date management information, market and customer data, costs and project benefits.

The overall application usually requires a business plan and credible financial forecasts – a succinct account of your business, market, customers, competitors, products, project summary and rationale, and benefits as a result of your investment.

9. Ensure you have matching funds available.

It is extremely rare for a grant body to finance 100% of the costs of any project. So make sure you can fund the balance.

10. Most grants work on a first come first served basis so don’t miss out!

In the first instance we recommend that you contact the GetSet Midlands Team of highly qualified advisors.

We can ensure that you understand and comply with the criteria for the grant and ensure the application is fully and correctly completed.

Grant applications can involve a considerable amount of time and effort in convincing the awarding body that you deserve their support.

Please join us at one of our free events.

Our events are taking place at locations across the Midlands and will focus on the activities that we know work in accelerating business growth:

FINANCE FOR GROWTH, GRANTS AND R&D TAX CREDITS Birmingham, 10 October 2017, 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

HOW TO GENERATE LEADS FROM YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA Walsall, 31 October 2017, 10:00 am – 12noon

FINANCING THE GROWTH OF YOUR BUSINESS Wolverhampton, 7 November 2017, 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm

We look forward to seeing you!