Trying to grow your business can be both exciting and frightening at the same time. Having the knowledge that allows you to make key decisions about things like finance or marketing can be the make or break of your expansion plans.
And key to the growth of any small business is getting the right advice at the right time, and also improving your own skills to ensure that you can implement the advice you are given effectively.
The Growth Voucher Scheme was introduced in January this year by the government specifically to help small businesses in England get the strategic business advice that will help with their expansion plans.
The Growth Voucher Scheme is running for 15 months, and we’re about 6 months in, so there is still time to apply. The results of the scheme will be analysed to identify which areas of advice small businesses need and value most. It is hoped that this information will help shape government advice in the future according to the business need.
Businesses can apply for up to £2000 of matched funding, i.e. you have to pay your supplier first and then claim back up to £2000 from the government. Before you rush off to download an application form, there are certain criteria you must meet to be eligible. Your business must:
- have 49 employees or less (including any employees of companies that own a stake in your business)
- be registered in England
- have been actively selling goods or services for at least 1 year
- not have paid for strategic business advice in the last 3 years
- be independent (i.e. no more than 25% is owned by other businesses or organisations)
If you meet this criteria, then it’s time to move on to the areas in which you can qualify for help.
There are 5 categories of strategic advice that qualify for the Growth Voucher Scheme
1. Raising Finance and managing cash flow
Can cover all aspects of the overall financial health of your business.
2. Recruiting and developing your own staff
Ensure you have the right people with the right skills to help your business grow
3. Improving leadership and management skills
Develop your strategy and vision of how to build your own potential and that of your team
4. Marketing – attracting and keeping customers
Develop effective marketing strategies and discover how you can extend your reach
5. Making the most of digital technology
Maximise the potential of digital tools and technologies
Remember, the voucher scheme can only be used for strategic advice, you can’t use it for the normal everyday things like buying equipment or booking training courses.
If you want to talk more about the options in relation to Marketing or Digital Tools & Technologies, get in touch.
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