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How small business funding can help your business
Grants and loans can provide key funding for start-ups and small businesses. Recognising the need for small business funding can help to alleviate short-term pressure.
It can also be the solution for driving your HR Consultancy growth. But many delay the application process or do not realise they are eligible for financial support. Registering does not take a lot of time so; it is worth knowing your options. The government offers finance and support for businesses at different business stages in various forms. The type of support includes both loans and grants.
Small business grants
For small businesses that need a boost, there are many funding schemes available to apply for. Here are a couple that is available nationally in the UK:
The Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS): businesses in rural locations can access up to £3,500 to upgrade to a high-speed broadband connection.
UK Tradeshow Programme: this programme offers government support to help UK businesses attend or exhibit at an overseas trade show. The support available through the programme varies and grants range between £200 and £4,000.
There is more funding available from government support, however, they are set regionally and locally. So, it is worth checking for government funding for new businesses in your local area. You can search for what support is available from the government website.
A small business grant has its benefits. While there are terms and conditions, you do not usually have to pay the money back. Although sometimes grants are matched funding which means you need to match the grant with your own funds.
Small business loans
Apart from grants, there are many small loans available in the UK both from private banks and through the government website. There is the Funding Circle UK which is aimed at established businesses offering unsecured loans up to £350,000+ or secured loans up to £1m. Most loans are available regionally or locally, so it’s best to check directly on the government website.
When to start considering small business funding
How do you know when to start considering a funding option for growth, and how can you be prepared for your funding journey?
While your consultancy might not be ready for growth funding right now, preparation is key and there are things you can put in place. This ensures your consultancy practice is in the best possible position when the time is right to apply.
Why are preparation and research for small business funding so important?
Preparation, a great business set up and research into funders are key for any HR consultancy when the time comes to submit that funding application. Preparation is pivotal:
- It will enable you to be clear on how and when the time is right to obtain funding and if you will be able to afford the repayments expected
- It will give you clarity on what the funding is to be used for and who will be the best funder to approach to achieve the best lending deal
- It will make the process of application much smoother and quicker
- A well-structured application and process will give you a greater chance of obtaining the funding you need
What should you consider or put in place?
Ensure you have a solid business plan
A solid business plan is important to secure funding as it helps the potential lenders understand what you want to achieve with the funding. It will give them clarity on your goals, vision, and strategy of your plan.
Every HR consultancy is different but there are key elements that would need to consider and insert as part of your business plan. These include:
- An outline of what the funding will be for and how it will benefit your current market position
- An HR market analysis and competitor review
- A current team structure and “to be” team structure if the funding will change your team levels. It is beneficial to also outline their levels of experience in this section.
- Current and future client base impact
- A SWOT analysis of your business
- Projected sales and profit impact
Gather and prepare your documents
Having your documents ready and in place will save you so much time and stress when the time comes to apply for that funding. Lenders will be expecting several supporting documents as part of your application. These include:
- Your most up-to-date accounting information & management accounts
- Bank statements (normally the last 3-6 months)
- Profit and loss statements
- Last full year accounts which would include your turnover and profit levels
- Forecasts & cash flow projections
Is the time right for you to apply
Knowing when you and your HR consultancy are ready to make the leap into funding is important. This is because funding in effect is a business loan, and you will be required to make the payments expected.
Key considerations when deciding if you are ready:
- Are you currently meeting your sales targets?
- Will your business cope with the growth expected?
- Is there a demand for your growth plans?
- Are you needing a cash flow boost?
- Will the funding help you invest in new systems and technology?
- Will the funding put you in a stronger market position than your competitors?
Knowing if your HR consultancy is ready for growth and funding is pivotal. It will enable you to be confident in your application and provide a compelling case for approval of funding.
My final advice for anyone considering funding is to always seek and gain impartial advice before making the leap and commitment.
Author: Nikki Masterman | HRi Director