For any start up, it is key to take a holistic approach to your business and to identify any areas which would benefit from both support and access funding. This article aims to give you a flavour of why this is important and typical organisations you can contact for further advice.
This includes areas such as mentoring, innovation support, and HR expertise as well as grant support and funding. It is always to your advantage if you engage with business support services as early as possible in order to identify what help can be found for you and your business. There are a wide number of support services, many of them, including the Access to Finance Service, are free of charge to eligible businesses.
Who should I contact?
The first port of call for any business which needs to access business support is to connect with local business support organisations, such as:
• Your Local Authority business support team (usually found on the Council’s website);
• Local Economic Partnerships;
• Your Business Growth Hub;
In Lancashire, this is called Boost Business Lancashire. Boost is the central point for business support in Lancashire and links into public and private sector providers as well specialists and experts such as the Access to Finance Service. Getting hands-on support usually includes a comprehensive funding search, introductionsto funders, assessment of your suitability for a particular type of funding, understanding eligibility criteria and assistance in meetings with funders. A structured approach will then hopefully contribute to greater success in fund raising.
This is because expert, impartial advice and support leads to increased success whether this is from your accountants, business support advisers or specialist services such as Access to Finance.
All businesses should have, as a minimum, a business plan plus a written, strategic overview of the business. Getting the right support and funding to deliver growth is crucial to the success of your business plan and you should always start by developing your growth strategy in words and numbers. This will help you focus on your overall short and long term objectives as well as your first year’s cash flow targets.
This is crucial when considering growth plans and knowing what the most preferential funding options are, who the providers are and what they require from you can be difficult to navigate and understand.
Within Lancashire, the main providers of finance include:
• Government Start Up Loans (for businesses trading up to 3 years)
• Local Authority Grant Support (typically found on the Local Authority website)
• Individual Local Authority Funding Schemes (such as the Lancashire Business Growth
• Supplier Credit (for businesses trading over 12 months who have build a relationship with the supplier)
• Bank Loans/Overdraft (High Street Banks)
If you require any assistance with accessing one of these areas (or wish to explore other areas of funding,) please contact anyone at Access to Finance who would be delighted to help you.
See more information here