Everybody makes mistakes, that’s just how it is. The way you deal with those mistakes and how you learn from them in order to avoid the same mistakes over and over again is what’s important.
Many business owners have said “you can’t succeed unless you’ve failed”, the same goes for government funding application mistakes.
If you’re starting or expanding your small business, you’ve most likely considered the fact that capital is needed to help make things easier. A lot of small business owners in the UK turn to the British government in hopes to obtain a government grant, loan or some sort of financial assistance.
Government funding is available from multiple levels of the UK government in many different forms. In order to find out which funding programmes may be right for you, you have to do a little digging around.
Since government funding is provided by the different levels of the UK government such as the local, regional and the national governments, finding the one or two funding programmes which may be right for you is a bit difficult considering that there are nearly a thousand funding programmes available. That’s if you don’t have access to our Funding Database that has all of the programmes clearly presented.
When it comes to government funding there are a lot of factors to consider before you apply. These factors can determine if you are successful at obtaining a grant or a loan, or not. Each government funding programme has a different set of criteria that need to be met before you as a small business owner can qualify and get funded.
One of the biggest programmes when it comes to government funding (other then finding which programmes are available), is the fact that we all make mistakes. This carries over to the government funding application mistakes.
So let’s discuss the 4 biggest government funding application mistakes and what we can do together to avoid them.
#1: Applying to the wrong programmes
The number one mistake when completing a government funding application is the fact that people rush into it and simply apply to the wrong programs. What does that mean? Well as of today there are nearly 1,000 government funding programmes which include government grants, government loans, tax breaks, consulting and other types of small business assistance. But not every programme is right for you.
Because the government looks at the 3 main criteria before determining if a program is right for you (your location, your industry and your funding needs), you have to be a little bit more specific as to which programme you apply to. In our blog we discussed this a lot. When applying to government funding programmes be sure to look to see what the criteria requirements are.
If you apply to the wrong programme be it a mistake such as being out of the region, or being in the wrong industry, or asking a little bit too much for the wrong thing – the application will be denied and you miss out on the opportunity of getting funded, and not to mention the time wasted to do the application.
To avoid this government funding application mistake simply ensure that you read the requirements of each programme once you’ve located the right programmes by searching in your area (your city or region), or that you know that a program is available UK wide. Also be sure that the programme you apply to matches your industry and your funding requirements and needs.
#2: Applying past the deadline
You might meet all of the requirements and have everything possible to make the application guaranteed, but if you apply to a funding programme past the programme deadline, all of your efforts will be denied as your application will be a failure. The UK government along with it’s numerous funding agencies set deadlines for many funding programmes. The reason for this is that they have certain budgets based on certain locations, industries and funding needs. Meeting these deadlines with your government funding application is a must in order to be considered for the funding.
Missing deadlines is one of the biggest government funding application mistakes. Some people apply to simply by not knowing that there is a deadline and in order to avoid making the same mistake as many have in the past, we recommend you spend some time and figure out the deadlines for each of the funding programmes available to you (which you believe you meet the requirements). It is important to remember that if a deadline is approaching, consider applying sooner in order to avoid any last minute requirement changes..etc
#3: Not providing the required documentation
Another one of the critical government funding application mistakes is that small business owners apply to funding programmes offered by the various government agencies and don’t provide the required documentation,
Sending in an application for funding won’t do much good if you don’t provide all that is asked from the agency or the programme coordinators. Your business plan, financial statements, marketing and sales strategy, payment processing history…etc can all be part of a funding application. However this is truly dependent on the programme you apply to. There are programmes that don’t ask for anything other then the application, while others may ask for the mentioned few items and more.
In order to avoid making the same mistake with your government funding application, it is recommended to figure out the funding programmes you wish to apply to and make a list of the requirements in a check list format. Go through that list as you complete the application and check it off one by one. Have a business partner or a second person check your work and that you’ve included everything that the funding programme asks for before you apply.
#4: Not being a registered business
Even though this government funding application mistake is listed as being number four on our list, it’s often the number one for a lot of people.
Government funding is very appealing and every small business owner wants it. I mean, who wouldn’t want a £100,000 government grant or low/no-interest loan to help you pay for tools and equipment for your business (or something else)? But the fact is that a lot of people rush into it and simply apply before thinking that they need to have a registered business before sending in the application.
In order to avoid making the same government funding application mistakes as not having a registered business is simple. Register a small business!