As a small business owner in the UK you are offered a lot of help from the British government. This means there is an opportunity for your small business to take part in applying and obtaining government funding. We are lucky to have such great support from the government!
When it comes to actually applying for government funding for your small business, it can get a little tricky. It’s not easy as most people think, but it’s not as difficult either.
Government funding is available and the truth is that the UK government has over 600 different government programmes available for small business owners to take part in. Some of these programs are local, some regional and some are UK wide. Certain programmes fund specific industries, while others fund various minorities, or specific funding needs. it all really depends and that is the difficult part. Finding government programmes that may be right for you is what’s difficult.
However once you’ve found the available programmes (our Funding Database can help), it’s fairly easy to figure out what to do next and how to apply.
Troubles start happening around the application and “asking for government funding” time. And most of these troubles are caused by the applicant directly. It seems that there are right ways to apply and ask for funding and there are the wrong ways. Here are 5 wrong ways to ask for government funding for your small business in the UK.
#1. Not having a business plan
A business plan is usually the first thing to have before you decide to apply to any government funding programme. As the funding agency or the funding programme director will review your plan to figure out your business, applying without a business plan immediately puts you behind. Having a business plan shows the potential funding agencies that you are prepared and your completed business plan will help them analyse your business, your goals and the potential. This overall helps in their determination if to provide you with government funding or not.
#2. Applying to the wrong place
One major way to mess up your funding application is to apply to the wrong place. Surprisingly this happens too many times. The fact that there are over 600 government funding programmes, not all programmes are for everyone. When applying and asking for funding, be sure to know which programmes are right for you and only apply to those. Focus your search criteria to your location (your region), your industry and for your funding needs. If for example you require funding to help you purchase equipment, there is no point in applying for funding to advertise (unless that’s what you need). Certain programmes fund only certain things. Be sure to review individual programmes for what they offer and what they don’t.
#3. Asking for too much
When it comes to funding, it’s exciting. It’s exciting to think that somebody will give you money for your business (especially when you really need it). But remember that many programmes have set figures as to how much funding (in total) they can provide and what their minimums are, and what their maximums are. Asking for way too much money could be damaging to your application, especially if it’s clear that your business doesn’t require that much, or if your credit score and assets won’t allow for that much or if the funding programme in question doesn’t provide that much. Review each funding programme to know how much is perfect, or how much is too much – and most importantly, review your business plan to know exactly what you need.
#4. Thinking you deserve the funding and that you are guaranteed
While we all deserve to be funded because it would greatly help us in business, not everyone can be funded. That’s the truth. Just because you are a UK resident and you have a small business, or are starting a small business and pay taxes, doesn’t really buy you much credibility with the government when it comes to government funding. Many people simply think just because they are British , just because they pay taxes that they would be guaranteed funding. But keep in mind that the government programmes are not much different then banks. They provide funding to those who are a good match (location, industry, funding needs, amount needed, credit score, business idea, business plan, time of year…etc). The government agency study you to figure out how much of a risk you are to be provided with funding.
#5. Asking too late
The last wrong way to ask for funding on our list is “asking too late”. This can be split into two sections. Asking too late in terms of programme deadlines and asking too late when you are already in the hole and need money today. If you are applying for government funding past the deadline that was set by the programme agency, you are out of luck and your application will be denied. Better luck next time. If you are in need of funding today (you are out of luck as well), because government funding can take sometimes as little as a few weeks to as much as a year to actually obtain. There is a lot of paper work, a lot of waiting for approval, and that’s considering that you meet all of the criteria. One thing we recommend is that if you know you need funding, apply at least 3 months in advance.
Now you know the 5 wrong ways to ask for government funding and we hope you can avoid them and ask the right way.