As a British small business owner you’ve probably heard about all of the funding and financial support that is available for entrepreneurs and startup business owners. So you probably have looked up government funding offers to see what you and your small business may be eligible for. But with so many different companies, private and government talking about government funding, which one do you go with?
First of all, the reason why many 3rd party small business government funding companies exist is because the government lacks on the promotion of the various funding schemes available to Brits. There are hundreds, actually nearly a thousand different schemes. The government doesn’t really promote them that well – and this isn’t on purpose but instead of the government spending money to promote a scheme (so that you can find it), they decide to put that money into the scheme directly so they can help fund more business owners. So 3rd party companies do the research, spend the time, compile the data, help you apply..etc
But if that’s the route you take, be sure to know if the company is a scam or legitimate. Often you do to this by looking up the company on the web, social media sites or trusted sites.
Aren’t all companies that “sell” government funding information a scam?
There are many companies and providers that provide government funding information simply because it is something that people, on their own have a difficult time finding. There is nothing wrong when re-selling information that is difficult to obtain otherwise. Think about news papers; the company brings you news in writing of what happened the day before, week before or month before – you can get this information free on the web, on the radio and the TV, yet many people still pay for newspapers daily. Why? It’s convenience, it’s right there when you want it.
But when looking for government funding offers from 3rd party sources, be sure to check them out on the web as mentioned above. Be sure to hear the offer. Certain things to be careful of is: paying a large chunk of money in return for “guaranteed funding”. Nobody can guarantee you funding other then the government agency directly. So if you do come across a company or provider that guarantees you will get funding, they are simply lying.
5 Ways To Spot A Government Funding Scam:
- The Reviews: If you read the reviews of any company that provides government funding information and all you see is complaints, horror stories, negative feedback..etc, this is often a sign of “scam” and “stay away”. Why? Well, nobody will leave a negative review telling you to stay away for no reason. Also be careful with companies with no reviews or no feedback at all.
- Guarantees: If you are guaranteed funding from a 3rd party offering government funding, this is a scam. There is nobody but the funding agency direct that will be able to guarantee you funding. Nobody simply knows every single factor that is looked at by the agency before they determine if you will get funding or not. Think of it like this; would you pay somebody £300 for a lottery scratch ticket if they said this is a guaranteed win? How do they know?
- “Grants”: If you are looking to get a grant for your business, you have to remember that grants are available – but not for every location, not for every industry and not for every funding need. If you are being sold information that guarantees you a grant, you are being scammed. The government simply will not give you a grant to buy a truck for your business. They may give you a grant (if you are eligible) to help you startup, hire and train staff, improve your business..etc, but to simply buy a truck or a van for example, it will not happen.
- The Fees: If you are buying information from a 3rd party source related to government funding, be sure it’s up to date. What is the point of having access to old out dated information. Information alone should not cost a lot; but be sure to check out the services offered with the information. If you are paying ,make sure it’s a worthy investment. Don’t give up a fee of your grant or loan (in return), and don’t give up equity in your business (in return) for “just” information.
- Nothing is Needed: If you are told that nothing is needed to get funding (other then a fee), you are being scammed. Government funding agencies have a number of factors that are considered before a individual or business could be eligible for funding. For example; you need a business plan, you need to apply, you need a properly filled out application, you need to provide financials, you need to have a fair to excellent credit score, you may need to have your own money…etc
Who Offers Legitimate Funding Information?
There are a few third party companies that will offer real information on government funding that actually is maintained and kept up to date. Not only is it affordable but the support and other assistance you receive with it, is very critical to the success of a funding application and actually guiding you towards obtaining funding.
UKStartups.org offers a Small Business Startup Portal, which is an online tool that helps small business owners startup, to build a business plan, to create a PitchDeck, to search for government funding schemes (over 1,000 sources), to use the Ask an Expert program to get guidance, a business plan review, help with searching for funding, funding application reviews before applying as well as help answering any questions you may have. The fee is a one time payment of £239 and you can register here for instant access.
Alternatively you can visit the government websites (remember there are many different ones – one per scheme usually) to get the information.
Questions to Ask About Government Funding Offers —before you pay and register?
If you decide to seek funding information from 3rd party sources, and after you’ve checked them out on the web, be sure to ask the following to check them out further:
- How much funding can I get? Most legitimate companies offering government funding assistance may give you a range (a min and a max), however no legitimate company will tell you exactly how much you may be able to get. They simply don’t know, as it’s entirely up to your situation and the funding agency to determine that.
- Is there funding for my business? Most legitimate companies will tell you which industries get funded, what type of businesses get funded and may tell you from experience if you are likely or not likely to get funded. If somebody tells you 100%, be careful.
- Am I guaranteed funding? No legitimate company will tell you that you are guaranteed funding.
- What will I need before I apply? Most legitimate companies will explain that you will need registered business, a business plan, to apply on time..etc; if nothing is required, be careful
Key Lessons On Which Government Funding Offer To Trust
- Read the reviews.
- Ask questions (a lot of them).
- Nobody can guarantee you funding.
- You will need a business plan.
- Read the reviews again.