Sourcing financial help for small business owners looking to grow their businesses isn’t always easy. It seems that when you first start out, people are queuing up to throw money at you, but once you are established and looking to grow, that well of support suddenly dries up. This can lead to frustrations, mistakes and ill thought out decisions.
Help for small business owners comes in many forms including sourcing those who can provide small business help and advice. However, a crucial element to growing your small business to the next level is often available finance. A large input of cash may be needed for several reasons from needing new premises or redeveloping those you have, to upgrading your security system, computer systems, or investing in a new line of stock. Before you even start to look for sources of finance that will allow you to achieve this aim, you need to ask yourself some tough questions. Firstly, are you in the right financial position? If your growth plans do not work out, could you still pay back the finance you have borrowed? Secondly, is there a real need for the improvements or changes that you want to make? What will they actually do to help with small business growth and add to your unique selling points. Also, consider whether the improvements are in line with your brand image? Will you need to make further changes, such as rebranding after the improvements? What is the cost of this, how will you tell your customers, and do you have the time and finance for this as well? These are all very important questions to consider in how to make a successful business.
If you have done your how to grow my business homework, and have decided that it is the right time to go ahead, that the improvements are necessary, and that you are financially stable enough to do so, then you need to start looking for finance. There are numerous sources that you can approach, but that doesn’t mean that getting the finance is going to be easy. One of the reasons to ask the previous questions is so that you can approach the financial institution with a well thought out and fully fleshed out business plan. This is a must have if you are going to get the finance you need. The next thing to do is narrow down the institutions and providers that you are going to approach. This increases your chance of success and reduces the stress of being turned down. How you do this is simple, read the small print. Many places and institutions that provide business financial support and small business advice UK wide only do so if you meet certain criteria. This criterion varies from being a start-up, to being in business for a certain number of years. Other stipulations could include, employing a certain number of staff, having a specified annual turnover, being part of a community initiative, having specific green credentials. If you don’t meet the criteria you will not be considered, so read carefully.
Lastly, when looking for finance, don’t overstretch yourself, the purpose of this cash is to provide help for small business owners, not create another potential tripping hazard. One very last thing. If you are approached by a financial institution or lender, and the offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Do your research into those offering the finance you need.