Whether you need funding for a new office space in London or the money to launch a new marketing campaign, there are a number of resources such as UK small business grants that provide small businesses with the capital they need to succeed.
Here, The Brew rounds up some of the best grants and funding options that will help your small business to scale up.
While some companies can easily survive with minimal investment when starting out, others need to deal with immediate and necessary expenditures. That’s why The Brew have partnered with smallbusiness.co.uk to offer £5,000 every month to the brightest UK businesses in a free-to-enter competition.
If your business has a turnover between £50,000 and £500,000, then you’re eligible to enter – and the entering is simple and user-friendly, to avoid businesses having to jump through the usual multiple, complex application hoops.
Simply include as much information as possible about your successes so far and why you deserve to win, and your application will be considered by a panel of successful entrepreneurs and business leaders – including The Brew’s very own Andrew Clough.
Replacing the old Smart award programme which was scrapped by the government last year, Innovate UK now runs funding competitions offering grants to businesses working on innovative new technologies.
The programme has competitions open to businesses and organisations of all sizes and from all corners of the technology sector, but some are open exclusively to SMEs. Recipients of Innovate UK grants have seen higher employment and turnover and a better success rate than comparable businesses without the same funding.
The full list of open competitions can be found on the Innovate UK website.
Supporting research and innovation all over Europe, this massive EU fund has a dedicated SME Instrument through which small business can receive funding for innovative projects with high potential. Businesses involved in ground-breaking research or new technologies, or responding to challenges such as climate change and food security, can access the €3 million set aside for the SME Instrument over the period 2014-2020.
Applications by UK organisations will be made via a National Contact Point – usually a government agency or organisation. One of Horizon 2020’s aims is to foster links between EU nations, so some funding is conditional on forming partnerships with businesses overseas.
However, you may have a limited window in which to take full advantage of this particular fund – although projects will not be affected until the UK has officially left the EU, the policy after this point remains uncertain.
While money itself is no doubt important, the benefits of having the right knowledge and expertise to hand is an often overlooked part of scaling up a small business. With Innovation Vouchers, £5000 is awarded for an SME to specifically seek out the experts, advisors or consultants they need to take their innovative idea to the next level, build within their industry or protect their intellectual property rights.
One of the common difficulties faced by even the most innovative and forward-thinking start-ups is that their small size and untested business credentials make it difficult to attract investment from high street banks. This government-backed initiative was set up to help get around this problem – if you’re a start-up or very small early stage business that is yet to launch or has been trading for less than 12 months then you could receive mentoring, business planning support and a loan with an average size of £6,000.
Although this funding option will affect your business at a very early stage, it could be what you need to get the right footing for scaling up further down the line.
No matter how dedicated, hard-working and imaginative, sometimes nothing will help your business break through to the next level like a bit of extra money – so it’s worth researching these funding options to see whether they could benefit your business.
Daniel Moore is an experienced content writer by profession and he mainly writes on different aspects of business from business start ups to expansion.
In my last blog post, I shared what to do when you’re feeling overwhelmed in your business.
If you missed it you can catch up on that step by step ‘focus freeing strategy’ here.
If you find yourself feeling stretched, stressed and overwhelmed from so much to learn when it comes to marketing and growing your business, I wanted to encourage you that …
You’re not alone.
I’ve been a business owner for over 25 years now and I still have seasons when I get that feeling too. And hundreds of other successful people do too.
In fact, I recently spoke to a CEO who signed up for my complimentary discovery coaching call. This guy is a seasoned entrepreneur. He has grown his business to 14 locations and he’s even authored 6 best selling books, so you might be surprised to know why he reached out to me.
I asked him … “what is the #1 outcome goal you would like me to help you achieve?”
His reply: “I’m feeling so overwhelmed with all of our new initiatives. I need a coach to help me make the best decisions in how I will manage it all.”
Yes, it just goes to show you that even “successful” people aren’t immune to feeling overwhelmed either.
So, if you too have been feeling the weight of overwhelm, my encouragement for you today is this:
#1. Accept it’s perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed in your business.
#2. Know that you’re not alone.
#3. Don’t try to battle through it alone. Reach out for help and support.
Whether you find a peer group of entrepreneurs for support or you looks for a professional coach, having a consistent person to hold you accountable can help you break out of your cycle of struggle faster.
#4. Identify what your 80:20 is in your business and then focus on it.
Simplify your to-do list down to what critical few things you do that make the biggest difference to your success. Often times, doing this step requires the help of having a coach and/or accountability group to challenge you.
It’s a lot like watching the reality show on hoarders. If you have a hoarding problem it’s because it’s incredibly difficult for you to let go of things. You never see a hoarder be able to clear out their home all by themselves.
As a business owner, we too can fall into a similar challenge of not being able to let go of certain tasks you feel has to get done by you … or even done at all.
So, if you feel alone trying to manage the overwhelm in your business ….
- What is keeping you from engaging a peer group, coach or
friend to give you the help and support you need?
Share your comment below. I’d really love to know.
I’m in your corner,
The backbone of a great business is the people working hard to make it a success.
If you’re a ‘one man band’ looking to expand your services, you may have the capital and experience to know what you need from a ‘dream team,’…but you may not be 100% sure on how to go about finding them.
This post will run through a seven-point checklist for hiring your dream team to help you ace your search and hiring Dream Team.
#1. Define The Role
Whether it’s your first hire as an entrepreneur or your 20th, taking on new staff always presents challenges. As CEO, it is your job to ensure that you make the right choice with your new candidate, as you could potentially lose out on profits once you factor in the cost of advertising, recruitment, administration, and so on.
First, make a list of all the core competencies you need from the new hire. If you are relatively new to the business, this may mean that you would be looking for someone with a range of talents. Or, at least someone who is willing and quick to learn, provided they excel within certain areas, e.g. sales.
If you’re more established, you may be looking for a highly skilled team member to carry out niche processes. A ‘jack of all trades,’ in these cases, may not be such a good fit. Conduct lots of research by looking at advertisements for similar job roles in other companies, taking note of the going rates of pay, qualifications, years of experience, etc.
#2. Outsource Where You Can
The wealth of options available for entrepreneurs looking to outsource certain tasks has coincided with the boom of the VA (virtual assistant) industry.
If you are looking for a particular task, like a website build or social media management, you can avoid taking on a full-time marketer and instead break up these duties into discrete tasks, projects, and contracts. Find a suitable remote worker from Upwork or PeopleByTheHour to do the jobs instead, saving you a lot of money.
#3. Define Your Values
To ensure that the new hire fits in with your company culture, you will first need to explain in clear terms what your company culture is.
Go back to your original business plan and forecasts for the next few years. and identify the traits you need to help you achieve the vision you have for your business.
#4. Define The Behavioral Attributes
Recruiters use psychometric tests to help them match the best personality types to varying job roles. Every company’s requirements will be different, even if the positions perform the same function.
Many of us have heard of the Myers-Briggs personality test, but for recruiters, this personality test reveals little about a candidate’s employability. A test called The Big Five is preferred over Myers-Briggs because it provides more insight on a person’s negative traits.
‘The Big Five’ can be tested in different ways. However, they work by giving people a score on the high-low scales of:
The language of these terms can seem alarming. However, it is important to remember that for certain roles, things like high agreeableness may not prove so useful (in negotiation roles, for example). Building a good sales team takes time and dedication — don’t be rushed into hiring ‘green’ salespeople as your profitability will plummet.
#5. Shortlisting Candidates
Once you have crafted your job role and defined your company values and key personality traits, it’s time to advertise and start the process of selecting candidates.
Prioritize your list of skills and behavioral attributes and give each of your potential candidates a score.
Once you have made your list for interview, decide how you’re going to assess their capabilities effectively. You may want to consider:
- Interviews in front of a panel, or in groups
- In-tray exercises where you give interviewees a task to complete representing one of their core competencies
- Presentations (if you’re recruiting for a sales or marketing role)
- One-day trials or extended probationary periods.
It’s recommended that you find out as much as you can about the candidate’s previous roles, and it’s also worth snooping around on social media to get a feel for them.
#6. Successfully Onboard The New Hire
Hiring your dream team doesn’t end when you draw-up their contract. It is commonly believed that it takes around 90 days to get your new hire up-to-speed and working productively.
Providing a thorough training and onboarding process takes time and careful planning.
Make training manuals, record video tutorials of ‘on-screen’ processes and provide all you can regarding automated tools to help them reduce time and error in mundane tasks.
- You can find a range of automated solutions for every industry, things like:
Plugins that can schedule social media posts, blog content, and inventory, all through your online storefront — train staff once, and you won’t have to keep asking them to do the same, mundane tasks
- Financial automation tools can manage bookkeeping and accounts, generate invoices automatically, calculate sales tax, etc.
- Chatbots and automated customer order tracking systems can streamline customer service tasks
- RFID sensors and automated health and safety compliance software can be utilized for manufacturing and supply chain services
…the list is ever-growing and investing in new technologies, as well as staff, will help your business grow.
#7. Motivate Your Team Members
Once you have introduced your new staff and systems into the mix, it is down to you as a boss to do your best to provide a positive and productive place of work.
For more, check out this free checklist on How to Create High-Performing Teams.
One Last Thing…
Do bear in mind and plan financially for your staff to leave, or for their jobs to ‘expire’ as time goes on. As a business owner with a company on the rise, the skills you need in the beginning may not be as useful to you as time goes on.
Also, plan for your company culture to change and diversify in terms of personality fit, as the number of roles and operational complexity increase.
QUESTION: What’s your best tip (or question) on hiring great candidates? Share in the comments box below.
Do you wish you could find a success mentor?
Someone who is fully invested in helping you create the success you envision for your business and life?
The Success Mentor Summit will introduce you to 100+ mentors who have walked the path before you. By joining this free event you’re bound to find a success mentor to help you uplevel your business success.
This online summit was created by the authors of the best selling book, One Minute Mentoring, Ken Blanchard and Claire Diaz Ortiz, to help you access the direct mentoring you need to level up your life.
What’s great is since it’s online you don’t need to travel to a conference to benefit from the collective wisdom of these 100+ success mentors. Claire is bringing them straight to you, from the convenience of your own home.
She’s put together an incredible speaker lineup of high caliber experts like:
- Ken Blanchard
- Brad Sugars
- Pam Slim
- Donald Miller
- Carrie Wilkerson
- And Yoon Cannon … (oh right, that’s me! 🙂
For 10 days you’ll be able to listen to all the expert interviews live for free. Each mentor will peel back the curtain on their own success and give you the virtual mentoring you need to embark on a new path to lasting success.
Sign up to join the free Success Mentor Summit here
If you want to find a success mentor …
Here are my top 4 reasons for highly recommending joining this summit:
#1. The expert mentors will inspire you to level up and finally reach your full potential.
These mentors are some of the most inspirational individuals around when it comes to guiding people to reach for what they want in their lives. Additionally, the motivational information will change the way you view your own success — ensuring that your path will be different from here on out — no matter what you do and what you want for your life. Don’t drive yourself crazy knocking down every door to find a powerful mentor to guide you. Instead, join us.
#2. The tactical information will transform the path you take to reaching your success — no matter where you are now.
Our mentors know that a great mentor provides more than just motivation and inspiration. They know the power of tactical strategies when to comes to mentoring and mindset to help you grow towards your own success. All sessions have a clear eye to delivering key value in the form of actionable strategies and specific steps.
#3. The Success Mentor Summit will deliver results.
Our mentors are committed to delivering advice that will not only motivate you, but will also immediately inspire you to take action to see results. No matter where you are now, by implementing the strategies and action items our mentors recommend you will see results, fast, and then you will be able to build on those for lasting success.
#4. It’s FREE for a limited time if you sign up today.
Typical conferences and retreats require a huge investment of time and money. The Success Mentor Summit is different. Save your money, save your travel time and claim your ticket today!
Sign up to join the free Success Mentor Summit here
In addition, my interview for the Success Mentor Summit will be out there for the taking on Wednesday, September 13th.
I am so excited and grateful to be a part of this event because I know it is doing so much for so many people who are ready for a change.
I know the struggles of trying to find the guidance and support you need to really level up.
This is why I love this summit … every success mentor knows that a great mentor provides more than just motivation and inspiration. They know the power of tactical strategies when to comes to mentoring and mindset to help you grow towards your own success.
I hope you’ll check out what I have to say in my interview because I know you’ll love it!
I really hope you’ll take advantage and join today. I want to see you reach greater levels of success!
P.S. Register today for one of the All Access Pass Packages and get instant lifetime access to ALL interviews + incredible bonus gifts that you don’t want to miss (seriously … you don’t want to miss out!). Note that the price will triple in just a few short days – so get in on the low price now!
Sign up to join the free Success Mentor Summit here
Optimize Your WordPress Blog
Every business today should have a blog. Publishing new blog content regularly is one of the easiest ways to quickly build your authority and thought leadership within your industry.
The many advantages, like reaching the press, improving SEO, building your know-like-trust factor and more, all make it well worth the time to publish new blog content on your website on a consistent basis.
It’s also important to optimize your WordPress blog for relevant keywords and keyword phrases that you target audience types in search of solutions your business delivers. If you do not optimize your blog, you will create less traffic to your website, making it harder to get found by ideal customers who are in the market for your services now.
Today, with plug ins like Yoast for WordPress, it’s easier now more than ever to optimize your blog in just minutes — saving you thousands of dollars from not needing to outsource this simple task.
Yoast is easy to use once you get the hang of it and has an ample amount of options to help you get your blog found in online searches. Follow this step by step process on how to optimize your WordPress blog using Yoast and you will soon feel like a pro!
1. Get a WordPress blog: Go to WordPress.org and click “Download WordPress.”
You will be taken to this screen: Click download again and wait for it to complete.
2. Go to your website
3. Click on the plugins tab and click add new
4. Search for Yoast SEO. This is the plugin that will help you to optimize your WordPress blog.
5. Click Install Now shown below
6. Click Activate
7. It will come up on your sidebar as “SEO” once the plugin is added correctly.
8. The configuration wizard is good for starting out with Yoast. It will take you through the basics of optimizing your blog step by step. It is located in the “General” tab shown below.
9. After you have edited your blog, if you are unhappy with your work, you can click the “restore default settings” button also in the “General” tab and it will return your settings to their original state.
10. On the “Your info” tab indicated below, you can change your website name, select if you’re a company or a person, and write your name in if you are not a company.
11. Under the Webmaster tools tab, you can verify your website with multiple search engines. Start by clicking the link to “Google Search Console.”
You will be taken to a screen that looks like this. Follow the recommended method to verify your website.
12. In the Titles & Metas tab, you can choose the symbol you would like to appear on the tab of your website.
13. The Homepage tab is where you will optimize the front page of your website. You can optimize the title and description which will later appear on the search engine.
14. The Post types tab is where you will customize the templates for your posts, pages, and media. You can customize the title templates and the description templates.
15. The Taxonomies tab is where you customize templates for your categories, tags, and format.
16. The social tab is where all of your social media account links go. If you click on each tab, you can customize what people will see as the frontpage of these profiles.
17. Frontpage settings will allow you to customize what people see when they share your social media profiles.
18. Click on the tools tab next.
The most useful link on the tools page is the bulk editor which allows you to edit all of the titles on your website.
19. If you choose a post and press edit, it will allow you to optimize each post inside of your website individually.
20. Under “SEO Title,” always put your most important keywords.
21. The red dots shown here will give you an idea of what is missing from your website in terms of optimization.
It’s that simple. Just use the notifications in the red and orange buttons as a checklist to fix one by one. You’ll see how quickly you can optimize your blog post for your keyword phrases that will help your blog get found by so many more potential customers who are searching online.
QUESTION: Share your best blog optimization tip below or post your question on this topic: