The aim of the Growth Voucher programme is to help small businesses access the strategic advice they need to help them grow. If eligible, you’ll be granted a £2000 Growth Voucher that you can use against one of five support areas: Finance and Cashflow; Expanding your workforce; Leadership and management; Marketing and customer service (the heading under which The Business Greenhouse can provide businesses with support); and IT and web. You have to match fund the investment, but you don’t have to use all of the £2000 granted.
So, how is the Growth Voucher easier to access now?
To make the scheme more accessible to small businesses, the government is introducing flexible payment options. Now eligible businesses can pay their half of the voucher directly to the provider and no longer need to find 100% of the cash and claim it back.
What’s the benefit of seeking strategic advice for your business?
If the idea of £2000 to put towards growing your business is appealing, then you’ll probably be running through the pros and cons of actually applying for a Growth Voucher (at this stage, be aware that eligible businesses are randomly selected for a Growth Voucher so there is a possibility you might not be awarded even if you meet the criteria). Enterprise Nation, the organisation helping to administer the Growth Voucher scheme, put this infographic together – it shows how businesses have benefited from advice they have sought:
If you need further convincing as for why you should consider applying for a Growth Voucher, Lord Young, the Primer Minister’s advisor on enterprise, urges:
“External, strategic advice is key to commercial success and has helped thousands of businesses to grow. I want to make it easier and more affordable for small businesses to access and the Growth Vouchers programme is doing exactly this. I have received fantastic feedback from small business owners who have taken up this great offer, using the online marketplace to select a strategic advisor to help them shape their business growth and improve performance.”
Moreover, the benefits are best exemplified by the results we get for our clients when working for them on a strategic level. Many of our clients come to us because their heads are spinning with all the whos, whys, whens, wheres and hows of marketing their business. Does any of this sound familiar?
- You’ve tried every which marketing way you know with fewer results than expected. An effective, targeted, strategy that will bring bigger returns on your investment is definitely needed.
- Your marketing efforts brought in more customers for a while, but the results of your efforts have now plateaued. You really want an evolving marketing strategy that helps you to utilise the marketing tools best suited to bringing in a steady stream of new customers for your business.
- Marketing activities are taking up more time than you’ve got. You need an efficient way of bringing all your marketing efforts together so you can manage your time better, and still be effective in bringing in new business and retaining your existing customer base.
If yes, you’re not alone. This is what our clients say when they first come to us for strategic advice on how to best market their business – they’re so involved in the day to day running of their business, it is hard to step back and take a proper and grounded view on what marketing strategy would best meet their needs. This is where independent strategic marketing advice benefits them and their business.
Martin Evans of Vero Drive was one such client and asked us to prepare a written marketing strategy. Of our report, Martin said:
“Lynda did an extremely professional and thorough job in understanding my business and then putting good, practical advice in the report. I have some clear goals and methods to market my business in the coming months/years. I would unhesitatingly recommend her for any SME needing help in developing a marketing strategy.”
How can you find out if you’re eligible for a Growth Voucher?
If you’re tempted to apply to the Growth Voucher scheme you will, for starters, need to:
- Be registered in England
- Have less than 250 employees
- Be actively selling goods and/or services
- Have a turnover no greater than €50m or £45m
- Own 75% or more of their business
You’ll then have to complete an online questionnaire and this will be followed up either with a further online assessment or a face-to-face discussion in order to help determine from which type of support your business would most benefit. For more information and to find out if you’re eligible for a Growth Voucher go to: https://www.gov.uk/apply-growth-vouchers
What happens next?
If you’re awarded a Growth Voucher, you’ll be told under which of the five support areas you can seek advice. You can use your Growth Voucher to purchase support from one of registered Growth Voucher advisers. Each of the registered Growth Voucher advisers has to prove their worth against a rigorous assessment of the standards to which they work so you can be sure that you’ll get qualified and useful advice from them.
To find a Growth Voucher adviser for you, you’ll be directed to the Enterprise Nation’s Marketplace. Here you’ll have the opportunity to review the Growth Voucher advisers registered to provide advice for your deemed support area.
If you don’t receive a Growth Voucher, hopefully the assessment will still have been useful in pinpointing what type of advice would best help your business to develop and you can still make use of the Marketplace to find someone who can help you.
The Business Greenhouse is a registered Growth Voucher adviser!
We’re very excited to have been given Growth Voucher adviser status. With our experience and expertise, we’re well placed to provide advice under the Marketing heading and can help you market your business and help to attract and retain clients and customers.
It was indeed a thorough assessment we had to go through in order to ‘make it’ as a registered Growth Voucher adviser and we had to provide evidence that we:
1. Are full members of a trade body (we’re members of the Federation of Small Businesses, and also of the Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship and studying member of the Institute of Leadership and Management)
2. Have three years experience of working with, or advising, small businesses (we’ve been supporting small businesses since 2004, while The Business Greenhouse came into being in 2011)
3. Have Professional Indemnity Insurance
If, as Martin discovered, some strategic marketing advice would help your business grow, and you’d like to know more about The Business Greenhouse as a Growth Voucher adviser check out our Growth Voucher adviser profile
If you win a Growth Voucher and are recommended to seek marketing support, and would like to find out how The Business Greenhouse can help, click on the ‘send an enquiry’ button on our Growth Voucher adviser profile, or, if you prefer, do get in touch with us directly. We’d love to hear from you.