MarketPlace is part of the Government’s Growth Vouchers programme, a research project to test how to help micro and small businesses grow through the use of subsidised business advice. As business advisors we have added our services to the MarketPlace so that we can take part in the Growth Voucher programme.
What are Growth Vouchers?
Announced by the Chancellor in the 2013 Budget the Growth Vouchers programme will deliver subsidies to help business access the advice they need to help them grow.
Small businesses that are eligible and choose to participate in this programme will be allocated vouchers to spend on strategic advice for suppliers in the private sector, matched with their own funds on one of five categories of support:-
- Raising finance and managing cash flow
- Recruiting and developing your staff
- Improving leadership and management skills
- Marketing, attracting and keeping customers
- Making the most of digital technology
The programme is available across the whole of England.
I am a small business. How can I get a Growth Voucher?
You can apply on a government website => www.gov.uk/apply-growth-vouchers. If you meet the criteria you will then be guided through a diagnostic filter which will help you access your business needs. The process will be either done on-line or through a face to face meeting with an advisor. After this, you will be notified if you have received a voucher.
Advisors to Small Businesses
If they meet the minimum standards required and are a full member of a trade or professional body that oversees the quality of services being delivered, then business advisors can offer advice as part of the Growth Vouchers programme. The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) of which we are a member has been identified as such a body. We have to produce evidence of our experience of delivering advice to small and micro businesses and have to have professional liability insurance. We qualify on both counts.
What kind of advice can you receive?
The programme hopes to match small businesses seeking advice with businesses that give in-depth strategic advice in five key areas:-
Raising Finance and Managing Cashflow
Advice in this area covers the overall financial health of your business. It could focus on improving cash flow management and forecasting, credit control and late payments, or on how to negotiate with banks and other funding sources. You could use it to develop a financial strategy for growth, raise additional finance, secure new investors, or to improve your own financial management skills.
Recruiting and Developing your Staff
Advice will aim to ensure that you have the right people with the right skills to help your business grow. It could focus on how to hire, train and manage staff and to ensure that your business complies with employment law and regulations. You could undertake a skills audit, workforce planning, set up performance management systems and rewards or identify the appropriate organisational structures or processes for your business.
Improving Leadership and Management Skills
Advice could help you develop your strategy and vision, or allow you to improve the leadership and management potential of yourself and your team. You could also access capabilities, identify management development needs, and improve management practices, review business strategy or plan for the future or managing change.
Marketing Attracting and Keeping Customers
Advice could help your business develop effective marketing strategies to ensure that you are providing the right product/service at the right price, in the right place at the right time. You could also use it for market research, targeting existing and potential customers, for social media to extend your reach into new markets and to develop pricing strategies.
Making the Most of Digital Technology
The advice could help you maximise the potential of digital tools and technologies. It could focus on using them for product development and market testing, customer service and marketing and building on-line sales. The advice could be used to address the risks of cyber attacks or for exploring how digital technologies could be used to reduce cost, improve productivity or for quality control.