If you’re preparing to grow your North East based business, find out how funding can help and the key steps to get the funding you need.

Where should you start?

Keep it simple and start with the basics. Create a plan on how you intend to grow the business, what/where are your markets; what are your overheads and costs and how do you intend to cover them… and try to think about how this impacts on the business.

Look to the organisations that can help you create your own network, people who have embarked along a similar path and build an understanding of the business improvement projects that have really worked for them.  It’s amazing how supportive the North East business community is, and how willing people and organisation are to offer free advice and support across all sectors.

The main thing is to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve - set goals and then look at what funding is available to help you reach those objectives.

Once you’ve got your ideas down on paper, to start actually looking for funding support, most people look to their own networks - approaching peers and trusted intermediaries like your accountant is a sensible place to start. Find someone who can offer useful suggestions.

Google is also your friend at this stage - try an online search, specific to your region (like ‘Durham business grants’) to get a few ideas, or have a look at the North East Growth Hub, which has a great Finance Finder tool.  Again, before you start your search, keep those goals at the forefront of your mind – what do you want to achieve and what will give you the best value?

County Durham businesses have the added bonus of direct access to the team at Business Durham, who have a great understanding of the range of support available to businesses in the area.

Preparing for funding.

When you’ve done your research and have a list of potential funding sources, before approaching  them, make sure that you’re very clear on what your business objectives and expectations are. This is especially important when planning more than one business improvement project.

Once again, be clear on what your priorities are and what sort of return on investment you’re expecting, something funders will want to know too.

If you already know who you want to deliver the project, let the funder know, as most can be flexible enough to accommodate this.

The application process will vary between funding providers, but most should be reasonably straightforward – you’ll almost certainly need some past financial information (the accounts from you last full trading year will be a good starting point) as well as some projections based on your plans for the business and the funding. Most providers will have staff available who can support your application and answer any questions you have.

Why would you need grant funding support?

Grant funding programmes exist to encourage businesses to invest and stimulate business growth.

On an individual business level, the reasons people apply for grants are varied. Some would not be able to undertake the project at all without financial support, while others may face delays until funds are available within the business.

Grant funding aims to de-risk the decision to invest. The idea being that this encourages more businesses to take the plunge and push forward with growth plans.

You might not need it straight away, but that shouldn’t stop you exploring what options are out there!

A final bit of advice

Do your research - if you’re planning investment, make sure to investigate all of the support that might be available. There are more support options than most people realise and it doesn’t cost anything to find out what’s available.

This article is by John King, North East Business Support Manager here at NBSL.

Find out more about our funding for North East businesses or our Tees Valley business grants.

NBSL LogoThis article is brought to you by NBSL's North East Business Support Fund which funds the costs of business improvement projects such as website development, marketing strategies, external consultancy – click here to find out more

The North East Business Support Fund  has hundreds of registered providers offering a wide range of business support. NBSL has used its best efforts to post on this web site the most accurate and reliable information given to us by our providers but does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information. The thoughts and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and are licensed to NBSL for publication on this website.

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