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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Online guide to raising business finance launched

HELP is at hand for businesses looking to raise finance.

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Mentor: Deborah Meaden from Dragon’s Den

Business in You, a partnership between the Government, private sector and supporters of the Local Business Accelerators campaign, is making it easier to access information on the subject.

Its website – http://businessinyou.bis.gov.uk – can help businesses plan, prepare, and apply for the funding they need to grow.

It includes a ‘business support and finance finder’ to assess the best type of funding for each business.

The range of options includes:

Start-up loans, available for 18-30 year olds, which come with a package of business support;

The Enterprise Finance Guarantee, which provides additional lending to businesses that lack the security to secure a conventional loan;

The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme, offering tax incentives to investors who fund qualifying small businesses.

Only 20 per cent of businesses seek advice before applying for a loan but getting advice can dramatically increase their chances of securing funding.

Seeking the support of a qualified professional business adviser – such as an accountant, lawyer or bank manager – could be invaluable. Another website – mentorsme.co.uk – connects businesses with specialist business-finance mentors.

Many of its mentors are present and former high-street bank staff who have volunteered to work for free. Businesses can be confident that the advice is impartial by working with a mentor who is not from their bank.

Only one in three owners develops a business plan. Yet many bank managers cite a solid business plan as the key factor in a successful application for finance.

Free help in developing a business plan is available during National Business Planning Week, February 11-17.

Once a plan is in place, cash management becomes crucial to success.

Around 400,000 businesses start in the UK each year but one third cease trading within three years.

Poor cash flow is frequently to blame.

Guides to help manage cash effectively are available to download from the Business in You web site.

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