Grants can become a valuable resource and key differentiator for you as an advisor – and it doesn’t have to be hard work
Who doesn’t want a grant? A grant is money you can use within your business and upcoming projects and – here’s the good bit – You don’t have to pay it back! It can, therefore, be really valuable for businesses to know what options are available, so they don’t miss out – and this is an open opportunity for you as an advisor to step up and support them.
The most common reasons that business owners give when we ask why they have not accessed grants are:
- I don’t know where to begin (perceived complexity)
- There’s nothing available to my business (assumed ineligibility)
- I don’t have time to go looking for them (they are too busy dealing with urgent matters to tackle what’s important)
This lack of expertise and time is a clear opportunity for advisors to step up and provide value to business owners: you can help your clients by proactively reaching out to them about grants that are available to them. The Swoop Grant Finder tool currently shows more than 450 open grants, and with the help of our advisor portal, you can filter what is relevant to your clients by their sector and location.
Being proactive about what funding is available to your clients is a great way of building a stronger relationship with them, which can help with retention and referrals. Offering funding advice, particularly around grants, is a big USP for an advisor and when clients are deciding who to work with, it could be a deciding factor. It’s hard to see the downside of working with an Advisor who is in the habit of proactively helping you to find relevant grants and supporting you with a successful application.
Grants are opening all around the year in different sectors and locations, so we recommend regularly checking the options ahead of any upcoming contacts you have scheduled with clients. The Swoop Grant Finder makes light work of running this search.
Once you’ve located a grant your client can apply for, you can help them with their application form. Often time is of the essence, and it is important to start the application process as soon as possible, as some grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis – and you do not want to miss out!
Each grant application will be different, and will require different focuses, objectives and amounts – and therefore the documents required will be different too.
If you are working with anyone who has a highly innovative project coming up, the process is slightly different, and Swoop can help with the application process. Often this process is highly competitive, and will require a lot of work from the client. Swoop works with a panel of grant writing specialists with expertise in different industries who can help write the entire application, or they may offer a review service, to make sure nothing vital is missing.
An important thing to take into consideration is that often grants are paid retrospectively, so your client has to carry out the work before they invoice the grant provider. It is also often the case that grant funding may need to be ‘matched’ by funding from another source. Both of these facts can play to your advantage as an advisor.
In cases where your client faces a shortage of the initial capital necessary to initiate work covered by a grant, (or they want to keep their capital reserves in a business saving account, to gain interest from this) they can look at additional funding. This is another way you can add value as an advisor, as you can help advise on what products suit their needs the best.
Such products include (but are not limited to):
- Grant advance funding: which provides a percentage of the value of the grant up front to the client to get started on their project
- VAT finance: which can smooth out the peaks and troughs of VAT allowing your client to keep hold of capital for longer periods
- Asset finance: which can boost your client’s spending power if the purchase of new equipment is part of their plan
- Invoice finance: to support the cash flow of the business throughout the project
Again, the Swoop platform gives you access to the whole funding market for your clients, makes applications faster and easier and gives the opportunity to earn commission on products.
Business grants present advisors with a unique opportunity to assist clients in business growth, strengthen client relationships, and earn commissions on financial products required to complete grant-funded projects. In a landscape where accountants and advisors face increasing pressure to demonstrate their value to clients, helping clients navigate the grant process is a powerful way to answer the question, “What do I get from this relationship?”
Grants are a huge opportunity for businesses and they should not miss out on taking them. As an advisor, you should not miss this opportunity to offer a problem-solving service that clients will want to talk about. With Swoop, driving the grants conversation is something you can add to your offer today.