How to grow your business and get a guaranteed return

As a business owner, one of your constant concerns may be how to grow your business. This is a very natural and necessary challenge which can provide new opportunities while also developing your enterprise into a more resilient one. But as we all know, growing a business can present several risks – especially when so much effort and resources are needed to ensure sound implementation. Plus, very often business owners take on additional personal risk or put a strain on the business’ financials in order to see things through.

The good news is that business growth can be just as exciting as it is scary. Growth encourages innovation and diversification, the very basis of entrepreneurship. In fact, the EU, together with the Maltese government, has developed a grant which reduces the risk for you and your business. This is better known as the SME Growth Grant Scheme.

The Support Your Business Deserves

The SME Growth Grant Scheme is targeted at micro, small and medium-sized businesses. A maximum grant of €500,000 is being offered per applicant, based on the total cost of the growth project. Micro and small businesses can benefit from 30% funding, whereas a medium-sized business can get up to 20%. This grant can allow your business to capitalise on new opportunities and become more sustainable over the long-term.

Getting access to capital has always been a challenge for Maltese businesses. The long and expensive process involved in getting funding from traditional institutions can easily make you miss a golden opportunity. In contrast, this grant allows for a much faster process at a considerably lower price.

Eligible Funding Projects

In simple terms, the SME Growth Grant Scheme can support the investments which will help you generate a higher revenue. Whether you are diversifying your business or building on past successes, there are several ways in which this grant can help you. These include:

  • Leasing of private premises
  • Construction of new property
  • Purchasing of equipment
  • Investment in energy efficient machinery
  • Purchasing of patent right or licences

The ultimate goals of the SME Growth Grant Scheme are to support local enterprises to reach their full potential while also encouraging further employment and development. In order to be deemed successful, each grant application needs to adhere to strict guidelines so as to ensure a just distribution of funds… which is what our team of funding experts is for!

NM Group can handle your SME Growth Grant Scheme application and offer advisory on eligible costs. Through our experienced consultants, we continue to achieve a success rate of over 95% for all grant applications. Get in touch today to benefit from this or any other grant or support measure!

The Secret To Writing A Foolproof Business Plan

A common question we get from entrepreneurs is if a business plan is necessary.

And our answer all depends on what you believe is necessary. Business owners often view business plans as an extra hassle, especially when it’s only needed as a required document by a third party. But what happens when you need to take stock of all your ideas and projections?

A great business plan can not only represent a business’ scope on paper, but it can also act as a roadmap to success.

So, even if is a business plan isn’t formally required – it has its uses. How do you make it foolproof?

First things first. Not all business plans are created equal.

There is no specific rule which says that a plan needs to have so many pages, chapters or statistics. In order to understand the level of detail, what data and which arguments to include, the writer must first understand their audience. A business plan to be used by the entrepreneur will probably not require the same information needed for one that’s presented to third parties, such as banks or investors.

So, with an audience in mind, what kind of information should you include?

The Basics

When it comes to writing business plans there are standard areas that are addressed, such as:

  • Mission statement and vision Statement
  • Company description
  • Unique traits of your products and services
  • Finances
  • Market strategies
  • Operations and management plan

Even if you don’t have any grand ideas for these elements, writing about it in your business plan will force you to consider your options and help you choose a direction.

Now that you have a fair idea of how to split up your plan, it’s time to think about it in context.

A plan for your own use

If you’re creating a business plan for yourself or your inner circle, then detail is not as important as objectivity. The goal of the plan is for you to put down your thoughts on paper so that you can visualise them better. In this way, you can identify any possible gaps in your reasoning or in your business model. The plan itself can be very short, and you can find templates for one-pagers across the web.

Although detail is not necessary for such a plan, critical thinking is. You need to ensure that you’ve got all your bases covered, from your core products or services to the organisation of your business. The thought process which is involved is the same as that used to make a more detailed plan.

A plan for third parties

When you need a business plan that will be read by people outside of your business, you need to include background information and more detailed explanations than you would in a one-pager.

Again, deciding what you would include in the plan depends very much on its audience. A bank might require more detailed financials, whereas an investor would be looking for key people that will ensure the success of the business. Even applying for local and EU-funded grants require particular information to be included.

Once you provide your plan to the third party, it will probably be read by a number of people –  your business plan is officially under scrutiny. These people will be checking the plan for several criteria, not least, consistency. There is nothing worse when a plan that says one thing on one page and then says the opposite on another.

Another important element that is often sought is data to back up your proposals and arguments. This is where market research really pays off. Put yourself in the third party’s shoes – their investment in you involves a certain level of risk. This business plan is your chance to prove to them that not only is your project worth the risk – it’s got potential to bring in a return too.

When do I know it’s ready?

A business plan is not a static document – as with your business, your plan will evolve over time.

The point of the plan is not so much to instruct as it is to guide. New business opportunities and changing environments will constantly challenge your business, and having a plan will help you make the right decisions at the right time.

Researching and writing a business plan is a time-consuming effort, especially if you are very busy. NM Group can create your plan and get you funding to cover the majority of the costs. We can also use your business plan to apply for a range of funding opportunities. It’s a win-win!

Get in touch today on [email protected].

5 Reasons Why Investing In Your Staff Makes For Better Business

As a business owner or manager, you’ve probably come to realise that your team is one of the most important resources your company has. Keeping staff content is a challenge in itself, but keeping them motivated is even harder. Various studies have shown that employees are loyal to an employer that empowers them and invests in their development. Money is important as well, certainly, but very often it is further down the list of an employee’s priorities.

One of the best tools to keep motivation high is training. However, as many business owners would agree, training is an expense that doesn’t always fall high on our list of priorities. Fortunately, the Investing in Skills scheme, administered by Jobsplus, can help to significantly reduce the cost of training to all local businesses. Here are just a few reasons why investing in your staff is a smart move:

1. Empower your staff

The term empowerment might seem like a loaded word, but it simply means allowing your employees to have a certain level of authority within the business. An employee might be empowered to take executive decisions wisely, for instance changing suppliers when a better and more efficient deal becomes available. Giving such authority to employees requires prior training, such as in communication and creative thinking. One of the benefits of empowerment is that it frees up time for the company’s management to focus on the bigger picture.

2. Introduce new skills

A business which does not recruit new staff for a while can easily become stuck in its ways. This could make it less prone to change and innovate, which might damage its long-term sustainability. Training can help prevent this. Staff members can be taught new skills which allow them to re-think their existing processes and products. Such skills can come from informal training or accredited courses and help prepare the business for future challenges.

3. Show staff your appreciation

You spend more time with your staff than you probably do with your family. That’s exactly why it’s very important that you show them your appreciation for their efforts and ideas. By giving them training opportunities you are giving them a life-long gift which has more value than any bonus. Allow your staff to suggest training which they would like to have, and be open to new ideas. Training on entrepreneurship, for example, might seem like an unusual choice. However, it is a course which teaches problem-solving, project management and new business opportunities. Skills any manager would want his staff to have, right?

4. Your customers will thank you

Your staff probably meet your customers more often than you do. It makes sense that they have all the necessary customer service and stress management training they could have. There is nothing that irritates a customer more when a question is posed and a business representative stares blankly back. The founder of the Virgin Group, Sir Richard Branson has repeatedly said, “If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your clients.”

5. Expand beyond your comfort zone

Training is, in itself, a form of networking. A classroom setting allows interaction between employees to be less formal and helps develop the team spirit, especially in larger enterprises. There is also interaction with the trainer, who may be an outsider, and might pass on solutions the business offers to other contacts. Joint training with other companies also encourages partnerships and new opportunities.

If you would like to learn more about how you could benefit from the Investing in Skills scheme, where you could save up to 70% of the eligible training costs, get in touch. Our team is ready to assist you in getting the necessary grants and can also help you identify the right training for your staff.