Make your small business BIG news!

There are over 9000 small companies employing less than 10 people in Bedfordshire alone. Small companies make up over 60% of all employment opportunities in East Anglia and with a recovering economy this looks set to rise.

Here are three tips for small businesses on how to expand and grow at very little cost:


  1. Hire an apprenticeBottom of Form

Apprenticeships are a great way for a business to give an opportunity to a young person, with minimal cost and risk implications.  It can be difficult for employers to take a chance on someone who is unskilled, unqualified and doesn’t have any relevant sector-experience so the support of the apprenticeship scheme allows them to do this cost-effectively.

A Government subsidy called the AGE grant can help finance the cost of an apprentice.  To be eligible your business cannot have recently employed an apprentice and must have less than 50 members of staff. The grant equates to £1500 per apprentice, and you can have up to ten apprentices, during the first year which reduces the total outlay for the business to less than £4,000 for a full time apprentice for the first year.


I suggest getting in touch with a company like the South East Apprenticeship Company, they can source an apprentice, help set up and run your course and account manage the entire process, reducing the business’ costs further. Current schemes include work areas such as Business Admin, Warehousing, Scientific and Pharmaceutical frameworks, Motor Vehicle, Printing, Social Media, Care/Childcare, Construction, Horticultural and Animal Care. Find out more at:


  1. Save money on expanding

A growing business will eventually outgrow its office. This is where projects like the I-Kan Business Centre in Bedford provide the perfect solution.

If you have a home office but want a commercial premises at the face of your business then you can use the I-Kan virtual tenancy scheme. Or perhaps you need to conduct business meetings that would crowd your current office or take over your home, then hire a boardroom.

I-kan also offer fully serviced offices with no long term commitments or contracts! They can even handle your phone calls, and post!


  1. Think about alternative funding options

Many small or start-up businesses struggle to get conventional bank loans. It is worth looking at alternatives like cash advances. These work by providing cash to companies on a re payment plan that suits your cash flow. Monies are repaid via credit or debit transactions. The provider will take an agreed percentage of the monies in every transaction which means you only pay back your loan when you have the customers and the income. It is a great way to grow your business if you are a salon, restaurant, pub or retail outlet.


By Gina Hutchings


Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] at

Categories: Business.

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