Why is it that whenever there seems to be some help available to businesses it is so often not worth the trouble that goes with it?
When businesses research any possible support that may be available, it never seems to be a simple process of identifying direct grants or matched funding and all too often they become totally disillusioned by the whole process.
After 20 years of being told the the Government was creating a "one-stop shop" for funding, we are no closer to its actual delivery despite millions of pounds being spent each year.
It seems a simple idea, yet time and time again different initiatives are set up only to be changed once businesses have got to hear about them, or funding runs out in a particular financial year.
It is surely time that if a business needs a fund that is on offer, it is able to get it - irrespective of size, post-code and certainly irrespective of any so- called ' initiatives'. Business is not calling for hand-outs, it doesn't even have to be offered anything.
Yet surely, if there is something available, it should be able to access it quickly and without the enormous bureaucracy that accompanies most applications.
Businesses need to receive funds at the time that they need them, not a few months down the line, by which time the opportunity may have been lost.
This is not necessarily a criticism of the providers and the deliverers of funding, as they are often caught themselves by the requirement to meet their own targets and performance indicators.
In turn, this has created a vast monolith that, in essence, isn't able to deliver much at all.
This is never truer, or of more concern, to smaller businesses who often find out about funding by accident, frequently several months after it has become available.
By that point the funding has usually changed, or is not available, or has been stopped because of a bureaucratic, short-term approach.
There are a few successes but many are sector-based and meet just one specific need.
There is currently a review taking place of the whole way that business support is being delivered, and now is clearly the time for a complete re-think.
This particular nettle should be grasped firmly, so that businesses are able to access whatever may be in offer when they need it.
Businesses shouldn't have to employ a specialist to fill in paperwork, and they should be allowed the right to approach any provider. Then maybe we can get away from initiatives and start delivering what will help our businesses to grow and diversify.
* Mike Cherry is West Midlands Policy Unit Chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses