Energy News – 27/06/2017
A deal with the DUP may be yet to materialise, but that hasn’t stopped the Queen’s speech going ahead, wit...Read More
But there a number of more formal and knowledgeable sources of advice for firms at all stages of their development.
An advisor or mentor – particularly one who has their own experience of running a company – can help you make decisions or just act as a sounding board.
Research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has found that survival rates among firms which use a mentor are double those of other companies after five years.
So where can you turn for help?
When you set up a business bank account or apply for a loan, you will usually be assigned a relationship manager who can offer some guidance.
Although trust in banks among the general public is rather low at the moment, they can be a useful source of assistance.
Marco Soares, a business coach and mentor from Haywards Heath, West Sussex, says: “If you’ve got a really proactive relationship manager, he may understand what’s going on in your market or he may be able to put you in touch with other advisers or fellow business owners.”
Mentorsme.co.uk is a service which helps businesses get in touch with a variety of mentoring schemes and organisations all over the country.
PRIME, the Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise, is a body set up to promote self-employment among the over-50s. It offers a range of courses and mentoring sessions.
There are a number of state-backed organisations and schemes that offer business support. The Business Support Helpline can advise over the phone about the more basic aspects of setting up and running a firm, from the likes of payroll and tax to writing a business plan and seeking funding.
In England, call 0300 456 3565; the Business Wales Helpline is on 0300 060 3000, Business Gateway in Scotland is on 0845 609 6611 and Invest Northern Ireland is on 0800 181 4422.
Before you seek outside help, get an idea of what your goals are. Dan Hooper at the FSB says that a mentor can be a sounding board for you to bounce ideas off.
“Equally, they can help you identify funding channels or improve your access to markets,” he says.
It is important that both parties realise that mentoring is not a scientific process, Hooper adds.
“This is about having a support network rather than getting specific advice.”
The FSB encourages start-ups to seek advice, but Hooper says that guidance can also be important when a firm is making a difficult transition – for example changing strategy or introducing a new product or service.
“The primary function of mentoring is to see if you are going in the right direction, and to see what the impact might be of a decision you are about to make,” he adds.
Soares says that it is also important that there is a personality fit. “You are going to be discussing quite intimate matters. But getting outside help can be invaluable: it can give you a broader frame of reference to help you steer the business.
“The fact is that not enough owners have a network of people to rely on.”
Extremely helpful and clear to understand
"I have found the information and assistance to be very clear, and helpful. I was helped through the process of switching electricity supply by personal switching assistant Suhan Ashan who was not only helpful, but very patient in explaining all of the queries which I had and also researching the estimated KwH for our newly acquired office premises, as we had no previous tenant information."This review was posted by Sue Williams on the 24th of July 2017
Jessica help us arrange new deals for …
"Jessica help us arrange new deals for our start up business which was greatly useful particularly in time during busy setting out period"This review was posted by Allan on the 21st of July 2017
Really good doing business with Mark …
"Really good doing business with Mark Weeks and SwitchMyBusiness. Getting good energy deals for not-for-profit organisations are a nightmare but Mark made it really easy for us. Very many thanks, well done!"This review was posted by Tony Smith on the 20th of July 2017
Spoke with Mark Weeks great guy always …
"Spoke with Mark Weeks great guy always phoned back or email when he said he would and was a great help. Would use him again any time."This review was posted by Duncan Winton on the 20th of July 2017
Courteous and knowledgeable.
"I had my business transfer handled by Mark Weeks, he was courteous and knowledgeable about the various different tariffs on offer and made the process quick and simple. I would definitely recommend their services."This review was posted by Lawrie Sharp on the 19th of July 2017