If you plan to start a business in 2015, you may be searching around for good business advice, and you may have found it tricky to know where to start. Here are my five ‘top tips’ on how to get the best advice to help grow your business:
1. Do your research online. The internet is a great place to start when researching your business, but there is so much information out there that it can be hard to know where to start and who to trust. You can always get reliable information from the Gov.uk sites, and they have a guide to writing a business plan. I’ve also found Sage to offer sound business advice – their start up guide is here.
2. Join a community or forum. It’s all very well getting business guidance from websites, but sometimes you have questions that aren’t covered by a pre-written guide. I’ve found online fora and communities invaluable as a source of people who don’t mind answering questions from a new business owner. Search to find the group that suits you – some are more general whereas others might specifically support parents in business or cake makers or VAs etc
3. Find local support through networking. Online support is great, but face-to-face support can’t be beaten. Go into networking with an open mind, and listen to what new contacts advise. You will find all sorts of people who may be able to help you immediately or in the future.
4. Find a specialist mentor. The first three pointers will give you general support, but in time you may need a specialist mentor who has experience either of your industry or of dealing with the particular challenge that your business faces. You may be able to find this person via your online or real life networks, or search through Linked In, of specialist business mentoring services.
5. My final tip is to look at ways to fund ongoing advice. Specialist business advice is valauble, and well worth investing in. Growth Vouchers can help you find and pay for professional strategic advice. Some businesses will be randomly allocated a voucher for up £2000 to cover half the cost of the advice. That advice can make a huge difference to sales and profits, skills and confidence. Find out more at www.greatbusiness.gov.uk/growthvouchers/
This post is in association with the Business is GREAT campaign.