One of the most daunting aspects of starting your own business is the thought that you have no boss to turn to when things become difficult. In fact, managers and employees look to you for answers, and draw on your knowledge and experience to develop in their job roles. Fortunately, you have access to several resources aimed at supporting and growing small businesses in the UK. Learn who to turn to when others turn to you.
1. Government Resources
Government resources range from funding support to small business advice and information. Visit the GOV.UKwebsite to learn more about everything from bankruptcy to business tax. Similarly, the Business is Great website offers information and advice about starting and growing your business, and features a business support helpline for real-time advice. Remember to investigate local government bodies and learn more about schemes in your region.
2. The British Chambers of Commerce
Joining your local Chamber of Commerce is not only a great way to network, but also provides access to a plethora of resources, such as business accelerator programmes and discount schemes. However, activities and resources vary from region to region, so do some research before paying the membership fee.
3. The Federation of Small Businesses
The FSB has been operating for more than 40 years and has approximately 200,000 members as of 2015. The organisation offers a variety of membership benefits, including tax investigation protection insurance, a legal protection scheme, and online legal documents.
4. Universities and Colleges
Numerous universities and colleges participate in local business growth and support programmes. Contact local business schools and enquire about workshops and opportunities. Also, ask about training opportunities for you and your employees, and find out whether institutions have local placement programmes that can put you in touch with entry-level applicants.
5. Other Business Owners
Other business owners do not necessarily have to act as mentors—sometimes an understanding friend is equally valuable. Network with other small-business owners, and meet for a meal or a drink once a month. In addition to advice from seasoned entrepreneurs, you could increase referrals and may even find someone with whom you can collaborate on marketing. Don’t neglect LinkedIn when building relationships with your peers.
6. Blogs and Online Publications
You can find information about almost any aspect of owning a small business on blogs (like this one) and through online publications, such as Inc. and Entrepreneur. Remember to check the comments after reading articles, because others may ask interesting questions or share experiences and advice not covered by the author.
If you don’t have the resources you need to employ a full-time worker to take care of certain tasks, consider outsourcing the work. Online freelancer communities, such as Upwork and Fiverr, allow you to find the best talent for short-term projects and specialised work. You can usually search by skill, and use customer ratings and feedback to refine your results. These sites allow you to find anything from a virtual assistant to a website or graphic designer without leaving your office.
8. Business Coaches
A business coach can help you to develop the skills you need to grow your business into a successful enterprise. A good business coach works with you to identify your strengths, weaknesses, and goals, to find solutions to business problems, and to streamline your business operations. For help with any aspect of your small company, contact Business Owner Coaching to learn more about our business and leadership training courses.