Posted: Tue 16th May 2017
Back in 2014 the government launched a programme called Growth Vouchers, which offered small amounts of match-funding to business owners to be spent on advice to grow.
What this programme demonstrated is that businesses taking advice grow faster than those that don't. And yet still only a small percentage of businesses seek out and pay for advice. If you're not on the receiving end of advice, I'd love to know why!
One of my key priorities for the rest of this year is to work on how we better connect Enterprise Nation members with advisers. This is based on results showing that when these connections are well made, an increase in productivity and profits soon follows.
Businesses looking for funds are better prepared if they seek the advice of an expert on business planning and cashflow, businesses wanting to increase sales are more fit and able after seeking advice from a professional on developing a sales strategy and pipeline.
You get the idea; taking advice appears to be good for business!
In our latest small business barometer, you told us you felt confident and ambitious about the future which is a pleasure to hear, especially knowing that Enterprise Nation members who get access to business support every day feel even more confident with 69% expecting to grow in the next 12 months, compared with 65% of non members!
But the UK economy is about to embark on a shaky couple of years, making it essential for founders of small firms to be fit and ready for the future.
In this environment, I see reluctance from small businesses to take advice based on a couple of key factors:
Willingness to place trust in an adviser you haven't previously encountered
Not knowing how much long term advice will cost, i.e. transparency in pricing
Last week we brought together a number of advisers from the Enterprise Nation Marketplace to discuss these issues and come up with some solutions!
That's work in progress but I'd love to hear from you if you're a small business owner that has taken advice, is currently looking for it or has put off in engaging with an expert, adviser, coach or mentor for whatever reason.
It's that whatever reason I'd love to hear.
It's through knowing what's holding you back that we can hopefully make the connection between small business owner and adviser more seamless and so deliver better performance for all.
With thanks in advance for your thoughts.
Emma Jones is founder of Enterprise Nation