Need business advice, try online!
In today's economic climate, the businesses that survive are going to be those who have taken steps to be efficient, stream-lined and adaptable to the changing conditions, able to profit from the opportunities that still exist, but may be slightly harder to find. There is a wealth of business advice available online, if you just know where to look. A good place to start may be an online business directory, such as www.searchme4.co.uk.
They provide a business search facility allowing you to find the business advice you need. Enter the search criteria 'business' and you can choose from a range of business services, including 'Business advisors' and 'Financial and business consultants'.
There are various types of business advice available online. Small business owners or start-ups can find information to get started on the government?s businesslink pages (see www.businesslink.gov.uk). This covers a range of practical topics from how to comply with employment law and manage financial matters and taxation, to discussing how to develop your leadership skills, train and motivate your staff and grow your business.
For more specialist advice, you may want to look to employ a business consultant who could spend time analysing a particular aspect of your business. It is considered quite normal to employ the services of an accountant to ensure your books and taxes are dealt with properly, or a solicitor to deal with legal matters, but have you also considered that it may be beneficial to outsource your human resources management? Alternatively, a commercial property specialist may be able to help you decide whether to lease or buy your business premises, as well as perform any necessary negotiations and paperwork.
Possibly you feel that you and your staff would benefit from training - perhaps you have identified a particular skills gap, such as you wish to learn how to make the most of some new software, or maybe you are looking for training in 'softer' skills such as stress management, communication or visual presentation. You could search for business courses online. For example, just enter the search criteria 'training' in the online business search facility provided at Seachme4 and you can choose from a variety of categories, including 'Computer Training', 'Management Training' or 'Sales Training'.
Have you considered looking for business advice among your peers? Many business people find this a vital source of information and knowledge, helping you to determine ways to develop, innovate and grow your business. You can also benefit greatly from other people?s experiences, or benchmark your organisation against other similar companies. You could find out about other companies in your area similar to your own by searching an online business directory, entering your own postcode as search criteria.
Alternatively, universities can be a great source of knowledge and technical expertise. Many university researchers are happy to provide advice or business analysis in return for the opportunity to work on a real-life business situation. You can find universities and also smaller local and specialist colleges in your area, by searching UK business directories for 'universities' or 'colleges'.
Often it is easy enough to run a business when things are going well, but what about when things go wrong? Dealing with troublesome employees, customer complaints or debts can cause worry and be very time-consuming and costly to deal with. An HR consultant, management consultant or accountant specialising in business rescue services could, respectively, provide advice for these tricky situations. Just enter the type of advice, along with your town or postcode, in online business search engines to find relevant local companies.
Perhaps your systems or structures are holding you back. A management consultancy could help you to decide whether restructuring, performance management, or benchmarking could increase your turnover, cut costs and improve your profits. Search for 'Management and Business consultants' on www.searchme4.co.uk to find a list of suitable firms in your area, chosen from their UK business directory.