SME Help

Local SME support and advice

sme-sccciThe British Chamber of Commerce is a good place to start http://www.britishchambers.org.uk/

We have been members of our local Chamber for over 10 years and they provide lots of added value and inside local business knowledge http://www.sccci.co.uk/

 

 

Networking

sme-bniYou may make or supply the best widgets in the world but if you dont tell anyone about them how will they ever know?  The internet is a very busy place and you wont always get noticed unless you have a huge marketing budget and lots of time to wait around.  By far, the best form of marketing is ‘word of mouth’ marketing. and the best organisation for helping you get this going is The BNI Business Network International  http://www.bni.org/   

We have been BNI members for over 10 years and our fellow members are like another sales team for us, telling their contacts about the great work we do and sending us leads and opportunities every week. Its by far the most cost effective, and enjoyable, way to promote your business.

Think about it, if someone recommends a good movie or new restaurant to you, you are far more likely to go check it out than just seeing an advert in the local newspaper. Personal recommendations build trust, build new enquiries, bring easier sales conversions, build client loyalty, bringing more recommendations, builds faster growth and leads to bigger profits.   Its that simple.  Contact your local BNI group for a free visit to their next breakfast session to see for yourself the power of good networking in action.

 

Mastering ICT

Connecting Cheshire SFB LogoConnecting Cheshire Superfast Business offers fully funded support to help your business identify, maximise and profit from the opportunities that superfast broadband and new technologies present. We have a team of expert advisers, a programme of events on hot topics offering inspirational insights and practical solutions and access to ICT specialists and knowledge. For eligible small and medium sized businesses, the Connecting Cheshire Superfast Business service is fully funded, and therefore at no cost. http://www.ccbusiness.co.uk/about

 

Mentoring and learning

Unless you went to a top business school (which most of us certainly didn’t) the world of business, especially regarding strategic planning, can be a scary place. School just doesn't teach us vital business and leadership skills. You don't need to face this alone. There are a number of Government backed mentoring schemes aimed at encouraging and supporting entrepreneurs in their efforts. After all, if you do well and can take a few people off the unemployment register and get them paying taxes then is a win – win- win for everyone.

If you are new to business here is a good place to really start your education http://www.workbizacademy.co.uk/

If you are under 30 the also go to http://www.rockstaryouth.co.uk

Fast growth support

When your business is up and running and has become successful it has other ‘growing pains’ to contend with. There is  a government backed organisation available to provide monitoring and support to get you to the next stage. Whether that’s natural sales growth, and acquisition or merger, bringing in a board of Directors or selling the business to another organisation that can help it really reach its potential and grow further, you need sound advice and clarity as to which is the right strategy for you.

One such very good organisation providing this support is http://www.growthaccelerator.com/ 

Funding for Growth

Funds are available at lower rates than the banks would charge. And lets face, even if you could get a bank loan these days they are only really giving loans to folk with big houses they can put up as collateral anyway.

Here is a clever search engine to help business owners quickly find their way through to some of the best business loans available today http://www.gateway2enterprise.co.uk/

Emergency Business Continuity planning

You need to think about what happens if things go wrong. The recent bad winter weather affects business just as much as homes. The same if there is traffic disruption or a large building fire nearby. If your staff cant get in then phones cant be answered, orders taken and goods shipped. PA4You offer an emergency, temporary, call handling service that keeps the phones answered in such a situation. We can work with BT to have your landline diverted straight in to a dedicated number here in our office. Our record for doing this in an emergency situation is under 5 minutes from receiving the emergency the call to action from a new client based down in Brighton.

Shall I license or franchise my business?

There is a lot to consider re the benefits of both growth methods and the very best place to start is at the BFA, the British Franchise Association  http://www.thebfa.org/Home
They are the UK's premier organisation setting the standard for ethical and successful franchising practises that you should look to measure yourself against to be sure of achieving successful network of franchisees. PA4You are the only call and sales support organisation recognised by the BFA and are a Supplier member working with many other BFA member franchised originations nationally.

Marketing Support for Micro-businesses

Marketing for the Micro-business is a resource site dedicated to micro-businesses, from sole traders and the self-employed up to business with 10-15 staff. Individuals and smaller companies are often left without tailored marketing advice because support is often aimed at businesses larger than micro-businesses. Marketing for the Micro-business changes that by providing support via an articles database, a regular blog and a downloadable ebook available in both pdf and Kindle format. Visit http://www.marketingforthemicrobusiness.co.uk/