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Small Business Support

Post written by Ewan Menzies

Small Business Support

Your Trusted Partner for Small Business Support Services in the UK

Are you looking for Small Business Support to help you find success in your small service-based business? If you are you are not alone, there are thousands like you every day searching for help in what is a hugely confusing area.

This page is to support you understand the flaws with many offering support and how to identify what it is you really need to find the success you are looking for.

Why So Many Fail To Deliver Good Small Business Support

Over the last 15+ years I have worn many hats including business coach, business mentor and business advisor. In these roles I have worked with hundreds of service-based business owners. Whilst I did help all in these roles, on reflection I could have done so much more for many of them in my early years in business.

The problem was not me, it was the approach I had been asked to take by a franchisor, mentoring organisation or Mentor I had at the time. Let me give you a little bit more on each of these roles to show why, on their own, they are not a good form of small business support.

Business coaches

As a young business coach starting out back in 2008 I loved this role. I just pitch up and ask a bunch of clever questions that leads the small business owner to see what they should be doing. I then leave and come back a month later to see the work they have done and the success they have achieved.

Sadly, most months I arrived back to find they had either bashed together something in the last 24 hours or had done nothing at all. The reason most had done nothing at all was because they did not have time and/or did not have the expertise.

Within a few months, they were busier that ever and demoralised as they had achieved very little. To make it worse, many business coaches position their support in a way that all blame is put on the small business owner for this failure. They do this in their opening training on “mindset” – despicable.

Business mentors

I have worked in as a business mentor in both an official role with a mentoring organisation and as a friend helping out those I have known for years.

The best and worst thing about business mentoring is that it is free. This is of course great for the mentee, who typically has a small business with little money to spend on small business support.

However, because they  have not parted with money, this includes my friends I have helped over the years, they are not motivated to work. Many years ago I invested close to £10K in small business support for my business – I have never worked so hard in my life.

In addition, many mentors I have encountered over the years have little experience to help small business owners they work with. Often, they are pulling on their own experience from the one business they had, which may or may not have been a success. To make it worse, the business is nearly always in a completely different sector to the mentee’s business.

I also find that the mentors have very few skills around coaching, teaching or mentoring. Meaning that time spent with their mentee can be painful and unproductive.

And there are more…

I could go on to talk about business advisors, business trainers, life coaches and more. Again and again there would be a long list of reasons why they fail.

However, if I was to sum it up in one point, it is this; they are all too one dimensional.

As a small business owner the small business support you need has to cover many things to meet your complex needs.

Your Small Business Support Needs

Anyone who is supporting small business owners with small business support has to first understand what your needs are, before jumping in to help you.

Over the years I have identified what the small business support is that small business owners actually need. Have I got them all here, probably not, but I am constantly reviewing this list to better understand your needs.

Expertise in your area

Small business owners first need someone who is an expert in their area. They have got to have experience in your sector or industry, and they must understand first-hand the pressures of running a small business.

With this, they will know the pressures your industry is facing with changes to technology, legislation or the impact of macro-economics for example. They will know what it is like to lie awake at night worrying about staff problems or the pressure of closing a large contract.

Someone to get stuck in

Although this list is in no particular order, for me this is the one need I hear from small business owners tell me is the most important. Like most small business owners I am sure you are busy, very busy. For this reason you will probably welcome an expert to roll up their sleeves and support you with some, non-technical work in your business.

Having someone, not on the sidelines, but on the pitch doing the things you either don’t have time to do, don’t have expertise to do, or don’t enjoy doing. Imagine that.

They come at a fraction of the cost of a full time employee, better qualified and each piece of work is carefully monitored to ensure outcomes are delivered as agreed at the outset.

Support when you need it

When you run a small business you might need a little extra support in addition to your once a month meeting! What about the employee who is causing you sleepless nights, or that 5 figure sales meeting coming up this week or a major change to legislation in your sector.

When you are looking for small business support you want it when you need it. Waiting  weeks until your coach or mentor returns is not good enough.

In the past I have lost clients not knowing that it was because I was not supporting them enough. As a small business owner you have mini crisis or a real opportunity every month, if not every week. When these crop up you need someone to speak with there and then.

This does not need to be a 2 hour Zoom call, often a text or a short email does it. But equally, occasionally, if a face to face meeting is needed that week by the small business owner, it is needed that week.

Blended learning

Many decades ago, in a galaxy far, far away… I was a school teacher. Something I learned all those years ago is that everyone learns in different ways. Some love reading, some like analysing statistics and some love “doing” for example.

We are now in a remarkable time with the advancement in technology allowing small business support to be delivered in a whole host of ways. This could be face to face, online meetings, videos, interactive documents, SaaS systems and more.

To ensure your small business support is delivered in a way that meets your learning needs there must be a blended approach. You should be able to choose the ways you like to learn to ensure that find success fast and pain free. And, for many being able to learn at a time that suits you is important.

To Conclude

The small business support that you need has to take a holistic approach. It has encompass all your needs, fit your preferred learning approach and dovetail in with your small business, not the other way around.

For this to happen the individual delivering your small business support has to wear many hats. They have to be able to coach, teach, advise and get their sleeves rolled up and do work when needed.

Book Your Free Consultation Today

Would you like a free consultation, first to make sure we understand your needs and second, make sure you are comfortable working with your chosen business coach?

Book your free consultation today so one of our team can help you find the right 1 to 1 business support for you.

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Derek Robertosn

Derek Robertosn

Author and Lead Designer - Robertson Training

“Ewan added value to our business from day one. I prefer people who keep their promise and do something extra. Ewan does this in spades.

I can track increased turnover to Ewan’s consultancy, support, challenge and insights.

I fully expect Ewan to be a partner to Robertson Trainng for a very long time.”

Peter Stewart

Peter Stewart

Proprietor - Aberkil

“With the success of my business over the last few years I had passed things over to team members. This was great; however, I was ever more aware I needed an outside eye over the business to expand the business.

Ewan coming on board has been like a breath of fresh air. He has energised me, focused me on the important things and brought a more business-like approach to everything we do at Aberkil.

We now have a strategy in place for growth across Scotland, reporting to keep my finger on the pulse (whilst still allowing my team to run things) and the team are more motivated than ever before.

If you are looking for someone to support you, in your business, I would highly recommend Ewan.”

Kyle Robertson

Kyle Robertson

Owner at Evangate Financial Services

“Having been in business for 5 years, I wanted some support to take the business forward and scale.

After explaining to Ewan my concept. He helps captured my vision in a simple one page strategic plan that now guides my actions day to day.

Moving forward Ewan will help implement our new disruptive model that I am confident will bring me to the fore front of the change required in my industry.

He looks at thing from a totally different perspective which is very helpful when you’ve been working a certain way for 20+ years!

I would highly recommend working with Ewan and I have done so to many of my contacts already.”

Before You Go

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About Ewan Menzies

Ewan previously led the training and accreditation of practitioners in the Concord methodology. He has supported organisations with strategic planning across public, private and third sectors for the last two decades. He is currently the Managing Director of Castle Strategy and continues to work with organisations on strategic planning.

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