Getting Business Advice – Where To Look?
No-one is a business expert. Even the Richard Bransons and Bill Gates of this world regularly need to turn to people for advice. Starting your own business and becoming your own boss might seem like an escape from having to listen to other people. In some ways this is true, you know longer have to take orders. But that doesn’t mean you should stop listening to other people’s opinions.
New business owners need all the advice they can get. The issue is knowing where to get the best advice. Here are some of the people and places that you can go to get a better understanding of being self-employed in order to make your business a flourishing success.
Business speeches and seminars
Business shows and exhibitions are a valuable source of information. Multi-millionaire entrepreneurs and managers for world-famous brands often attend these shows and give speeches or seminars, in which you can receive first-class advice. Thousands of people a year attend the Great British Business Show in London. Whether its advice on marketing, branding or public speaking, someone there will be able inspire you. Speeches are great for those who are too proud to ask for help as they allow you to listen anonymously. For those who want to get more involved and ask questions, seminars and tutorials are a better source.
Local business groups
Every town has its local business organisation. These consist of local entrepreneurs and high-ranking officials who meet on a regular basis to socialise and talk business. As well as a great networking opportunity, these groups are also a fantastic way of gaining tips. The people in these groups may not be as successful as the dragons and tycoons you’ll find at a business show, however they may have more local knowledge. Some of their small business expertise might also be more relevant for you right now than the empire-building advice of people at business shows. They’re also a great excuse to go out for lunch and have a few drinks.
With digital technology becoming more and more omnipresent, being savvy with computers has never been more essential for a business owner. The most successful business are using up-to-the-minute gizmos such as Cloud technology and video conferencing to save time, money and energy. Keeping up with the speed and efficiency of these businesses means embracing the latest tech.
Most us need technology consulting. You may not necessarily be a dinosaur still stubbornly using a typewriter – you may even have a smartphone and tablet. However, there may admin software or digital security specific to your business area that you could benefit from, one that isn’t common knowledge because it only fits your niche. Being aware of this before other businesses get hold of it could put you ahead of the game. Whilst they’re still pouring over figures and spreadsheets, you could be doing it with the click of a mouse!
If you’re a more of a right brain individual that struggle with number and mathematical formulae, don’t give yourself a headache trying to work out complex financial problems when you can seek professional advice. Accountants exist to take care of the intricate financial landscape and all its laws and loopholes. They can tell you what to put on expenses, the best places to put your money to get a return and best ways to organise your funds.
Many choose to hire accountants to do the hard work for them, including lengthy processes such as tax returns and loan research. However, if you’re a stalwart that likes to do everything him/herself, you can hire an accountant’s time simply for the advice. Many may even offer it for free.
Note that many accountants are better suited to one specific area. Some understand digital companies better, others may be better with retail, others specialising more in insurance. Research accountants first to find out what previous clients they’ve had and whether their experience would transfer well into your own area of business.
If you need to brush up on certain business laws, why not talk to a solicitor? They can fill you in on all the rules and regulations surrounding your type of business as well as help with specific issues such as claims from clients or customers or troublesome employees. As with accountants, you may not have to pay for their advice, only any legal action that you wish to take. Solicitors are similarly better suited to specific areas of business, so make sure to approach one that can cater for your specific area of expertise.
Books and Websites
There are any books that you can purchase to read up on business tips and advice. Look out for best-sellers and books that are specific to your trade. Websites such as Gov.uk meanwhile offer a comprehensive understanding of the laws and requirements that business owners should follow. Then of course there are many blogs like this one, which can give you handy advice.
For those who aren’t avid readers, you can look up video tutorials on Youtube. Many fellow businessman use this video-sharing site to give instructional and motivational talks. Pinpoint a specific question you would like to ask and search it on Youtube and someone has probably uploaded a video related to it, although it may not have the legitimacy of a professional seminar.
Lastly, there are business forums in which you can join in order to ask questions. Here you and many business owners from around the world can interact much the same way a business group might work (except without the offer of lunch). Using the internet can allow you to seek advice without having to leave the comfort of your office chair and something you can do on your commute on your phone. That said, don’t use the internet as your sole source of advice – not everything you read could be trustworthy. Use a mixture of face-to-face and written advice when doing your research.