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Failure to seek enough advice may be limiting the growth prospects for your business according to new research from clearlybusiness.

The survey – carried out independently for clearlybusiness – revealed that for more than a third of all small businesses (38%) there were occasions when they would have liked advice but did not seek it during the past 12 months.

Most surprisingly of all, cost was not one of the key reasons for small businesses’ failure to obtain advice. The main barrier, “I didn’t know where to go”, was cited by 36%, while a quarter said they did not have the time.

This was followed by 16% who said they did not think about seeking advice at the time, and 15% who thought it would be too expensive. A further 4% thought they would be able to manage on their own – but regretted their decision with the benefit of hindsight.

Interestingly, smaller businesses – especially sole owner/managers – were more likely to say they did not know where to go for advice or did not have the time, compared to those employing 11 or more people.

In total, just half of all small businesses have sought independent advice in the past year, with nearly two-thirds of these (71%) wanting help with their finances. Advice on tax/PAYE issues was required by nearly half (47%), followed by technology issues (39%) and marketing support (33%).

Again the results varied significantly depending on the size of the business: sole traders were more likely to seek help with tax and marketing issues, with larger businesses (employing more than 11 people) far more likely to seek advice on health and safety legislation and employment law.

The research also revealed that seeking advice is good for the all-important bottom line. Those who have not sought any advice have seen their business grow by an average of 3% over the past year compared to growth of more than 10% for businesses which have sought advice five or more times.

While more than half of those businesses seeking advice would visit an accountant, and a third would visit the bank, just 23% said their first port of call would be a business support organisation such as Business Link, a TEC or enterprise agency. There are still far too many business people unaware of whom to turn to when they need advice.

Finding good advice is far from easy, which is why clearlybusiness features an interactive search facility to help members locate business support organisations and small business events in their area. Members can also put their questions and queries to business advisors and other small business people on the online forums and Q&A.

For a free initial consultation on any business issue that concerns you contact now


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