Ten sources of advice for business owners

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Where can I get business advice?

So, you’ve admitted that you need help with your business. That’s an important first step in moving forward.

Now you need to identify the type of help you need. Your business has many facets, so identify the areas where seeking help will give you the most bang for your buck.

Government Business Services

Federal and State Governments have a wealth of business information available online, including templates, guides and links to government services such as business registration, compliance requirements, grants and government assistance programs, training and networking events. 

Reviewing other states’ business sites can also provide useful information for your business, but it’s important to remember that information on the state-based sites may be specific to that state’s legislation

Legal Advisor 

A business legal advisor is essential to help you protect your interests, including structuring your business entity, preparing and reviewing contracts and legal documents, and providing legal advice in relation to your role as a director and business owner. They can also help when things don’t go your way, navigating legal processes in the event of broken contract or insurance claims.

Insurance Broker

An effective insurance broker will understand your industry and business so they can best protect your interests and those of your business. Your broker will source the right insurance provider, negotiate policy terms, premiums and excesses, and navigate complex claims processes to save you money and time.

Specialist Consultants

Running your own business means you just can’t know everything about everything. There’s no point wasting your own time to learn how to set up your IT or HR framework when there are specialist consultants who can establish policies and practices, and set up equipment tailored to your business’ needs. Following the initial set-up, many can be retained for a monthly fee to provide ongoing assistance as needed. 

Industry Mentor

Whether you’re starting your business or wanting to grow your existing business, there’s another business owner who’s navigated a similar path and overcome similar challenges. An industry mentor can be crucial to extend your network within your industry and help you understand the changes that have affected your industry. 

You may be thinking that a direct competitor will not be willing to act as your mentor, but if you think outside your business’ location and current timeframe, you may be surprised. Whether you’re a surf shop in Manly or Mooloolooba, you’re probably facing similar challenges and can share information about your industry, suppliers, processes and practices with no threat to your own business.

Industry Associations for business advice

An industry association or professional body is full of your direct competitors, right? Not always. Your industry association may be local, state-based or national. If you’re establishing an adventure tourism business on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Tourism Australia or DestinationNSW can help you establish mentoring relationships with adventure tourism operators in other regions and states. Building a network of other operators in your industry will enable you to share information and learn from each other.

Chamber of Commerce

A chamber of commerce is location-based and will champion businesses across a range of industries in a specific location. Joining a chamber of commerce may be useful for local networking, understanding local issues that may affect your business, and lobbying all levels of government regarding local issues.

Business Coach

Whether you’re establishing your business or have been operating for decades, a business coach can work with you to achieve your goals. An effective business coach doesn’t need knowledge of your business or even your industry. Their job is to help you to provide an external perspective – encouraging you to question, clarify, reflect, set goals and then holding you accountable for your action and results. 

Advisory Board

I’m a huge fan of advisory boards for business. An advisory board brings together a group of mentors, confidantes, and advisors that can offer you professional advice, business insight and lessons learned from their own experiences. 

You can benefit from the cumulative wisdom of the advisory board members, ask questions and resolve issues in a trusting and confidential environment. It creates a forum for you to get some clear ‘air’ thinking time, float ideas and canvass fresh perspectives and innovative solutions, so you can make more informed decisions in relation to your business’ strategic direction and operations

Business Advisor

You may have a bookkeeper who pays the bills and wages, prepares your financial information and lodges your tax returns. And that may have been all you need for your start-up business, but now you want to grow the business.

Your business advisor/accountant is much more than a bookkeeper. They’re your business and financial guide, ensuring you understand your business’ financial state and how to use your financial data to forecast, plan and take action for the future, not just as an outcome of your past trading. Your business advisor will also help you to secure funding, maximise your return on capital, facilitate and secure any grants, rebates or concessions, and work with you to grow your business. 

With a broad base of clients, your business advisor can also refer you to legal advisors, insurance brokers, specialist consultants, industry mentors and potential advisory board members.

In short, there’s an extensive array of help available to business owners. So how do you move forward?

Your business advisor will help you to identify the priority areas for assistance and target the most effective way of getting the help you need.

If you’ve decided to make 2021 a year to grow your business, contact BridgePoint Group on 1300 656 141 or email info@bridgepointgroup.com.au

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