Why use business support groups?
Running your own business isn't all plain sailing. It can be
very hard work, lonely, and difficult for friends and family to
understand. Support groups can help. This guide outlines why they
might be good for you:
- Help and understanding
- Networking and social
- Other benefits
- Where to find them
Help and understanding
When you're in a support group, everyone's in the same boat.
Business-starters going through the same problems and frustrations
as you can often be more understanding than the friends and family
you'd usually talk to - simply because they really do understand.
You can talk things out without feeling the need to hold back, and
get advice from people who know what they're talking about.
- Everyone's in the same boat and knows what you're going
- Talk things out and get advice
Networking and social
You can meet loads of interesting and useful people through
support groups. They may well help your business in the future,
but, more than that, you get a new social group who understand your
start-up experiences and who are working the strange hours that you
quite often will be. So you have people to meet up with when
friends aren't available, and you can go to events together that
your other friends might not be interested in.
- A new network of people who understand you
- Meet up during unusual hours and for industry events when other
friends can't or don't want to
Some support groups require paid membership, but may give you
access to discounts and deals on things like business insurance or
equipment. They may also offer exclusive events or conference
tickets. Check with whichever groups you're interested in before
you join if this appeals to you.
- Your group may offer discounts on things you need, or exclusive
tickets and events
- Check before joining
Where to find them
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Forum of Private
Business (FPB) and the Chambers of Commerce are all great places to
find out about support groups, and offer support themselves. You
could also try your local council and Regional development Agency
for advice. There are specialist groups like women-only support
groups or groups for Asian business people - look online to find
them. Consider the Prince's Trust if you're aged between 14 and
- Check out the FSB, FPB and Chambers of Commerce
- Try your local council and RDA
- Look into specialist groups if you feel they may help you
- The Prince's Trust is aimed at 14 - 30 year-olds
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