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 through
  • 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

Other benefits

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 30.

  • 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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