400,000 British businesses turn to family as main source for business advice

As a small business owner, it’s essential to share your idea and discuss your problems but it’s just as important to talk to the right people. But how much of an issue is it and what impact could it have on your startup?

Ahead of Small Business Advice Week, which kicks off on September 1st, the survey of over 400 business owners identified the biggest challenges they face and the top sources they go to for guidance in overcoming them.

Small businesses in the UK are restricting their potential growth by relying on advice from people who may not have the experience or qualifications to provide it. One in ten business owners admitted to turning to family members as the first port of call for advice with their business, yet legislative changes were revealed as the area most business owners seek advice on, new research has revealed.

The research found that changes in legislation - such as Real Time Information and Auto Enrolment - was the challenge most business owners need advice with, 20% admitting this.  This was followed by guidance on finance (14%) and HR (13%). 

However, the number of businesses who are comfortable with marketing was very high with only 9% of respondents suggesting they needing help with shouting about their business. This highlights the importance of having faith and passion for your brand. 

The introduction of Real Time Information and Auto Enrolment in close proximity to each other has meant that the majority of business owners have turned to experts to ensure they’re compliant with the changes and will avoid any potential fines. 

The research revealed that accountants are the most widely used source with 56% of respondents turning to them for business advice – more than double the number using Government websites (26%). 

For small businesses up and down the country, the worry is that if family members do not have the expertise to help with the problem then they could be given bad advice and this could potentially harm the business. 

Claire Carter, Head of Sage One commented “With business confidence and economic growth increasing, there is a significant opportunity for SMEs to take advantage of the upturn. However, our research suggests that the majority of firms are taking advice not to take advantage of this, but to navigate the complexities around legislation. 

“When starting a business family and friends offer an invaluable network of support and guidance, but when it comes to legislation speak to a specialist. Whether it’s your accountant or your business software provider getting the right advice can give you clarity to focus on making your business a success.”

But who could you ask on the cheap? A mentor is a great way to learn from an experienced entrepreneur who has both the knowledge and understanding to help you along your business journey.

They’re available for questions and advice but remember they’re there to help you, not run the business for you. Alternatively, another cheap option is google. Google is your best friend - remember that. 

Small Business Advice Week takes place from the 1st-7th September with the aim to provide SMEs with advice and tips on how to succeed. Now in its tenth year, Small Business Advice week aims to puts small businesses at the heart of the British Economy. 

How do you feel about family members giving business advice? 

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