The research also highlighted that many small business decision makers – 69 per cent – are more likely to turn to friends and family than to seek out the help of a professional. This is despite the fact many business leaders agree that receiving professional advice could help them increase turnover and boost profits.
Growth Vouchers was launched at the start of 2014 and allows businesses to select an adviser from an online marketplace populated with professionals, many of whom are small business owners themselves.
The programme is open to small businesses in England who have fewer than 250 employees and meet other criteria, which can be viewed on the Growth Vouchers website. Business owners can connect with a range of experts who can advise on five areas including sales and marketing, making the most of digital technology, and finance and cash flow.
Thousands of small businesses around the country have now received strategic advice to help them increase their bottom line including Mark Evans, founder of Banners and Mash. As their name suggests, the company creates bespoke and high impact promotional banners for small businesses throughout the UK.
‘‘I heard about Growth Vouchers from my accountant on their monthly e-newsletter. I had ambitious growth plans and knew we needed to develop our digital presence to meet them,” says Evans.
“It wasn’t just the financial incentive that attracted me to Growth Vouchers. The fact I could be sure we would be getting the right professional advice from an accredited adviser was really important. An essential part of the Growth Vouchers programme is choosing the right adviser. In a matter of days after receiving our voucher, I had spoken to an adviser from the marketplace and scheduled a follow-up call to discuss our business plans.
“Since seeking professional advice, revenue has increased five-fold in the last year, click-through rates have increased, and the number of unique visitors to his site has gone up by 20 per cent.”
Marcus Whittington, founder of Bath Boutique Stays which provides boutique luxury accommodation in Bath, one of which was Jane Austen’s home, first heard about Growth vouchers when he was looking to bolster sales and marketing over the summer.
“Applying for the voucher couldn’t have been easier, I was surprised at how simple and straight forward the process was. We have a small, dynamic team but we needed formal sales and marketing coaching. That’s where Growth Vouchers helped. Working with accredited adviser and sales consultant Alison Edgar from Sales Coaching Solutions has helped us increase turnover, expand our team, and get to know our customers better.
“We wanted to put in place a sales process that would assist us in current markets as well as identify new potential markets and customers. And now we have that – so Growth Vouchers has worked! Our turnover has risen from £250,000 to £600,000 and we’re on a strategy to quadruple our enquiries, triple our turnover and double our profits.
“The experience has given me the confidence to invest further in the business. I would advise others considering using the scheme to do it.”
The Government wants to make sure that businesses can access the right support at the right time. The Growth Vouchers programme gives business owners the opportunity to get independent help to grow and lets businesses select an adviser best suited to their needs.
To find out more about Growth Vouchers please visit the Business is GREAT website.