Where to find advice and support for small businesses in the UK


The UK government has launched a program offering free expert advice to small businesses.

Here’s what the program can do for your small business – we also highlight a range of other sources of free small business advice.

The difficulty can often be knowing where to look for advice and support in the first place. This guide is designed to help you with that first step.

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Government Supported Small Business Support, Advice and Mentoring

In addition to the financial support it is providing to small businesses and the self-employed in response to the severe disruption caused by the coronavirus, the government has also put in place non-financial support. These include one-on-one expert advice, leadership skills training, and peer-to-peer networking.

Recovery advice for companies

The government has put in place the Recovery Advice for Business program to help small business owners get through the coronavirus and adjust their operations, so they can recover in the long term.

The free business advice covers a range of topics, including:

According to the government’s website, thousands of UK business experts have come forward to contribute their expertise. Small Business Minister Paul Scully said: “It is amazing to see so many professional advisors stepping in to make a contribution to small businesses across the country. This advisory platform will help accelerate our recovery from the impact of the coronavirus, providing small businesses with additional support to adapt their business models and come back to fight. “

Each advisor offered at least one hour of small business support per month until the end of 2020. You can access the free service on the Enterprise Nation website, where you can:

  • configure your company profile

  • take a business health check to make sure you are directed to the assistance you need

  • connect with relevant advisors

Leadership program for small businesses

The UK government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has set aside £ 20million to fund two new support programs for businesses with five to 249 employees. The Small Business Leadership Program is one such program.

This is a free, 10-week program providing training in strategic leadership skills, giving you “the confidence to make informed decisions that improve business performance.”

To be eligible for the program, you must be based in England and have been in business for at least one year. You will need an internet connection and a device to join the program, which will initially be offered online.

You can enroll in the Small Business Leadership Program on the government website.

Peer networks

The other program funded from BEIS ‘£ 20million pot is Peer Networks. This is your chance to discuss your business challenges in group sessions with your peers. The idea is that you will get valuable feedback to help you find solutions that you may not be able to solve on your own – more heads are better than one.

The sessions are free and led by expert facilitators.

To qualify, you will need to:

  • be based in England

  • have between five and 249 employees

  • have been trading for at least a year

You can register for peer networks on the government website.

Where can I get business advice?

A quick search reveals a lot of free advice available online, and our Knowledge Center is a great place to start. We cover topics like:

Where to get mentorship for small businesses

On mentorsme.co.uk, you can search for potential mentors based on where your business is at (starting, growing, establishing, etc.) and where you are based in the UK.

This site is aimed specifically at small and medium businesses and has a library of resources and case studies so you can see how the service could be of use to you.

Where to get business start-up advice

The Simply Business Knowledge Center offers a range of guides to help you get your business idea off the ground. You can read up on things like:

Where to get legal advice for businesses

As a small business owner, it can be difficult to keep track of all your administrative duties and legal obligations besides providing the goods or services that form the basis of your operation.

One way to stay on top of your business’s legal responsibilities is to join a trade association or accreditation body for your profession or industry.

For any legal matter affecting your business, it is important to seek professional legal advice.

Free internet for tech start-ups

BT has announced that it will introduce a scholarship program for 1,000 UK tech start-ups and entrepreneurs. The exchange will offer free fiber and mobile broadband plans to eligible businesses from October. Full details have not yet been released by BT.

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Free accounting advice for small business owners

If keeping your accounts in order becomes a challenge, there are plenty of free apps available right now to help you out. You can read all about them in our article on the best accounting software for small businesses.

Keeping control of your income and expenses is essential to keeping you on the safe side of HMRC when it comes to paying your business taxes. Learn more about your obligations in our comprehensive guide to small business tax.

HR Tips for Small Business Owners

We’ve also put together a list of online HR solutions for small businesses, including several free services if you don’t have a lot of budget for it yet.

One of the main jobs of an employer is, of course, to make sure that your staff are paid on time. Read our guide to some of the best online payroll systems for small businesses to take some of the initial legwork out of getting started.

Marketing Tips for Small Business Owners

Finally, it’s all well and good to have a business that offers a great service or product. But it’s no use if no one knows.

This is where our free downloadable guide to marketing your small business can help. It covers the gamut of marketing topics, from your website and social media to networking and flyers.

Will you take advantage of the Government’s Recovery Advice for Business program? Let us know in the “Comments” section.


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