We all need business support from time to time. Whether we’re starting a new business, or simply wanting to take our existing company to the next level. There comes a point where we don’t have the answers we need, they can’t be found with a Google search and we need to turn somewhere else.

It’s easy to feel alone when you manage your own business, but others have already trod that same path. So, stop trying to re-invent the wheel, and access the help that will take your business further. Some of it won’t cost a penny.

Start-up advice

Starting a new business can feel like taking a leap of faith. No one truly knows how to start a successful business (those who claim to be an overnight success probably had a lot more help than they are letting on).

The good news, is that there are numerous places where support is readily available, and for free.

The Princes Trust not only offers a business start-up program for the under thirties, but their website is a treasure trove of helpful information and resources, with everything from business plans to financial advice and marketing. It’s worth checking out, even for established businesses that might need a bit of a refresh.

Most banks have business support and start-up advice available too. Some of this is exclusive to their customers but Lloyds have made their support available to everyone. Ask at your own bank whether they have free advice and support available to their personal banking customers if you don’t have a business account.

Day to day support

Often, it’s the day to day nitty gritty that can leave us feeling lost – does everyone else have days like this? Where is everyone getting their customers from? Why aren’t I getting the results I expected?

Truthfully? Yes, we all have bad days and have all wondered what on earth we’re doing at some point or another. The good news is that there is still a range of support available to you when you hit that stage.

Networking groups are one of the best forms of encouragement and support for a business owner

Yes, networking groups are hard work, and everyone is there to get new leads and make sales, but when you find a good group you’ll also discover a whole group of people wanting you to do well. There will be people in the same position as you, along with those who have been managing successful businesses for a few years. Just having a conversation could lead to some helpful nuggets of information.

Councils and universities often have a business support programme available to local residents. Some of this may be time specific, i.e. within the first three years of starting your business, and some support and opportunities will be available to everyone. It’s worth checking out their websites to discover what might be on offer.

It’s worth mentioning the work that virtual assistants do here, I think.

Struggling with the day to day tasks can really sap your strength and energy – both essential when trying to build your business. As experts in our chosen field, we know how to get those tasks done quickly and easily, leaving you free to focus on those money-making tasks and lead generation. It is an expense that pays for itself in most cases.

Business coaches and growth hacking

Ok, so you’ve been in business for a few years and seem to have hit a plateau. Everything is going well, but you wonder if things could go even better. If you’re thinking about taking on staff, going further afield for opportunities, or even opening second premises – you need expert guidance.

Business coaches are a valuable asset when you hit this point of your business journey. Although they can be expensive – they are genuinely interested in helping your business to succeed, as success for you means a glowing testimonial and more custom for them.

There are some government initiatives to help fund the cost of business advisory services and coaching so do your research before making your investment.

Growth hacking is one of those modern terms that few of us really understand. Like business coaches but opportunity led, growth hackers look specifically for ways of helping your business grow. Rather than focusing on you, as a business coach might, they will examine your business, products and services and look for any gaps in the market that you haven’t explored yet – or even thought about.

There really is a range of support available out there for businesses of all ages, shape and sizes. Hopefully, you have a better idea of where you can turn to for support. If there’s anything I haven’t included do let me know!