Who to go to for the best business advice

4 years ago

Home is certainly where the heart is and it is no surprise that when entrepreneurs start their business one in ten turn to their family and friends for advice.

There are many areas of running a business that can be daunting, confusing and sometimes overwhelming and who you go to for advice can sometimes be just as important as the advice that you are seeking.

However, could the people you consult be restricting your chances of survival and growth? With this in mind, we’ve conducted some research with Sage customers and the findings are particularly interesting…

The most needed advice for businesses

So which type of business advice are we talking about? What is it entrepreneurs need to know when starting a business? We asked Sage customers what they seek advice on for their businesses and who it is they are turning to for help.

The findings show that although half a million businesses turn to family as a main source for business advice, 20% of them are looking for advice on legislation changes that have been introduced in recent years such as Real Time Information (RTI) and Auto Enrolment of Workplace Pensions.

This was followed by guidance on finance (14%) and HR (13%). Interestingly, marketing was the top concern for just 9% suggesting the more administrative tasks are the ones business owners struggle to fully understand.

They say you can’t be all things to all people yet when starting a business you often have to become a self-sufficient one-person operation overnight – so asking for help is the best advice we could ever give you. But surely you should seek the best counsel you can get for your business?

Accountants – business owner’s best friends?

According to our research, 56% of you actually turn to your accountant for information and advice on legislation and finances. Surprisingly, this was more than double the number of customers that go to sources of information like Government websites. So although one in ten businesses still look to their family as a first port of call for advice, it would appear that trusting an accountant to keep you informed is a highly popular choice.

Recent research from AXA revealed that start-ups receive on average the equivalent of £4000 worth of free advice from family and friends in their first year of trading. There’s nothing like saving a chunk of money when starting your own business at a time when every penny counts! But are there risks associated with the advice that you get from family members?

Of course this would depend on exactly how up-to-date your family and friends are on topics like Real Time Information and Auto Enrolment, or any other legislation changes you may asking them about. If you happen to have the exact knowledge you need in your family, good for you! But if in doubt, it’s always a relief to seek the reliable advice of a professional, which is where the experts like Sage can step in.

For any of you still unsure, Claire Carter, General Manager of Sage One has the following advice:

“Business confidence is up and economic growth continues to be heading in the right direction. 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.”

Further help and advice

For more great advice, read our 25 Business Tips from Sage One customers blog and download our free, 100-page Sage One Start Up Guide eBook by Emma Jones (Enterprise Nation).