|Posted: Mon Apr 13, 2020 5:22 pm Post subject: Business
|A genuine interest in supporting businesses and the ability to use your own experiences across a range of specialisms is more important than a specific degree subject
As an employed or self-employed business adviser, you'll provide information, support, coaching, advice and guidance to businesspeople. This could range from individuals looking to start their own business through to supporting established businesses to grow, scale up, change or diversify their business model.
You'll provide specialist services depending on your expertise. Many business advisers specialise in supporting start-up businesses to move their business from concept to reality. This involves providing specialist finance and funding advice, consulting on organisational change and offering advice on innovation in technology, right through to supporting a business to develop international trade agreements.
Key areas include:
providing information on finance, funding and grants
offering mentoring and coaching to help a business through changes
providing support on the business planning process
giving advice on business improvement techniques
introducing businesses to networks and associates
supplying specialist support to specific business sectors
offering specialist support to develop international trade agreements
informing and influencing government policy on business support
designing and delivering training seminars to provide business support to a wide audience.
As a business adviser, you'll need to:
possess an in-depth knowledge of the business support landscape and the ability to advise businesses on the range of options available
undertake diagnostic needs assessments with businesses, including analysing the needs of the business and working with the client to put a business action plan in place
develop your own professional network of associates who can provide a broad range of business and enterprise support services to your clients
build positive relationships with clients, partners, associates and networks
have excellent mentoring and coaching skills
attend meetings with networks and associates to ensure you keep up to date with global, national, regional and local business support initiatives to ensure your clients benefit
undertake research on behalf of a business
communicate with clients, networks and associates
provide start-up businesses with advice and guidance to assist them to successfully set up and commence trading (and go on to maintain their own sustainable business)
provide tutoring on, for example, suitable business plans and cash flow plans
organise and deliver business networking events and business education seminars and workshops.
Entry-level salaries for start-up business advisers range between £18,000 and £25,000.
More experienced and specialist business support advisers and coaches can earn up to £40,000.
Economic development advisers and management consultants can earn significantly higher salaries.
Income figures are intended as a guide only.
Working hours are typically 37 to 40 hours per week, Monday to Friday. You'll be required to attend breakfast and evening networking events and seminars.
Part-time work is common, many business advisers are employed on fixed-term contracts to deliver specific projects, which are government funded.
What to expect
It's essential that you can travel and have use of a car as you'll spend much of your time out visiting clients.
Smart dress is required to maintain a professional business relationship with clients.
Flexible working patterns and some home-working may be possible.
Self-employment or freelance work is possible for experienced business advisers who choose to become independent consultants.
Although no formal qualifications are required, a business-related degree would be an advantage.
Many business advisers are graduates from a variety of disciplines, who started out in a professional and financial service such as HR, recruitment, marketing, accountancy, finance and banking. Many business advisers have worked in industry and have run their own businesses. Other business advisers develop their skills within local government, working in economic development advisory roles.
Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative (SFEDI) Awards is the awarding body for enterprise education. It delivers nationally-recognised qualifications in enterprise support, which are often requested by recruiters. Relevant qualifications include:
Level 8 Diploma in Business and Enterprise Support
Level 5 and Level 7 Certificate in Professional Business and Enterprise Support Services
Level 5 and Level 7 Certificate in Professional Business and Enterprise Coaching Services
Level 3 Award in Enterprise Mentoring.
You'll need to show:
a good understanding of business functions such as sales and marketing, finance, operations, leadership and management
strong verbal communication skills for articulating ideas to clients
excellent written communication skills for producing plans, reports, evaluations and funding applications
strong numeracy skills and a good command of English, with the ability to adapt these to a range of clients
the ability to listen and interpret clients' needs and requests
good analytical skills to conduct needs assessments, analyse data and produce clearly defined reports and action plans
close attention to detail and accuracy
organisational skills with the ability to collect and disseminate information
the ability to work independently and flexibly
a capacity to prioritise your work and to work across multiple projects
a high level of interpersonal skills, including team-work and the ability to build effective relationships with clients and deliver excellent customer service
creative skills to enable you to solve problems and contribute new and innovative ideas
the ability to work well under pressure and meet deadlines
networking and consultancy skills
knowledge of the existing and emerging business support landscape
excellent IT skills and knowledge of social media platforms.
Local government, local enterprise partnerships, charities and social enterprises, such as the Prince's Trust, are good places to look for work experience. While studying, find out what enterprise initiatives are available through your university and student union.
Gain experience of starting your own business, or spend time shadowing a small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) to develop an understanding of business operations and the challenges they face.
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