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Article by Neill Barston | 17th January 2019

Lighting A Spark Of Business Inspiration

While the most assured means of achieving success in business is putting in some hard groundwork, there are numerous means of giving your company a New Year kick-start.

Finding the inspiration to drive your business forward in the New Year can sometimes feel like a potential mountain to climb for many companies. With the economic uncertainties posed by Brexit that have left many wary of making long-term investments, there remain plenty of challenges. However, from speaking to a number of enterprises over the past few years as Business Editor with The Canterbury INDEX, it’s those firms that take a pragmatic, proactive approach that appear to have prospered in the county.

Across Kent, small and medium-sized companies dominate the business landscape, reflected by national figures revealing there are 5.7 million independent ventures accounting for around 99% of all British businesses.

But how are they all able to sustain themselves in these straitened times? Well, having a unique selling point remains a major starting point, but there are also a number of vital elements that aid momentum.

As anyone who has ever watched the BBC’s Dragons’ Den or The Apprentice series will have seen, the overriding ingredient for success lies in developing a concrete and deliverable business plan. This includes the planning and management of all the tangible assets of a company, as well as marketing and online/social media presence that can make a critical difference to a firm’s fortunes. Equally as important is a factor of preparing sufficient financial investment to enable a promising company to prosper with its future growth.

Coach works

One such means of providing a business boost is through dedicated coaching and mentoring services. These are widely available through Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, as well as a number of private providers.

Observing this growing trend, Trevor Sturgess, Media Consultant and a former business editor, believed such services could prove invaluable to businesses, saying: “The New Year is the ideal time to take stock of your business, where you think it’s heading, and what you want to achieve in the future.

“The most enterprising and successful business leaders I meet often employ a coach to help them better understand their own performance and motivation and give them a clearer insight into their business,” explained the expert, who said that he had seen many firms find such advice invaluable in reviving their fortunes.

For some, seeking external advice may not be an easy path, but one that could potentially unlock business avenues that had not previously been considered.

Meanwhile, Alison Parmar, a senior specialist with Kent’s Federation of Small Businesses, explained there are plenty of options for offering support for companies. As she enthused, the FSB has been on hand for businesses in the county for the past four decades. “We have 5,000 members in Kent who all benefit from a range of services and a powerful voice in government.

For instance, if you are starting a new business, as a member you could call a specialist business advisor who will guide you through your first steps in launching your company.

“They will be on hand to answer questions throughout your first few months of trading,” explained the representative, who added that the FSB also offers a legal information hub covering all core HR, tax and health and safety issues that may be encountered.

Speaking recently to The Canterbury INDEX, a spokesperson for Canterbury City Council said that despite challenging economic conditions, companies had plenty of avenues of assistance available. “For new and expanding businesses, we offer expert advice and support through our Start My Biz and Grow My Biz initiatives and have an experienced business support team available to provide help where it’s needed,” explained the spokesperson of the area’s two key initiatives.

As part of the Grow My Biz scheme, a number of specific services are offered. These include ‘mentor matching’ that places businesses with an appropriate entrepreneur to offer some direct 1-2-1 support. The programme also operates an advice forum for existing businesses to provide tips tailored to individual requirements, as well as access to events in exchanging ideas with likeminded enterprises.

So whether you consider individual business coaching options, personal and skills development courses, or more informal group networking, it’s clear there is plenty of help out there to put you on a path to success in 2019.

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