Wiltshire Council has launched a new digital directory to help business owners and managers as they make decisions about the future of their business. The Business Support Directory is a comprehensive online tool which signposts businesses affected by COVID-19 to local, regional or national support or alternative solutions to help them survive.
The directory is full of information tailored to all business sizes, and will help signpost ways businesses, for example, can increase online presence or upskill the workforce. To start your journey through the website, please click here.
What does this tool look like?
The tool initially asks the size of your business, Large (over 250 employees), Small or Medium (2-250 employees) or Self Employed / Sole Trader.
Following this, it asks what the business requirements are; To grow? To downside? To close? Depending on your answer will then take you to relevant support and advice links.
I used Wiltshire Councils new tool to see what information would come up for a Small to Medium size company who would like to grow. Prime example, Chippendale and Clark!
The tool suggests what methods could be used to help the business grow, starting with suggesting growth through innovation, new products or services. The aim of this is to expand your target market to increase sales. The heading is then followed by nine links to online resources, mainly the Growth Hub for Swindon and Wiltshire.
The second suggestion is to reach out to new markets or new suppliers. By finding new suppliers, not only will you be able to investigate new products as suggested above, but you may also find competitive prices on existing products which reduce your cost of sales and increase profit margins. As a business owner, especially when selling products, you need to be careful changing suppliers to ensure the quality of your product is not at risk.
The next suggestion is import and export. There have been changes to trading with the EU since Brexit, therefore if you choose to go down this route you will need to ensure your accountancy records are recording VAT correctly and that you are not increasing your costs due to additional export duties. We suggest utilising the links to gather further information on this section before importing or exporting to and from the UK.
The next sections go on to focus on employees, recruitment and Apprenticeship programmes, upskilling and education etc. This is one which we are really focusing on at Chippendale and Clark. Through the Growth Hub, we have signed up some of Chippendale and Clarks employees for this training. For Wiltshire businesses meeting certain criteria, the training can be funded by the EU Social fund and Serco.
The final three categories cover New Premises for flexible working space, Grants and Funding and Extending Your Business Network.
Chippendale and Clark attend frequent networking events, a weekly Swindon B2B networking breakfast meeting between 8am and 9am every Friday. If you would like an invite as a guest to any of these, please email Natasha at Tasha@chippendaleandclark.com who will arrange this for you.
What if I have not yet started a business? Is there any help for me?
The great news is that Wiltshire Council are not the only source of help and information to build back our economy.
Outset Swindon are an organisation who focus on businesses in Swindon and Wiltshire who are looking to start up in business or have started but are less than 12 months old. Similarly to The Growth Hub, Outset Swindon are able to provide training and support through EU funding, the difference is, they focus on start-up businesses to guide you through the initial process of setting up.
Please find out more about their support programme here.
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