Free advice and mentoring

Advice and MentoringCash, as we know, is King. And you may not have spare money for professional advice, or not as much as you would like.

There are many organisations that will offer help and advice to small businesses. Again, this will vary from region to region. Places to look for will include; –
Chambers of Commerce
Business Link

I just googled “help and advice for small business “and got about 47,800,000 results (0.63 seconds). Some of these are free, and sponsored by government departments, some even offering grants. But others are businesses offering their services. You will soon be able to distinguish which you should follow up, there are plenty out there


I spoke about networking earlier. I have been a member of several networking organisations, and one of the best is the BNI.

You won’t get free advice as such, but you do get an opportunity to work with other professionals running small businesses, who have all faced the same issues as you are facing now, and overcome them. They will be happy to offer a helping hand to a fellow member.

Business Network International (BNI) is an American franchised networking organization with around 200,000 members in 7,500 local chapters worldwide. Members meet regularly to discuss business and support each other’s businesses by sharing referrals. Wikipedia

I’ll let them explain it, I’ve taken these quotes from their site, have a look at them

Our Mission

The mission of BNI is to help members increase their business through a structured, positive and professional referral marketing program that enables them to develop meaningful, long-term relationships with quality business professionals.

How will you grow your business?

By joining BNI, you’ll increase your exposure to like-minded professionals, gain referrals from a global network and sharpen your business networking skills with exclusive resources

Only one person from each profession specialty is allowed to join a chapter of BNI, eliminating the possibility of competition among our members. When you join a chapter, you are the sole representative of your field and can develop relationships with others in the chapter as their go-to person for your services.

How it works

Advice and MentoringThe idea is that you each learn about one another’s business and actively look for referral business for fellow chapter members. Everyone in your chapter is looking out for work for you, and you are for them. In the process of learning about each other’s business, so you can make referrals, you engage in one-to -one meetings to look at each other’s business. You would probably do one of these meetings every couple of weeks.

So, you are about to show 20 professionals around your business, one by one, and discuss it with them so that they can recommend your services. These people are lawyers, accountants, sales people, marketeers, IT specialists, builders, electricians.

Apart from the fact that explaining your business to people forces you to step back and look at what you are doing and why, you get some very interesting feedback, comments and suggestions from other members.

These people are looking to grow their business, so they won’t work for you free of charge, but it is very handy to be able to ask a friendly expert the occasional question. You can get a professional opinion on a situation.

And you get to see how all those people approach their business. You can pick up some interesting ideas and tips.

And if you have a problem, don’t know where to look for advice, how to move forward, you can bet someone in your chapter knows the answer.

Very useful. Just don’t overplay your hand. The BNI motto is Givers gain, so make sure you give a helping hand when asked.

And if you use the BNI system properly, and you have a good business, you will get referral business from your colleagues.