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4 places to get free UK business advice

Starting or running a business is daunting, hard work and endlessly rewarding if successful. Having a great support network behind you can mean the difference between failure and success, so we've highlighted some of the best places for you to get free advice and support when you need it.

1. Networking groups

Building connections is a key activity for small business owners in itself for many reasons, but in terms of getting free and useful business advice it can really be invaluable.

Most of the time you’ll be networking with a variety of new and more experienced entrepreneurs and professionals, which means you’ll get a whole range of advice from different perspectives. Whatever stage you’re at of starting or running your business, meeting and connecting with real people who have been there and done it will help you to achieve more. And don’t worry if you’re shy, most networking meetings have a lot of structure and advice on how to speak to others.

Great options are 4Networking and BNI who offer meetings nationwide.

2. Gov.uk

The government has loads of online advice on starting a business, as well as support for existing businesses. They’ll be able to help with lots of technical questions too. They also have a Business Support Helpline which you can contact on 0300 456 3565 between 9am and 6pm, where you’ll find a friendly advisor ready to help.

3. Events

There are so many business events around the country, and each of them will have different reasons to attend, but generally they are a great all rounder in terms of advice. You can get inspiration from successful business owners in keynote sessions, hear technical advice and advance your skills in masterclasses, speak to advisors on a variety of topics at helpdesks, and attend some of the best networking sessions around. 

4. Online communities

There’s plenty of business magazines and support websites around, a quick Google will give you a whole range. Many have a level of free advice, with paid for packages if you want more. Some of our favourites are the Federation of Small Business (FSB), Your Business Community and smallbusiness.co.uk.

There’s plenty of support out there, and especially at the biggest business event in the North of England, held in March 2020 at Manchester Central. You’ll be able to meet a variety of support networks and get advice direct from the experts. Tickets are free and it’s held at Manchester Central on 17th & 18th March, where you’ll also find the biggest networking opportunity in the North, and over 50 skills masterclasses to choose from, all for free. 
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