Keeping Birmingham’s SMEs blooming
The COVID-19 outbreak has caused concern for small businesses across the globe, but it’s particularly troubling for the West Midlands – Birmingham alone, crowned the best place in the UK for small businesses in 2019, is home to nearly 23,000 SMEs.
While the Government continues to review and release new guidance for financial support, there are still many worries and unanswered questions that local SMEs face.
“It is more important than ever that we all work together to keep businesses moving during these uncertain times,” Paul Faulkner, chief executive of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce.
“I would encourage businesses to continue feeding back to key stakeholders like the council, the Chamber and the Growth Hub so that we can help them access the necessary support.”
Free business support for your needs
With the current COVID 19 challenges – and government guidelines putting unexpected pressure on UK businesses – you may have to diversify or adapt in order to survive.
To help you analyse current concerns and identify possible solutions, Birmingham City University is providing a free business analysis service to eligible SMEs.
“It’s about understanding your business’ problems, where you are going and outlining how we can help, both in the short and long-term,” explains Mark Gilman, Professor of SME Growth and Development at Birmingham City University.
“We will assess the challenges you are facing and point you in the right direction.”
What does our support involve?
Mark and his team will begin by asking you to complete an online business analysis tool, an extensive questionnaire designed to produce a personalised report of your business.
“Beginning with a questionnaire means we get a really accurate representation of your business and growth position, as well as issues perhaps you yourself had not been privy to,” Mark explains.
As the form is online, it enables you to complete the questions from home at your own pace. “Business owners don’t have to sit for 20-30 minutes straight filling it out,” Mark stresses. “It’s cookies-enabled and you can come back to it whenever you like.”
Usually, the team would then offer participating businesses the chance to meet to discuss the next steps, or take part in workshops with companies that have the same pinch points. However, in the present climate, Mark is offering the same tailored support online.
This virtual support includes online one-to-one consultancy, where you can ask further questions about your report and gain deeper insight. Telephone support for the questionnaire and access to further support and funding opportunities is also available.
“Our free business analysis service offers solutions that are tailored to each business, so we can be sure we’re providing the right level of individual support,” Mark explains. “That’s for both the current situation and for the long term.”