SMB advice post-COVID must provide better value

What SMB advice is needed today?

Venture support
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Back in October 2018, I wrote a blog article answering the question “Do SMBs need advice in a fast-changing world?”. I made the following comments: “Not since the industrial revolution has so much technological change affected small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) in such a relatively short period of time”. And added: “Almost every field of effective business management is affected by this rapid growth in technology. SMBs need advice”.

Obviously, since that article was posted the world has had to endure COVID-19. Many SMBs do not have the luxury of separate departments looking after several new government measures that affect the business.

These include VAT and self-assessment deferral, business rates help, self-employed income support, furlough, bounce back and CIBL loans. All were put into place last year, some then withdrawn, by the UK government as a way of keeping SMBs afloat through the pandemic.

Not just SMB advice

COVID and government measures led to a need from SMBs (including start-ups) for effective signposting from a dispassionate source of business advice, as well as 360° venture support. The sad fact is that these support measures were never going to be in place indefinitely. It would be financially unviable for any government to do so. If your SMB exports to the EU, add Brexit and the challenges you are facing have not been seen since WWII.

Therefore, a need for impartial venture support that is based on the hard-won experience gained from running a business successfully. External help to improve the chances of the SMB surviving this current business environment. And to prepare the SMB for the chance of rapid growth, once the current emergency is over.

This support can include business plan compilation, compliance review, accounting system selection, digital marketing campaign design, IP and technology transfer and more.

Post-COVID growth

The BoE predicts that the UK GDP will grow 5% in 2021, as government restrictions begin to loosen. How SMBs manage that growth will be paramount. There is a lot of amassed spending money, due to furlough and no chance to spend it for a year. It is how SMBs respond to the post-COVID demand for products and services that will count. Hence the a growing need for experienced 360° venture support, which is available if and when the client requests it.

In addition, at the turn of this century ‘becoming self-employed and starting your own business’ came 6th as an option for graduates. Now, with the explosion of tech start-ups fuelled by government assistance and venture capital investment, the option comes in at 1st or 2nd. A new generation of entrepreneurs no longer trusts fate to provide a long career. They would rather take charge of their own future.

Much as those choosing to do so after taking early retirement do.

As a result, the requirement for 360° venture support aimed specifically at those demographic groups will always see a need. After all, against the background of Brexit and with the support of the government whatever its political colour, the UK’s future is more than ever linked to the success of SMBs.

Final thoughts

What the SMB sector has shown it needs is not only experienced advice and counsel but also a sounding board for ideas, the possibility of networking with other SMBs whose services and sectors complement their own enterprise and a firm base for technical guidance as well as effective, proven business ‘journey’ planning.


To learn how we can help your small or mid-sized business (from seed stage onwards):

Venture Support Programme


Julian Blick

View posts by Julian Blick
Julian delivers venture support to business startups and small & mid-sized businesses (SMBs), across all sectors. He also advises the P27 Board. His expertise: business planning, marketing, corporate recovery, sales improvement, accounting systems, strategic planning, business analysis, project finance, corporate recovery, change management, MBOs and MBIs. Julian has over 36 years of experience as an award-winning business advisor. He is accredited by SFEDI and an Associate member of the Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs.
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