During the government enforced lockdown, lots of areas of our business had to find new ways to operate.
We caught up with Wayne Wilson, our Enterprise Adviser, to find out what the new way of working meant for him. We wanted to find out what a day in the life looks like as an Enterprise Adviser, and to discover all the sorts of questions and problems he helps people to solve as they try and start their own small business.
Yes of course! Well, I am the Enterprise Adviser, so my role is to help local people start new businesses.
My duties include giving business advice and business training. I help people to understand what it means to be in business, how to create a business plan, identify and understand their target market, how to promote a business and undertake financial forecasting including sales and business expenditure. We can even offer people a small business start-up grant to help them get off the ground.
I am keen to ensure that a customer receives all the support on offer.
I enjoy meeting people and hearing their business ideas. The best reward is seeing a new business start, grow and become sustainable.
It's a real shame that during the last five months there haven't been any business start-ups at all because of the lockdown restrictions! We've awarded a couple of small business start-up grants though, and the online learning has been very successful!
During the last five months personal business meetings have not been possible. Working from home brought a change in how the enterprise service is delivered. It was important that the service continued, and the one to one business advice I offer continued over the telephone.
We converted some of the classroom based business training courses we offered to online workshops. National and local government provided a continuous stream of information to support businesses during lockdown. It was important that this information was disseminated regularly to local business owners.
For all customers the last few months have been very difficult! A few were able to shift their businesses online, or they changed what they did.
For some their whole business came to a standstill! The time also provided a period of reflection and many clients made a determined effort to review their business and reach out to other businesses. They made new connections and widened their business network.
Being proactive when a business faces hardship is a positive move and I can see some clients are already reaping the benefits.
Some of the success stories that we've seen coming through this difficult period of lockdown have been brilliant to hear about. One example is Ishtar Ali, who took advantage of Wayne's services to help get her business off the ground at the start of the year, just before lockdown hit.
“Well lockdown pretty much stopped my business only 2 months into operations", Ishtar had told us. “We had to pull out of all of our projects, we were working on residential projects at the time. And I had a solid pipeline of jobs for March to the end of the summer which I had been working on developing that had to be put on hold".
You can find out how Ishtar adapted to these challenges by reading her story and seeing how she turned a negative into a positive!
To find out more about our Enterprise Service and how Wayne might be able to help you and your small business, get in contact with him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0161 274 2150.