As a business in the tourism industry, there are a number of places to get advice, guidance and one-on-one support to help you grow and develop.
We provide a host of business support materials that will help you start up a tourism business, including the Pink Book Online, which provides guidance to legislation for accommodation businesses, best practice advice from real case studies and a comprehensive Online Marketing Toolkit.
There is also a range of other dedicated organisations and resources that provide everything from new business grant funding to clarity around legislation. Most Local Authorities and/or Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) provide a degree of business support and will typically signpost you to what local support is available, as well as any countrywide support on offer.
Getting one-to-one support
If you're just starting out, working with a consultant, mentor or coach could be a good option. So what's the difference?
You may know that you need help in specific areas, such as online marketing, or you might not know where to go next with your business. A general business consultant will be able to help you with this process, but be prepared to pay and work out a programme of activity with a fixed price before you commit. If you're looking for a local expert, try LinkedIn, which is great for finding local specialists. They can then help you determine whether you need a specialist for specific aspects such as finance, IT or marketing.
Coaching is more about teaching you how to do things yourself. Again you need to be mindful of budgets. The Government is keen to help small businesses in this area with its Business Growth Service. A personal adviser, a bit like a business consultant, will help you develop a business plan, understand different funding options and break into new markets. Small businesses can receive a tailored package of support to help them improve, grow and build leadership and management skills.
Mentoring is an area that's gaining in popularity and is supported by Mentorsme. Mentoring is when someone who's been in the situation before offers advice. Mentors typically don’t get paid more than expenses, and are often thought to be altruistic in their approach to helping businesses in need of some informal support. Typically this type of business support is less time-sensitive. Mentoring is really good for owner-managed businesses, as it provides the opportunity for both the mentor and mentee to learn and develop from each other.
With thanks to Ann Brine, AMB Marketing
Jane Mohan of West Street Vineyard describes how she set up her business.