- Requires excellent written and spoken communication, objective and logical thinking, and good organisational skills
- Option to get involved with community or social enterprises and charities that support business start-ups
- May be required to attend meetings or networking events in the evenings or at weekends
As a business adviser, you'll provide information, support, coaching, advice and guidance to business people. This could range from individuals looking to start their own business through to supporting established businesses to grow, scale up, change or diversify their business model.
- Looking at clients' business ideas to see if they have potential
- Helping clients to develop business plans
- Advising on sources of finance and grants
- Helping existing small businesses with problems like finding ways to reduce costs or improve marketing
- Referring clients to other specialists if necessary
- Networking with the business community and enterprise organisations
- Monitoring clients' progress
- Running advice workshops and seminars
Working hours are typically 37 to 40 hours per week, Monday to Friday. You'll be required to attend breakfast and evening networking events and seminars.
Some business advisers are employed on fixed-term contracts to deliver specific projects. Part-time and flexible working, including some work from home, is possible, although you will likely have to travel and have access to suitable transport. When working with clients you will be expected to wear suitable business attire.
With experience, you could work freelance, usually paid on an hourly or day rate. This will depend on your experience, qualifications and track record. You'll see clients at your own office, or travel to see clients at their premises.
To become a business adviser requires excellent written and spoken communication, objective and logical thinking, and good organisational skills.
You can apply directly to employers if you've got proven experience like running your own company, or working in management, finance or human resources. You'll need to show a wide range of skills, including marketing, finance, planning and project management. You'll also need to be good at building a network of contacts.
It may help if you have a business-related degree or professional qualification in business management, business enterprise, marketing or project management but this isn't essential. Employers will often be more interested in your skills and experience.
You could build your knowledge and skills by doing business support and mentoring qualifications, for example, like those offered by the Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative. Qualifications include a Level 3 Certificate in Enterprise Coaching, Level 3 Award in Enterprise Mentoring and Level 5 Certificate in Professional Business and Enterprise Support Services. You can use social media, like LinkedIn, to promote yourself, build your network and display recommendations from colleagues and clients.
It could be helpful to join the Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs for professional development, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.
Alternatively, you can start by doing a junior management consultant or business and professional services higher apprenticeship.
You may need professional indemnity insurance.
You could join the Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs, be employed by a local business support organisation or by a national organisation like the Great Business support line.
You could also get involved with community or social enterprises and charities that support business start ups, or do freelance work. Some business advisers go on to work as business analysts, economic development officers and management consultants.