THE demise of a government help service’s free face-to-face advice network has left a void among small businesses, says a training expert.
Bev and Jasper Gilder, of Gaddesden Row, near Hemel Hempstead, used to provide free advice sessions for small firms as contractors before Business Link pulled the plug at the end of November.
Business Link used to provide free advice on a grand scale but is now an internet-based self-help advice portal.
Bev said: “Growth in the economy will come from small businesses employing people and growing. But to do that you need someone to help.
“I can’t believe they pulled the Business Link service with all the government has been saying about promoting growth.”
Bev and Jasper formed Altos Training to try to help fill the gap in short bite-sized workshops for small firms. But she admits things haven’t quite taken off yet.
“Business Link had a massive database,” said Bev, who has 20 years’ experience in training and as a business coach. “We might have to buy one!”
They are also finding people reluctant to part with the £45 they charge for a half day session, despite the benefits of having someone from outside spending three or four hours giving them specific advice.
“A lot of small business owners do everything themselves and often have to work in their businesses instead of on their businesses.
“But by investing in a few nuggets they can do a lot of good. Training has got to be an investment.”
Altos Training has teamed up with two other ex Business Link trainers- Helen Marini and Nadia Cenci and they have been holding workshops in Kings Langley as well as Welwyn Garden City and Luton.
Their next one, in Kings Langley, will be on the subject of negotiation on February 24.
Other topics they want to teach include leading and motivation, appraisal skills, how to find and bid for public sector contracts and delivering world class service.