Just under 50% of businesses will fail within the first 5 years of operation, about a third of businesses will make it to the 10 year mark. In the UK we are very good at starting new businesses but quite poor at scaling them and creating longevity. It has been asked recently if it is worth accessing local funded support for SMEs.  
As business owners, we have ideas and ways of doing things and it is sometimes difficult to admit that we do not know everything. It is more difficult still to figure out what it is that we don't know. That is where support comes in; the value from a business advisor's experience as well as peer working helps give knowledge, action and guidance in what to do regarding hurdles in your scaleup journey. 
Many business owners tell us that they do not have the time for these programmes. If you spend all your time in your business and no time on your business then you will never be one of those small percentages of businesses that manage to last for years and scale.  
As mentioned, most support programmes, including funded ones, consist of peer-to-peer and advisor support. One of the biggest advantages of using a business coach and peer working is that they can offer a completely fresh perspective on any business idea or problem. This is backed up by our research in which 64% of respondents said they find peer-to-peer groups beneficial as they challenge their thinking and help them implement new ideas. 
In support groups, business owners are encouraged to exchange anecdotes and antidotes of trying situations that other members are either facing or have faced in the past. Listening to others’ experiences and advice can uncover new approaches and tactics that may not have been noticed otherwise, helping business owners overcome challenges and recognise and act on new opportunities. 
The difference between those who successfully scale versus those whose don’t is harnessing the power of peers – and one of the best ways to do this is a structured form of peer-to-peer working. Aside from providing the opportunity to work with a balanced group of business owners, peer-to-peer working provides the opportunity for business owners to shape and advance their leadership skills by learning from the successes and mistakes of each other. 
In addition, peer-to-peer working enables business leaders to address and overcome the identified barriers to scale, such as confidence, team culture, leadership and honing your business model to create true competitive advantage. 
Ontop of these benefits there is almost always funding for these support programmes, and even better than that, grants for completing these free programmes to give your business a further boost. So... free expert support to get you motivated about going in the right direction, free sounding board of other business owners to give advice on whatever speed bumps you might be facing and grant money. Why would you not access funded programmes?  
Get involved and be one of the few business success stories! 
If you are Worcestershire based you can have a look at what funded programmes BizSmart is hosting here.  
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