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Is the Government’s approach to business mentors the right one?

By Bob Lewis-Basson

Over 200 current and former bank managers have signed up to form the core of a national mentoring scheme being rolled out today with Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander offering businesses more support on issues like finance, marketing and HR. This comes as a result of the Governments attempts to change the way SMEs receive help with the demise of the RDAs and Business Links in their current form.

My question is what do current or even former bank managers know about marketing and HR?

At first sight the aim to provide help and advice, mentoring and coaching to business owners is a laudable one. All these mentors are doing it for free- even better for the owners of these businesses. But does this mean that these owners will get the latest and best advice? It is unlikely as many will not be current and others will lack expertise and probably have never run their own business before.

Perhaps these bank managers should stick to what they know and advise SMEs on how to produce plans that are acceptable to banks to obtain loans and overdrafts.

There are a number of organisations such as SGBA that have dedicated, trained and experienced advisors who will provide a similar service. The main difference is that they will stick to their area of expertise. Someone who is an expert in marketing will not be an expert in finance but there will be someone else in the team who is. See About Us for full details of the team’s expertise.

If you would like to discuss the issues that face you Contact Us and an adviser will call you.

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