An Example of Assistance
A small retail business is concerned about its low sales. Times
are tough and he is afraid the business will have to close. The
owner decides to contact his local BEC for advice. The BEC
manager and business owner agree to meet. The person is asked to
bring relevant business information to the meeting.
Assessment of the Business
During the initial one-hour interview it is discovered that the
business has been operating 15 months and is struggling to pay
expenses. An assessment of the financial position reveals that they
business is carrying too much stock and that it is
Alliancewith other Professionals
A meeting is then set-up with the accountant. After discussion,
it is agreed that the business should conduct a sale of some of its
goods to generate cash flow. The BEC manager assists in the
preparation of a concise business plan supported by financial
statements from the accountant. This is then given to the bank. The
retail business applies for and receives a small overdraft.
Advice on a Marketing Plan
One month later the business returns to the BEC to consult on a
marketing plan for the next 12 months.
Counselling and Monitoring
Once the plan has been prepared and action steps confirmed, the
business then agrees to meet with the BEC manager every second
month for the next 6 months to monitor progress. After 12 months
the business has doubled turnover. It is now making a profit for
the first time. The BEC manager continues to counsel, give advice
and monitor progress on an as needs basis.
The retail business also joins the BEC and receives regular
newsletter, invitations to networking opportunities, business
breakfasts and training information. Through attending these
events, the business owner meets other local business owners and
better understands the local business environment plus forms some
strategic alliances with other local business. Through his
association with his BEC he has developed a substantial network to
draw upon when support is required.
There is ample evidence to support the fact that the
micro-business sector prefers personal contact with someone from a
BEC because of their small/ micro business experience and their
counseling skills. Given that this sector has a high failure rate
in the first 3 years of business, access to free information,
referral and counseling services is vital to its survival.