Banks start to mentor small businesses

Picture of the Lloyds logoThe banks sare starting to honour their promise and mentor small business - but only on the principle that it's done mostly by volunteers, thus costing them next to nothing.
That sounds negative and as this is a blog you should take it as a viewpoint rather than as straight reportage - people who take the other view will rightly argue that mobilising a force of volunteers is directly in line with the Big Society initiative and if this is part of it that's working people like me should stop complaining. Which would be entirely reasonable.

Areas of help

The idea is to help small businesses facing issues with HR, financing, marketing and other areas. The help will come from people who have been employees in high profile organisations and retired businesspeople, as well as businesspeople currently working if they can spare the time.

This is where I have my personal difficulty. Until recently this is the sort of service that would have been the province of Business Link. This is being disbanded.

Don't get me wrong. It needed an overhaul, and the fact that the services offered by one BL were different from those offered by another was ridiculous. If this new service is at least consistent then businesses will be able to change their location without throwing themselves into disarray, which is a good thing.

But Business Link, as a paid-for service (even if paid for by the Government), was an entitlement. This new idea = and I do see the appeal of cutting costs - is more of a favour based on people's willingness to grant their time.

It feels like a retrograde step, and if someone's giving their time voluntarily there's less scope for comeback if the advice they offer ends up faulty.

I'm more than willing to listen to the other side. What do commenters and readers think? (I should add that I really hope I'm wrong - solid business advice that helps create jobs is in everybody's interests and if this idea delivers, great).
Read Full Story