By Daniel Hunter

Small business leaders are more likely to seek business advice from family and friends than they are to ask for help from a professional, according to a new survey.

The research carried out for Growth Vouchers - a Government programme that helps businesses to cover the cost of professional advice in areas including finance and cash flow, management skills and sales & marketing - found that 69% of decision makers in small businesses have approached someone in their personal life for help, compared to 57% who have taken advice from a professional.

This is despite 36% of business leaders saying they are most likely to trust guidance from a professional above other sources of advice.

Furthermore, 60% of small business leaders said they would gain from some form of professional advice, with sales and marketing reported as the area that most (30%) businesses think they would benefit from support in. This is closely followed by making the most of digital technology, which 26% of business leaders said they would benefit from advice on.

Cost was highlighted as the most common reason why people do not seek professional business advice. Of the 1,000 small business decision makers surveyed, 43% those who have taken advice from friends and family said they did so because it was free; and four in ten businesses (40%) that haven’t taken professional advice felt that it is too expensive.

Other barriers to accessing professional advice were lack of time (reported by 12% of respondents) and uncertainty over how to access it (reported by 9% of respondents).

Business Minister Matthew Hancock said:

“Expert business advice is incredibly important for many of the UK’s smaller firms and helps make sure they reach their potential. We know professional advice can be costly and that there is a lot of choice out there, so we are simplifying the Government’s businesses support schemes to make it easier to find and access the right support at the right time. This is all part of our plan to make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business.”

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