Win FREE advertising in the Guardian

HAS your firm been running between for between one and five years?

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 7th November 2012, 10:32 am

If so then you could win free advertising worth thousands of pounds in the Worksop Guardian under the Local Business Accelerators 2012 scheme.

The scheme, which is backed by the Prime Minister, offers firms aged between one and five years the chance to win a free advertising campaign in the Guardian, as well as mentoring support for regional business leaders.

The campaign, organised by the Newspaper Society, is being replicated by more than 500 newspapers across the UK.

LBA national ambassador Deborah Meaden, of Dragons’ Den fame, will provide a year’s mentoring to the overall national winner, chosen from the regional finalists. It will also receive a local advertising campaign devised by a top London creative agency and £10,000 from the Business Growth Fund.

Local press advertising is a proven force to drive growth for SMEs - 60 per cent of small business owners agree that advertising in their local newspaper is the best way to attract customers in their area - and the same can be said for mentoring.

Ninety percent of businesses that secured help from a mentor reported seeing the benefit, with three quarters citing an improvement in their ability to develop business plans and strategy.

Mentoring is a key part of the Government and private sector’s Business in You campaign which is supporting LBA for the first time. It highlights the range of support and advice available to businesses to help them start up, improve and grow.

A key partner of the Business in You campaign is mentorsme.co.uk—Britain’s first online mentoring gateway, owned and operated by the British Banker’s Association - which provides a single point of access for businesses seeking mentoring and those seeking to become mentors.

There’s no question that most business owners understand the value of mentoring and the boost it can provide to their business but, for some, there are barriers. Commonly cited obstacles include difficulty in finding the right assistance, not seeing the need for it and, for a minority, doubting its value.

But the potential benefits are considerable. According to a recent survey of business owners, 60 per cent of those who use external advice improved their business performance as a result.

And a separate survey found that 80 per cent of business owners who had used external advice said they were expecting to grow in the next two to three years, compared to 67 per cent of those who hadn’t used external advice.

Not seeking advice can be a matter of regret for some business owners, with one in five businesses who had not sought advice later saying they wished they had done so.

Mentoring has the potential to deliver significant economic benefits by building capacity and confidence in SMEs to seek external support in a low cost way.

By seeking mentoring support now, business owners are not only gaining invaluable support for their businesses but contributing to wider growth of the British economy.

For the mentors themselves, it’s an opportunity to give something back to the enterprise community and gain a broader understanding of the issues facing small businesses.

The competition is open to businesses which have been running full time for one to five years. Entries must have 12 months of accounts available and be financially viable and profitable. They also need to show how the business has coped with the recession and any plans for new jobs.

Entry is free. Applications should be submitted by Friday 16th November. To enter go to www.accelerateme.co.uk.