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Career profile: Business adviser

business adviser confidenceBusiness advisers or consultants give independent advice and support to help new businesses to start up, and to encourage established small and medium-sized businesses to grow and develop.

On the job

Business advisers offer advice on a range of areas including start-up, finance, marketing, exporting and staff training.

The job includes looking at clients’ business ideas and analysing their potential, aiding clients in developing business plans and monitoring their progress, advising on sources of finance and grants, helping existing small businesses with reducing costs, improvements to marketing (among other issues), networking with the local business community and enterprise organisations, and running advice workshops and seminars.

Course entry requirements

Business advisers need to demonstrate experience and a good track record in business management. Most business advisers have run their own business, or worked in management, finance or human resources.

Employers will usually be more interested in skills such as marketing, finance, planning and project management, and previous experience, rather than formal qualifications, although a business-related degree or professional qualification may help you.
You will also need to get professional indemnity insurance.

What does the training involve

Business advisers normally get initial on-the-job training from the business support organisation that they are employed by. Further training takes place throughout an adviser’s career, such as the short courses and workshops offered by the Institute of Business Consulting (IBC), covering skills such as business counselling, marketing, mentoring, and finance for advisers.

It might also be beneficial to work towards recognised qualifications such as: the IBC Certificate and Diploma in Business Support, NVQ Level 4 in Business Support, Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) Level 5 Certificate in Business Support, or a postgraduate course in business coaching and mentoring.

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