I’m sure most small businesses realise that Business Link is well into it’s final wind-down, and will close in November this year. People I’ve spoken to have had pretty inconsistent experiences of Business Link over the years- some will certainly miss a valuable resource, others really couldn’t care less or may be over the moon to see it gone.
Recently the views of people I’m talking to are changing, with more small business owners and managers concluding that the passing of this transient service is sure to leave a big gap. Yes, Business Link’s role changed in recent years and was repositioned as a referral service rather than advisory, and I can understand the politics behind this- at least it became a more consistent offer across the country, even though some- including me- argue it was dumbed down to the lowest common denominator. But love it or hate it, there’s no sign yet of any credible moves in the private sector to fill the gap.
What was it that Business Link did well?
I’d praise it’s unique ability to give a truly impartial, holistic perspective on a business, and persuade an MD to address weaknesses and opportunities they might otherwise have ignored. Who could offer this service in future for free?
Their other big plus has been the website- a huge collection of useful business resources, all for free to users (www.businesslink.gov.uk). This service too is under review- I for one hope it’ll live on after November.