Job profile

Business Adviser

Business Adviser Job Profile

What is a Business Adviser?

As a Business Adviser, you can either be employed or self-employed. You will be responsible for providing information, support, guidance, advice and coaching to business people. This will often be on how to start their own business, scale their business, or change or diversify their business model.

Business advisers are extremely useful for startups as they will be looking for direction in terms of how to take turn their business concept into a reality. This will mean gathering, presenting and explaining information on funding, organisational change and innovation. 

Key areas include:

  • Providing information on finance, funding and grants
  • Offering mentoring and coaching to help a business through changes
  • Providing support on the business planning process
  • Giving advice on business improvement techniques
  • Introducing businesses to networks and associates
  • Supplying specialist support to specific business sectors
  • Offering specialist support to develop international trade agreements
  • Informing and influencing government policy on business support
  • Designing and delivering training seminars to provide business support to a wide audience.

Responsibilities

As a business adviser, you’ll need to:

 

  • Possess in-depth knowledge of the business support landscape and the ability to advise businesses on the range of options available
  • Undertake diagnostic needs assessments with businesses, including analysing the needs of the business and working with the client to put a business action plan in place
  • Develop your own professional network of associates who can provide a broad range of business and enterprise support services to your clients
  • Build positive relationships with clients, partners, associates and networks
  • Have excellent mentoring and coaching skills
  • Attend meetings with networks and associates to ensure you keep up to date with global, national, regional and local business support initiatives to ensure your clients benefit
  • Undertake research on behalf of a business
  • Communicate with clients, networks and associates
  • Provide start-up businesses with advice and guidance 
  • Provide tutoring on, for example, suitable business plans and cash flow plans
  • Organise and deliver business networking events and business education seminars and workshops.

Salary

Starting salaries for entry-level start-up business advisers range between £18,000 and £25,000

More experience and specialist business support advisers and coaches can earn anywhere up to £40,000
Economic development advisers and management consultants can earn significantly higher salaries
This will depend on location and whether you are employed or self-employed. According to Glassdoor the average national salary for a Business Adviser is £26,815.

Working hours

As a business adviser, you can expect to work around 37 to 40 hours per week, Monday to Friday. However, you may be required to attend networking events and seminars. Part-time work is common for a business adviser, and if you are self-employed you can usually determine your own hours. However, most business advisers are employed on fixed-term contracts and deliver specific projects, which are usually government-funded.

What to expect

  • It’s essential that you can travel and have use of a car as you’ll spend much of your time out visiting clients.
  • Smart dress is required to maintain a professional business relationship with clients.
  • Flexible working patterns and working from home are possible.
  • Self-employment or freelance work is possible for experienced business advisers who choose to become independent consultants.

Qualifications

You are not required to have any formal qualification, although some sort of business-related degree will help you stand out amongst other candidates and make your CV more desirable. 

You can be a graduate of various disciplines and still have the opportunity to become a business adviser. Work experience in a professional or financial service such as HR, recruitment, marketing, accountancy finance and banking will help you gain the valuable skills to be a successful business adviser. Many business advisers have worked in the industry and have run their own businesses. Other business advisers develop their skills within local government, working in economic development advisory roles.

Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative (SFEDI) Awards is the awarding body for enterprise education. Here you will be able to gain a nationally-recognised qualification in enterprise support, which can be requested by a recruiter when looking for a business adviser. Relevant qualifications include:

  • Level 8 Diploma in Business and Enterprise Support
  • Level 5 and Level 7 Certificate in Professional Business and Enterprise Support Services
  • Level 5 and Level 7 Certificate in Professional Business and Enterprise Coaching Services
  • Level 3 Award in Enterprise Mentoring.

Skills

You'll need to show:

must have skills:
  • Business acumen
  • A good understanding of business functions such as sales and marketing, finance, operations, leadership and management
  • Strong verbal communication skills for articulating ideas to clients
  • Excellent written communication skills for producing plans, reports, evaluations and funding applications
  • Strong numeracy skills and a good command of English, with the ability to adapt these to a range of clients
  • The ability to listen and interpret clients’ needs and requests
  • Good analytical skills to conduct needs assessments, analyse data and produce clearly defined reports and action plans
  • Close attention to detail and accuracy
  • Organisational skills with the ability to collect and disseminate information
  • The ability to work independently and flexibly
  • A capacity to prioritise your work and to work across multiple projects
  • A high level of interpersonal skills, including teamwork and the ability to build effective relationships with clients and deliver excellent customer service
  • Creative skills to enable you to solve problems and contribute new and innovative ideas
  • The ability to work well under pressure and meet deadlines
  • Networking and consultancy skills
  • Knowledge of the existing and emerging business support landscape
  • Excellent IT skills and knowledge of social media platforms.

Work experience

It’s worth looking at what work experience opportunities are available at local government, local enterprise partnerships, charities and social enterprises as a place to start. More profound experience will be learnt from setting up your own business, and spending time shadowing a small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) to develop a core understanding of business operations, the challenges they face and how they overcome them in order to best advise other companies.

Employers

As a business adviser, you are most likely to be employed by local government, charities, social enterprises and local enterprises. 

Look for job vacancies at:

However, once you are more experienced and feel you have built a professional reputation ad network of contacts you may decide to go self-employed and work for yourself.

Professional development

As an entry-level business adviser, you will need to constantly be learning and developing and maintaining a broad set of skills, knowledge and understanding of what it takes to run a successful business. Therefore, you should be keeping up-to-date with government and international funding opportunities and continuing to develop your coaching and mentoring skills. 

You could consider joining the Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs (IOEE). It offers a full range of SFEDI qualifications as well as a variety of resources, connections and support.

The Institute of Leadership and Management also offers training at a range of levels in leadership and management as well as coaching and mentoring.

Related Courses

Business adviser roles are open to graduates of all subjects. Some higher national diploma or degree subjects may be particularly relevant. Below are some of the courses on offer that will help you get your foot in the door to the world of Business Development. 

Undergraduate related courses:

Postgraduate related courses:

MSc Project Management 

Students of the MSc in Project Management programme will gain an understanding of current issues in project management through engaging with contemporary theory and case studies. 

Over the course of three terms (1-year, full time), students will develop their critical thinking, problem-solving and analysis skills through a range of compulsory modules and electives. Available modules include change management and leadership, strategic management and sustainability, and professional practice.

Studying these modules allows students to gain a clear insight into the practicalities of project management in different industries and prepare them for a career in this field.

Other related courses
  • MSc Accounting and Finance
  • MSc Management with Enterprise and Business Growth
  • MSc Management with International Business and Development

FAQ Summary

As a Business Adviser, you can either be employed or self-employed. You will be responsible for providing information, support, guidance, advice and coaching to business people. This will often be on how to start their own business, scale their business, or change or diversify their business model.

Starting salaries for entry-level start-up business advisers range between £18,000 and £25,000. More experience and specialist business support advisers and coaches can earn anywhere up to £40,000

You are not required to have any formal qualification, although some sort of business-related degree will help you stand out amongst other candidates and make your CV more desirable.

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