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Bath mentor has been named as one of Britain’s top 50 business advisers

Business Doctor, Richard Tidswell, fought off competition from hundreds across the UK to be named as one of Britain’s top 50 business advisers.

The married father-of-two, who offers hands-on support and business advice to small business owners and early stage entrepreneurs, said he was delighted with the accolade.

Richard, 41, who runs Business Doctors from his office in Wood Street, Bath, said: “It’s an honour to be named as one of the top 50 advisers and I’m really grateful to all the businesses who voted for me.

“It’s great to be able to work alongside small business owners, see things change and celebrate in their successes as we put in place steps to grow and develop their business.

“Running a business can be a lonely affair and it can often feel like you do not have someone to bounce ideas off and discuss things with. It’s all too easy to fall into reactive mode, responding to the day-to-day challenges but perhaps losing sight of why you did it the first place and what you are ultimately trying to achieve. There’s a strong risk that without good strategic advice you can wake up one day with a business that doesn’t bring you pleasure and you start to resent.

“Good advice can help you put simple systems and practices in place to make sure that the business stays on track and does what you wanted it to, meaning you do not lose sight of your original goals.”

Small business network Enterprise Nation asked fledgling businesses to nominate an adviser who had helped them to build and grow a sustainable business.

Richard left a successful career working at a senior level for multi-million pound corporations over two years ago, to focus instead on working alongside small business owners. “If I can bring some of the things I have learnt along the way and share my experiences to help develop and evolve their leadership skills and unlock opportunities in their business, then I’m a happy man” said Richard.

Richard has already supported six businesses through the Growth Voucher scheme, a £30m Government initiative that provides match funding to small businesses to access external support and advice for their business.

Angela Belassie, who runs her own PR firm in Bristol, was one of those awarded a voucher and found Richard’s support was invaluable.

She said: “Working with Richard helped give me a clearer focus. Within a short space of time I found I was working with more of my ideal clients, had a steadier cash-flow and could even cut my working hours as I was working more efficiently.”

Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation, said: “These business advisers are the unsung heroes behind Britain’s booming small business culture.

“The awards have uncovered some incredible work that has helped fledgling firms take steps towards sustainability and growth by taking a strategic look at their business.”

Emma added: “Research shows that those firms that take advice do better than those that don’t – and it stands to reason that good advice can help avoid some of the damaging, early mistakes entrepreneurs can make that can often force them to give up.

“Thanks to the Government’s £30m Growth Voucher initiative, there is now an increasing interest in taking strategic advice to overcome some of these behavioural barriers and unlock growth potential.

“The awards were designed to show this important work in action, in order to help more start-ups and small firms find out about the benefits of taking advice.”

Richard’s top tips for growing a business are:

  • Never lose sight of why you did it in the first place – your passion, drive and motivation
  • Forget about describing your business in terms of what you make, do or sell and focus instead on why people buy – what is the fundamental need you fulfil
  • Set a clear destination – that will act as an inspiring and motivating daily influence
  • Align everyone in your business around that and give them a strong sense of purpose
  • Have regular, proper conversations with your staff, customers and suppliers – you’ll be amazed at the opportunities that come out
  • Don’t get stuck in the owners trap – make sure you find the time to spend working on the business and not in it every moment of the day

A Government report called Growing Your Business, written by Enterprise Adviser Lord Young, suggested if Britain’s smallest firms were to take on just one more employee each, it would eradicate unemployment in the UK.

He said: “The evidence is unequivocal: businesses that seek and engage external help are more likely to grow. But much more needs to be done to encourage firms to invest in their capability.”

A report from the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce suggested by 2018 there would be more than five million people working for themselves in this country – exceeding the number working in the public sector for the first time.

Entries were judged by a distinguished panel including Emma Jones, and representatives from professional bodies including the ICAEW, as well as the Department for Business, Industry and Skills, StartUp Loans and James Layfield, the founder and entrepreneur behind Central Working.