To mark Small Business Advice Week (4th-10th September), Nichola Howard, founder of Launch Events and the Blackpool Expo, shares her top three tips for business success.

As part of Small Business Advice Week, now in its 10th year, we’re encouraging businesses to reach out for support, share knowledge and create connections to help the country’s 4.5 million small businesses thrive in tough times.

From starting and running my own business, and working alongside some of Lancashire’s leading firms, I’ve learnt many valuable lessons. So, here’s three tried and trusted methods that continue to work for me.

1. Create a trusted network

The first lesson I learned while running a small business is that it can be a lonely experience. The challenge of running your own business is made easier – and a lot more fun – when you surround yourself with like-minded people who genuinely want to see you succeed, so don’t be afraid to reach out and build relationships with trusted contacts. Help others and they will help you.

2. Get your processes in place

You may feel like you have no break from the day to day running of your small business to take a step back and look at how your business support systems could be streamlined or automated, but investing time in processes such as a customer relationship management software or an invoicing system will save you time in the future and enable you to focus on your core business.

3. Ask for help

From protecting ideas to exploring international trade, small businesses across Lancashire are spoilt with a wide range of support services that can provide free advice to help grow your business. These include local programmes such as Blackpool Unlimited to county-wide initiatives such as Boost, as well as free seminars from local leaders at events such as Blackpool Expo.

My key message for any small business in Lancashire is that quality support and advice is there for the taking. If Lancashire is the home of your business, you have every opportunity to thrive.

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