Business Connect: Hands-on help for small business owners
Whether you are just starting out with your business idea, or looking to grow and optimise your existing business, Business Connect is here to help. If your business is in NSW, the first 4 hours of one-to-one business advice are absolutely free! Learn more.
Business Connect is a NSW Government program that provides a quality, personalised business advisory service to help you on your way.
The services are offered by independent service providers across NSW who are experienced, have strong local connections and provide professional, high-quality, independent advice, skills training and business events.
There are specialist advisors on hand to provide guidance on topics ranging from digital innovation, search engine optimisation through to accessing finance and navigating the small business lending market.
Don’t live in a major city? No problem. The Business Bus travels across rural and regional NSW, complementing the network of more than 70 mobile business advisors
And if English isn’t your first language, that’s fine too. Business Connect’s multicultural business advisors can provide one-on-one assistance in languages such as Arabic, Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin and Vietnamese. For other languages, your advisor can arrange Translating and Interpreting Services.
RELATED: In a series of 5 podcasts and a community webinar, Business Connect and Flying Solo bring you the expert tips and essential strategies, tools and ideas you need to succeed. Catch them all here.
See how Business Connect helps real businesses across NSW:
For Flavours Sake
Following her appearance on Season 9 of MasterChef Australia, Michelle was keen to start her own baking business but wasn’t sure how.
She was introduced to Business Connect advisor Andrew Campbell, and she attributes his advice to the beginning of her success.
'Without hesitation, I’d say Business Connect and Andrew provided the ultimate groundwork. Even now, I’ve enrolled in social media courses that Andrew teaches. They have shown me the value of social media for a small business like mine.”
Michelle says it’s hard work and long hours, but even if she’s up at 2am baking scones for a function, it’s her business and she loves it!
Michelle started For Flavours Sake in her commercially-approved home kitchen, and now supplies many restaurants and cafés with her baked goods.
The business of beauty
When beauty therapist, Ms Thi Mai Lan Hoang (Lan), started her small business a few years ago she had a steep learning curve ahead of her! She now runs a successful beauty salon and was recently a finalist at the St George Local Business Awards.
In 2015, Lan saw a shop for lease and instantly fell in love with it and then the panic set in! Thankfully she found a Business Connect ‘Start a Business’ workshop and booked in immediately.
“Once she attended the workshop she realised the enormity of her decision. So coming to the ‘start a business’ workshop made her realise she needed a plan,” said local Business Connect advisor, Katherine Blizard.
Katherine and Lan worked together to create a business plan and refined her offering. They also worked out a marketing plan, identified competition and narrowed down the clientele. After the workshop ended, Lan felt better prepared to open the shop and with Katherine’s support, began trading.
Thikkabilla brings new day for Indigenous dance
Tyrone Hall is fulfilling his lifelong dream of teaching ancient Indigenous dance, culture and traditions to children in Dubbo, thanks to support from Business Connect advisor Peter Croft.
Mr Hall became fascinated with dance as a teenager and travelled the country to learn all he could about Indigenous culture, storytelling and dance. Now through his business, Thikkabilla Vibrations, he is passing on that knowledge not only to Indigenous kids but to the whole community.
Mr Hall said Business Connect was crucial in establishing Thikkabilla Vibrations, which specialises in dance, story-telling, spirituality and nature-based programs.
“Peter taught me a lot of things I didn’t know and helped me develop a business plan, a financial forecast, and is always there as a sounding board for ideas.”
Mr Hall’s business is continuing to grow and he now employs five casual staff. He is also collaborating with Dubbo Ballet Studio to develop a new program.
Business Connect helps Central West entrepreneur
Bathurst entrepreneur Zoe Hida first turned to Business Connect advisor Russell Meadley back in 2013 when starting her company Appiwork which develops mobile apps, websites and online systems for businesses and now describes herself as a ‘very vocal fan’.
Business Connect provided initial advice on start-up process and governance requirements, as well as programs and linkages to help grow the business. Ms Hilda found the process so helpful that she began referring her own customers to Business Connect, as she realised her customers weren’t just building an app but also a business.
“Business Connect sets them up for success by giving them advice and understanding the foundations of setting up a business, what the requirements are, and helping them find the resources that they need.”
Five years later her relationship with Business Connect is still going strong, with Business HQ helping Ms Hida with a successful submission to the NSW Government for funding to support the development of her ‘MedWhere’ app and a Minimum Viable Product grant for their latest online platform, Everywhere Venues.
If you want help to start or grow your business in NSW, visit www.industry.nsw.gov.au/businessconnect