**If you are a start-up or newly established business owner, this one is for you**. You want to start a business but feel overwhelmed by the potential challenges in front of you and worried about making expensive mistakes in your business journey that could drain your bank account. I understand.
The good news is that plenty of free business resources are available to help guide you on your journey towards business success. In this blog post, we’ll explore five of them that you can access free of charge, except for your time!
So if you want a jumpstart into unlocking your new business adventure without investing in paid consultation first or coaching services – keep reading. We’ll go over some methods that you can start to get free resources for building your business today.
But beware, *Disclaimer* as with anything free in life; there’s always a limitation. You’ve lived long enough to understand that nothing is really free in this world. So, let’s have an open mind.
Alright, let’s get started!
1. Government-Funded Business Mentorship Program
If you are a start-up on a tight budget and have little clues about setting up a business, the first step you can take is to check out your local council or government website to find business programs that meet your needs.
Your local government would have a list of business mentors on a volunteering program, strictly no pay, who are passionate about giving back to the community. These volunteers could be retired business operators, Ex-corporate managers, or Ex-general managers. In some localities, you might get younger or dynamic business mentors who keep up with the latest trends and strategies.
To access these services, you would pay a nominal fee for a 1-hour session, ranging between $60-$100/ hour. Once registered, you will receive a 1-on-1 session with them to talk about your needs, goals and aspiration. After the session, they will hand you a templated 1 to 2 pages worksheet to work through: business goal-setting sheets, cashflow projection sheet, Understanding Your Customers pdf, Product and Services worksheet, 5 Ps of marketing worksheet, etc. We have plenty of them with similar titles in our office. Contact us if you want some free copies.
The benefit is that it is low cost, and in some councils, it is free. There are also free (or low cost) business group seminars that you can attend.
However, there are always limitations to low-cost (or free) services. As follows: –
You may not get the mentor you want, especially those with a sophisticated ageing appearance. The good ones are in popular demand because they are free, and you might be in for a long wait.
And if your money-making opportunity (or business goals) can be put on hold, this option is right for you.
The Govt may limit your use. For example, not only must you apply and complete forms (time-consuming), but they also stipulate that every business (ABN) only qualifies for up to 8 hours of free mentorship a year. If you need more, you will need to pay for it or join a membership program that may works out to be near the market price of private mentors.
Again, if your business only requires 8 hours to build, scale, and be profitable, this free mentorship program could be right for you.
Another limitation of government mentorship programs is that Mentors are constrained by a standardised bureaucratic system that lacks the flexibility to adjust to your needs. As a result, Mentors can only give out what the head office has authorised to provide to the public: nothing more, nothing less. The intention is to ensure uniformity across all mentors under the Govt banner and to minimise complaints from Clients (the business owners). Consequently, you get a one-size-fits-all approach to business coaching and mentorship.
For those who are new to starting or growing a business, this standardised approach can be beneficial, as mentors provide foundational guidance on helping you to identify your target markets, clarify your products and services, and analyse your competitors. However, suppose you require more advanced strategies to build, streamline, and manage your business to achieve next-level success; you might quickly discover that you have outgrown their standardised framework.
Mismatched mentorship allocation and possible misfit.
Under the government mentorship programs, all business mentors are volunteers who can select their mentees based on their preferences. Mentors have the liberty to reject a case if they cannot connect with the mentee during the initial call or based on their profile. It is important to remember that these mentors are not motivated by monetary compensation but rather the opportunity to contribute to society.
As a result of this condition, you may not get the preferred Mentor you selected. If so, the Govt System will then allocate you to the next available Mentor to assist you; after all, Client Pathway and handouts are consistent and uniform across all boards to ensure everyone gets treated equally.
If you are fortunate enough to secure your preferred mentor, it is crucial to communicate with your Mentor respectfully, acknowledging their valuable contribution to society. Even though you may pay a nominal fee for their time, it is important to note that the payment goes directly to the government, not the mentor. If you give them an attitude, the Mentor will terminate the relationship.
Overall, the government’s mentorship program is similar to other government initiatives that offer FREE services (programs) to the public, such as Health Care, vaccinations, and surgeries provided at public facilities. As with all Govt programs, it is designed to serve the public, which means, at times, you may have to wait in line, or sometimes you might get what you want for a fraction of the cost.
Not all mentors have grown a business before and lack the insights and hands-on experience of building, growing, and marketing a business.
Most mentors are former corporate employees who relied on their subordinates and departmental divisions, such as IT, Helpdesk, HR, and Accounting, to get things done. They may not possess the holistic experience required to assist you in navigating the gray areas. As a business owner, you are almost a jack of all trade – a generalist to be successful.
Their volunteering duty is to distribute templated materials and provide a sounding board. Many are retired individuals who aren’t actively investing in personal development to stay updated with the latest strategies and technologies. Consequently, they can only share knowledge they acquired prior to retirement, and if they ceased learning at the age of 60, their expertise stops there.
2. FREE BUSINESS SEMINARS
If you’re looking for free business advice or a mentor or teacher but are unsure where to start, the next option is to attend free business seminars or online webinars. These webinars are often advertised on social media platforms such as YouTube or Facebook, and registration is typically free.
During the webinar, you will receive valuable insights and resources aimed at helping you achieve your goals. The intention is to provide you with so much value that you will be impressed with the knowledge you’ve gained that you may be interested in joining a program or working with the trainer on your projects after the session.
Some people get put off by trainers trying to sell them “something” during these free training sessions, but you must know there is no pressure and no obligation to buy from them or even join their paid programs after the sessions – if you don’t want to. If all you want is free advice and training on a particular topic, the trainer has done their job as promised. Whether you want to take the next step is your prerogative. At least you know what’s missing, acknowledge the gaps, and discover opportunities in your business to build on; that’s all that matters – right?
If you’re interested in attending free webinars about business growth, register here. We give out various free training once in a while.
3. Join a Business Facebook page and Group
Your next option of getting free business mentorship is to join a Facebook page or group focusing on your interest.
Some are paid, but you can choose the free business page or group to join. These social pages are designed to gather aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners together in one place.
You can easily find these communities and groups who share the same business interests as you on most social media sites: go to Facebook or Google, type “business group”, and you will be shown relevant groups in your local area, if not international.
There are often a handful of business mentors in that Group or Facebook page waiting to contribute their 5 cents opinion on members’ questions.
Once you join these business groups, start posting questions and challenges on the chat/ forum, and you will find members eager to give you their expert responses. You can reach out to them by private message (PMs), and some of them would be happy to provide you with free no, obligation 1 – 2 hours of business advice to elaborate further on how they can help you.
However, you might find some generous business mentors happy to give you unlimited free advice. And if you can find them, it’s a good idea not to come out all guns blazing by constantly asking a series of questions to pick their brain. The important thing here is to build the bond first, which takes time, and remember, if you want them to give you their time, you need patience which will be at their convenience.
Our word of advice – always reciprocates value in return. Do not just pick their brain with your series of questions; it is a complete turn-off. And not for long; they will start avoiding you.
The point here is that there is no continuous free lunch. There is something that they want from you if you want continuous free business advice. Something of value must exchange in return.
Business Ignite focuses on business & marketing success; click here to follow/ join free.
4. Join a Business Hub
Business hubs are places where business professionals and individuals with similar interests gather to network and exchange ideas. To tap into these valuable resources, start by identifying your area of interest and attending relevant events.
Consider checking out the bustling centers of business activity in your local area, as well as popular business networking organisations such as Business Network International (BNI) and co-working spaces. By attending these gatherings, you’re likely to encounter like-minded individuals who share your passion and drive for business success, and from whom you can seek advice and guidance free of charge.
One of the main benefits of attending these business hubs is the opportunity to meet and connect with experienced business mentors and coaches who are willing to share their knowledge and expertise on a variety of topics, such as business growth, marketing strategies, and branding.
It’s worth noting that while these mentors and coaches may offer their services for a fee, they are often more than willing to provide valuable advice and guidance for free. These hubs are therefore a valuable resource for anyone looking to receive advice and guidance on their business journey, particularly for those operating on a tight budget.
5. Multi-level Marketing (MLM) Groups
Another interesting option, if you want free business advice, is to consider joining an MLM group – temporarily.
I know what you’re thinking – MLMs have a bad reputation, but hear me out.
Believe it or not, by joining an MLM, you can actually get a lot of free business advice, coaching, mentorship, and get pumped by their motivational talks. When I was in my early 20s, I decided to give it a shot and joined an MLM group. And I have to say; I was pleasantly surprised by what others got out of it.
I attended weekly training events, and quarterly three-day seminars and listened to CDs from some of the top speakers in the business world. And get this – I even received free weekly accountability sessions from the head coach! Constantly calling me asking, “how many phone calls have you made last week? How many friends did you bring to our wealth creation seminar last Tuesday? Have you talked to your boss about our premium products? How many work colleagues have you talked to? How many people have you brought into our pipeline?
Despite the stigma around the MLM business model, they provide good business education and training to aspiring business owners and entrepreneurs. It was so good I sent my tardiest ex-employees to these MLM groups to straighten them up. You can learn a lot of essential business skills that will serve you well into the future, and even if you eventually decide to quit and start your own traditional business, the skills you developed are yours to keep.
Overall, MLM groups can be your best place to start if you have zero knowledge and experience in business, marketing, and networking skills. Most people learnt these core skills, quit MLM, and launch businesses. The only fee to pay is to buy their products at a highly marked-up price and be held accountable for not pulling your weight, plus the air tickets to their 3-day weekend seminars and transport costs to attend their weekly wealth creation seminars.
Now, if you find the above recommendations extremely time-consuming, arduously painful, and poorly used, I suggest you engage a PAID business advisor, coach, or mentor.
Alternatively, if you are seeking advanced training, join our business workshop or mastermind group to build your business skills, make valuable connections, and develop innovative strategies for growth.