Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
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Businesses Benefiting From Early Diagnostic “Health Checks”

Businesses Benefiting From Early Diagnostic “Health Checks”

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 27 November 2009

More than 95,000 businesses have benefited from a Business Link “Health Check”, helping them to limit the impact of the economic downturn, Business Minister Lord Davies announced today.

A year on from its launch, an average of 1,834 businesses a week have used the free business support service to help identify any potential problems early on, helping them shore up business plans amidst the difficult economic conditions.

Minister for Trade, Investment and Small Business, Lord Davies said:

“Health Checks are an important way for smaller companies with fewer staff and limited resources to access financial support and expert advice to steer them through tough economic times and help inspire confidence.

“But as well as identifying potential challenges posed by the economic downturn, this service can help identify potential opportunities for businesses.

“I encourage more firms to get in touch with Business Link to see if they could benefit from advice on areas such as accessing new markets and preparing for growth.”

The Health Check service is open to all businesses, regardless of size and sector. Following an initial review, qualified experts can help draw-up business plans, while Business Link also provides a follow-on and monitoring service to ensure the plan is working.

Talking about the support her business received, Rishma Remtulla Sales and Products Manager of Laila’s Fine Foods in the North West said:

“The Business Link Health Check gives an excellent overview and helps you to see where you might need to make changes.

“We have worked with Business Link for 15 years, and it is a good sounding board for a family business. It’s great to have an outside opinion – even if our adviser doesn’t know the answer, she will find out and get back to us. We feel we can always pick up the phone and Business Link is there.”

Garage Tek, based in Marlow, were also given a Business Link Health Check. Managing Director, Alistair Broom, said:

“The slow down inspired us to prepare for possible future dips and so we contacted Business Link for ideas and support. Our Business Link Adviser suggested we carried out a Health Check.

“As a result, we started to think about diversifying our products and services to suit other potential markets. We identified a fantastic marketing consultant through the Business Link Supplier Matching Service and are currently developing a new brand that will target smaller garage and homeowners who may want a storage solution in their utility room, basement, cellar or perhaps their garden shed.”

David Parkin, Business Link National Network Director said:

“Businesses across the country have benefited from the Business Link Health Check as it gives them the opportunity to review their performance and to look for early signs of issues that may affect their profitability.

“It has been very successful because it offers an impartial, objective assessment of business performance that identifies key strengths, prioritises areas for improvement and highlights opportunities. Businesses, regardless of size or sector, have found value in the Health Check as it enables them to pause and take stock of their current situation.”

An early assessment report into the success of the service was published today. Key findings included in the report show that Health Checks are improving the abilities of businesses to cope with the economic downturn and put in place strategies that will help them achieve growth as the economy recovers. Around two-thirds of businesses helped had a better understanding of areas for development and identified new ideas for improving their business Customer satisfaction was high, at 79%, which increased to 93% for those companies that took up further assistance as a result of their Health Check.

Notes to Editors

1. Since 23 October 2008, 95,343 unique businesses have benefited from the Business Link ‘Health Check’ with an average of 1,834 per week since the service began.

2. The full Business Link Health Check Assessment report can be found at http://www.berr.gov.uk/whatwedo/enterprise/au/research-evaluation/globally-compe titive/page38372.html

3. Business Link is the information, advice and support service for all businesses, funded by the Government. It provides the information, advice and support needed to start maintain and to grow a business.

Business Link can be accessed online at businesslink.gov.uk or by calling the National Help Line on 0845 600 9 006.

4. Bispham-based family business Laila’s Fine Foods specialises in supplying authentic, ready-prepared meals to the foodservice and retail markets. (www.lailasfinefoods.co.uk)

5. Marlow based Garage Tek, provides tailored garage organisation and storage systems to suit an individuals home and family lifestyle. (www.garagetek.co.uk)

Department for Business, Innovation & Skills

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this it will foster world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS - Investing in our future.

Contacts:

BIS Press Office
NDS.BIS@coi.gsi.gov.uk