Starting and running a business can be a lonely and overwhelming task and it is easy to lose sight of what is important in order to set off on the right footing.

Business and enterprise support provides an external and independent perspective in order to bring out the full potential of both the individual and the business helping to promote sustainability and growth.

It often targets a specific business challenge, problem and/or opportunity and can be provided in many different forms.

Below is a handy guide to what can be expected from the different forms of business and enterprise support available through the SFEDI Directory.


A business adviser provides informed opinions of what a business should do or how they should behave in business situations.

The advice they provide may lead to the development of an action plan in order to achieve clearly defined objectives and often provides detailed feedback on documentation such as business plans and financial planning documents to ensure that the business is underpinned by solid strategic thinking.

A business coach works with individuals within a business to pinpoint and improve specific areas of their performance, for the overall good of the company.

For example, a business coach may help an individual become a better decision maker, arm them with new confidence or coach them to be more assertive in client meetings. Business coaching can, for example, make them a better communicator and give them a professional edge and, ultimately, these advantages will propel their business further.

A business consultant will focus on the development of a business’s practices, processes and structures, generally looking at the business from a strategic level.

A business consultant will often be a specialist in a particular field, for example finance, law, marketing or human resources. By sharing their knowledge they help equip businesses with a better understanding for the future.

A business mentor is someone who has been there, done it and has the T-shirt. They were once in the same shoes as the business and, as such, can provide invaluable practical insight.

The mentoring process is often discussion based with the mentor sharing past experiences and encouraging the mentee to reflect on their ways of working and business objectives.

Ultimately, mentees are encouraged to unearth their own business solutions under the tutelage of their mentor.

A business trainer/educator will provide a pre-defined and subject specific knowledge and skills development solution. Business trainers may work on behalf of Further Education colleges, universities or private training providers.

Training may be delivered to individuals or groups face-to-face on a business’s premises, on-site at the training provider’s base, or online as distance learning.