Federation of Small Businesses
What does it provide: this is the largest campaigning pressure group promoting and protecting the interests of small firms. It has more than 200,000 members. The FSB lobbies on behalf of its members and operates a 24-hour legal helpline. It has also helped members in financial difficulties with interest-free loans, such as during the foot and mouth outbreak.
Tel: 01253 336000.
What does it provide: this is a partnership between the UK’s environmental regulators and provides free environmental guidance for small and medium-sized businesses. NetReg’s website provides comprehensive guidelines on how to comply with environmental legislation. It can advise businesses on how to set up an environmental policy and identify practical things they can do to prevent accidental pollution.
Tel: 08708 506506
What does it provide: it delivers a government-funded programme of free, confidential advice to help UK businesses reduce environmental damage and increase profitability. Independent, practical guidance is available through a free helpline and on-site visits delivered by a nationwide team of experts. Its website provides other resources such as case studies and best practice guides.
Tel: 0800 585794
Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service
What does it provide: ACAS aims to help improve employment relations. It provides businesses of all sizes with independent advice and training. It works with employers and employees to solve problems and improve performance.
ACAS is publicly funded ensuring it is independent, impartial and confidential.
Tel: 08457 474747
Confederation of British Industry
What does it provide: this organisation represents 200,000 businesses of all sizes in the UK. The CBI lobbies on behalf of its members to make sure their voices are heard when the government is forming policies. It also offers business services including a book shop, business surveys, best practice tools, events and conferences. It also provides up to 10 free business guides each year.
Membership of the CBI is corporate – companies are members, not individuals.
Tel: 020 7379 7400
What does it provide: Business Link is a government-funded initiative that provides information, advice and support to help businesses start up, maintain and expand. It provides information and advice and guides businesses to find other expert help they might need.
Business Link is available locally and is quality-assured to clear national standards.
Tel: 0845 600 9006
Web: to find your nearest Business Link operator, search by postcode at businesslink.gov.uk.