Business adviser

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David Smith is business technology and infrastructure manager for a development agency based in Leeds. He is responsible for IT and digital business development for a cluster of small and medium sized companies.

What does your job as a business adviser involve?

I use the agency's budget for electronic and digital business development to invest in the group of companies I am working with. These include software companies, TV/film production companies and others in the printing and electronics industry. I work with groups of these companies in business networks. Through the networks, I discuss their business and future plans to see how they can make better use of current technology and what training their staff need to do this. I also have to find out about new products coming on the market. This means I can give up-to-date advice to my companies and contracts, helping them to develop their businesses and keep a step ahead of competitors.

Are you mainly office-based?

About half of my time is spent in the office, as I manage a team of 20 people, I do a lot of research and contact work through the internet too.

The rest of my time in involved in meetings and visiting the companies I'm working with. I sometimes represent the networks of companies at trade shows, which gives them the chance to promote themselves to potential buyers. Grouping companies together like this for promotional and sales opportunities shares the cost and means they may be able to promote further afield, either in this country of overseas.

What particular skills and qualities are needed to become a business adviser?

You need a good knowledge of how small and medium sized businesses work, to be able to listen, understand their particular needs and problems and offer advice. A flexible approach is also important when you're dealing with so many different types of people and businesses all the time.

What challenges do you face at work?

The regional development agencies are funded by public money, so everyone working there has to be very careful about its use and make sure every activity is thoroughly documented. This means I am regularly writing reports.

What do you like best about the job as a business adviser?

It's really worthwhile and satisfying. It is great to see some of the businesses you've worked with expanding, taking on new deals and employing new staff. Generating jobs and income for the region is one the main parts of Yorkshire Forward's job.

Because we are funded by public money, it's expected that every project is thoroughly thought out and discussed before we start work on it. I like the fact I can spend a good amount of time on the work I'm planning and with my group of companies.

Do you have any plans for the future?

I am very enthusiastic about the job I'm doing now. There are good opportunities here to go on training courses to add to my skills and abilities. I've recently undertaken some management development training.

I might like to go back into working for one company in the future, but I'm in no hurry!

David's route to his job as a business adviser

  • HND in Business and Finance
  • Management trainee
  • Worked for a supplier of fabrics and bedding
  • Worked for a technology company
  • Present job

David's business adviser tips

  • Get as much experience as you can with different types of businesses and learn how they work.
  • Read the business pages of your newspaper to keep up-to-date with current issues.
  • Visit the websites of regional development agencies to find out about them and what sort of work they do.

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Salary of a business adviser

  • Salaries vary considerably, depending on the type of employer, their business and geographical location in the UK.
  • A new business development manger usually earns around £20,000 to £25,000.
  • With experience, this can rise to anything between £25,000 and £50,000.
  • A business development manager in a larger or international company may earn up to £70,000 or more.

Becoming a business adviser

  • Good business knowledge and experience is considered as important as qualifications by some companies and organisations.
  • Other companies prefer applicants to have a degree or higher national diploma (HND).
  • Useful subjects include business studies and marketing.
  • Experience of working in marketing and sales can also be an advantage.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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