All aboard the business bus

LOCAL small business owners will have the opportunity to connect with some of the best business advisory contacts in the region when the Small Biz Bus rolls into Crawford Street on Tuesday morning.

The Small Biz Bus is a mobile mentoring and information service for small businesses that's funded by the NSW Government and sponsored by Telstra and NAB. 

The bus travels across the state, connecting small business owners with mentors, experts and services in their local community at little or no cost to them.Eleanor Raftery of the Office of the NSW Small Business Commissioner said that Queanbeyan business owners will be able to receive advice specifically tailored to their business.

"We wanted to sidestep the fact that people in rural and regional New South Wales are always told to go and check the website, but invariably their internet connection is not what it needs to be, and they're told to stare at a screen and find the information there," Ms Raftery said.

"We decided we wanted it to be face-to-face, high quality support, so you actually get to sit down with a real person and talk about your business. So it's very personal and grass roots.

"We look at what's in each particular area and tie people in with that. When you leave the bus, you leave with an action plan that's emailed to you and with a better idea of what's available in their area," she said.

Some of the issues Small Biz Bus mentors can assist with include developing effective pricing strategies, the downturn in trade and ideas to lift business, operating in a highly competitive environment and how to find a point of difference, and the importance of online trading and an online presence for small business.

"What we find is that people need to go back to basics a lot of time," Ms Raftery said.

"So it helps people get a fresh perspective and go back to basics, so that when they are making changes they're not trying to reinvent the wheel or add something that's actually going to be a waste of money for them. It's making sure that they're getting the best value for their business," she said.

* The Small Biz Bus will be parked outside the Queanbeyan City Council building at 257 Crawford Street on Tuesday from 9am to 5pm.Local business owners are encouraged to attend and make use of the information and experience on offer. For more information, call 1300 795 534 or visit www.smallbusiness.nsw.gov.au

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