An initiative that will help boost the business capabilities of London’s smallest firms via their local high street bank, has been launched.
TSB has joined forces with small business support network Enterprise Nation to introduce regular drop-in advice clinics in 25 of its branches to deliver face-to-face advice and support to its business customers with its own ‘Digital Advisers’.
The clinics will appear in TSB’s Clapham, Harrow and Stamford Hill branches.
The launch follows official research that found 71% of small businesses are aiming to grow over the next three years – a sharp increase on 2017 when only 62% said they intended to build the business further.
As part of the initiative, TSB’s existing business banking customers will receive a year’s free membership of Enterprise Nation and a “digital MOT” to determine what advice and support they need to boost their productivity.
To kick start their digital transformation, these small businesses will receive a digital voucher bundle worth up to £500 which can be used, for example, to fund advertising search credits or help build a website. Big brands backing the programme to support the small business cause include Google, GoDaddy, Experian and Xero. TSB customers will be able to use their digital voucher offers with these partners and many more
The programme follows on from the success of a pilot scheme last year, which tested the viability of the scheme and found there was a big demand for face-to-face help and advice.
Catherine Douglas, SME Banking Director at TSB said: “Digital capabilities are becoming increasingly crucial for small businesses and there are a lot of compelling reasons why firms must find the time to embrace the digital world once and for all.
“With more fundamental services like tax moving to digital submission, and an increasing portion of sales driven from online sources, acquiring digital skills is no longer a choice, but a necessity. Small business owners’ needs are changing, and they need a banking partner that goes beyond banking with fresh thinking that will help them start, run and grow their business.”
Emma Jones, founder Enterprise Nation said: “We need to make more use of our high streets and give people more reason to visit. That combined with the fact that small local firms can benefit dramatically from hands-on support and advice means that this initiative ticks some very important boxes.
“This is exactly the kind of thing we need to see our banks doing – i.e. recognising there is much more to be done to support businesses, and that their own local branches are the perfect venue from which to deliver important help.”
Emma Jones added: “Evidence points to the fact that small firms that take on board professional advice do better than those that don’t. For a lot of local businesses, the issue is identifying good advice, and building relationships.
“If we can offer a service small firms will use on their door step, this could make a big difference to a company’s bottom line, while giving a welcome shot in the arm to local business communities.”
Advisers in each branch will be able to provide advice on marketing, digital and growth strategy.
Appointments will be available every second Tuesday of the month and can be arranged in one of the 25 branches branch.
Other UK Branches include Dumfries, Northampton, Perth, Cardiff, Plymouth and Cheltenham.