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Assessing the changing role, attitudes and knowledge of UK business advisors to the benefits of benchmarking and benchmarking tools

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Purpose ‐ This paper aims to examine the changing attitudes to diagnostic benchmarking tools of UK business advisors over the last five years, during a period of considerable restructuring in business support, aimed at focusing support on small business and start-ups. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The authors reviewed business support from the advisor's and client's perspective prior and during this restructuring and conducted a follow up study to that carried out in 2000, allowing direct comparisons to be made with the earlier results. Quantitative advisor demographic data was also collected for comparison. Findings ‐ The authors conclude that though business link has been restructured towards start-ups and small businesses and that advisors knowledge of the benchmarking has improved, the tools available to advisors have not changed to reflect this and cannot be used by the majority of the advisors' clients. As a result the use of diagnostic benchmarking tools, as a proportion of total business support, has dropped over the previous five years. Originality/value ‐ In order to give some structured best practice support to immature businesses and pre-start-ups new business support tools need to be developed that recognise the change in client maturity that has taken place.

Keywords: Benchmarking; Business policy; Small enterprises

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 4, 2007


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