Profiessional advisers were the most widely used, both during the start up stage and later in the company's development. They were also ranked among the most useful, slightly behind family members, other entrepreneurs and mentos.
According to a Business Support item in the Financial Times , events like OpenCoffee offered places to chat with anybody but bankers. Rebecca Harding, the Business Link survey author, explained the value of those casual meet-ups. "People tend to use different types of advice as the business grows. They go to networking events to be part of a business community and see if things are the same for everybody else."
And the Business Link report underscores another important fact. Experienced entrepreneurs are often a good source of advice because they do not expect anything in return. In my experience with OpenCoffee Ireland, the business founders with the experience don't mingle to sell, they come to meet interesting people. You can connect to more than 1000 members of OpenCoffee Ireland on LinkedIn. Just don't expect to find a banker there. Many cannot use the internet during the business day from their desktops.
1. Jonathan Moules -- "Families trump bankers as best advisers" in FT Weekend, 21 Fev 10.
2. OpenCoffee Ireland is free.