IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Small Business Service: Business Support, Use, Fees And Satisfaction: Econometric Estimates


  • Robert Bennett
  • Paul Robson


This paper seeks to assess advice and information support for firms provided by the Small Business Service (SBS) Business Link. It uses a new survey of client use, satisfaction and experience of service fees. The general level of satisfaction with, and use of, the service is high: 28% of all respondents use the services and 82.6% are satisfied or very satisfied. However, levels of use and satisfaction vary considerably between areas, with 13 Business Link local hubs accounting for 40% of the dissatisfied or very dissatisfied respondents. In addition, there is strong variation in satisfaction between services, with grants, diagnostic assessment, financial and accounting advice having low ratings. Charging a fee has been claimed by the SBS to improve the client's sense of value of the services received. Fees are currently charged for services in 37.3% of cases. However, there is little positive association of fee charging with satisfaction, whilst for four services charging a fee decreases satisfaction. It is concluded that the SBS has many strengths to build upon, but will need to introduce a step change in performance in some areas and some services, and should reconsider its commitment to using fees as a means of creating a sense of value among its clients.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Bennett & Paul Robson, 2000. "The Small Business Service: Business Support, Use, Fees And Satisfaction: Econometric Estimates," Working Papers wp181, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cbr:cbrwps:wp181
    Note: PRO-1

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. P. J. A. Robson & R. J. Bennett, 2000. "The use and impact of business advice by SMEs in Britain: an empirical assessment using logit and ordered logit models," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(13), pages 1675-1688.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Lecluyse, Laura & Knockaert, Mirjam, 2020. "Disentangling satisfaction of tenants on science parks: A multiple case study in Belgium," Technovation, Elsevier, vol. 98(C).
    2. Robert Bennett & Paul Robson, 2003. "Changing Use of External Business Advice and Government Supports by SMEs in the 1990s," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(8), pages 795-811.
    3. Jaka Vadnjal, 2011. "Know-How Transfer of Public Support Programs for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises from Slovenia to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia," South-Eastern Europe Journal of Economics, Association of Economic Universities of South and Eastern Europe and the Black Sea Region, vol. 9(2), pages 207-227.

    More about this item


    business advice; client satisfaction; Small Business Service; Business Link;

    JEL classification:

    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups
    • L80 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - General
    • L50 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cbr:cbrwps:wp181. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Ruth Newman and Georgie Cohen). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.