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

  • Robert Bennett
  • Paul Robson
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    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.

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    Paper provided by ESRC Centre for Business Research in its series ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers with number wp181.

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    Date of creation: Sep 2000
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    Handle: RePEc:cbr:cbrwps:wp181
    Note: PRO-1
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.cbr.cam.ac.uk/

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    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.
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