Useful links, and other organisations

05 October 2016

Digital communications are changing fast, and keeping up with developments can be a challenge for small businesses. There is no 'one size fits all' solution.  Different businesses may benefit from different technologies so you will need to assess your own needs and the solutions most appropriate to meet them.

To help you do this, a variety of organisations offer support and advice, many of which provide services and impartial advice free of charge. Some of these are listed below, but there are others online and offline too.

Don't forget that the Ofcom website has a number of resources for businesses (and contains information in its pages for residential customers that may be relevant for small businesses).

Webwise is the BBC’s beginners guide to using computers, the internet and social media. It includes a step-by-step guide for those not familiar with the internet and offers online courses.
Doteveryone (formerly Go ON UK) is a website encouraging and helping small companies to get online and become more familiar with how to do business digitally.
Cyber Aware helps to get businesses that are less familiar with digital security up to speed.

Both the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Gov.uk for business sites cover many different aspects of owning, operating and managing a business.
Get safe online contains a wealth of information on how to conduct digital business safely
Business Debtline offers free help and advice to businesses who are struggling with debt issues and other problems.

GreatBusiness.gov is the Government website that holds information for businesses seeking support from government, and contains ideas about how to maintain, run, and grow a successful business.
Federation of Small Businesses is a UK body promoting the interests of small businesses. Formed in 1974, it now has 200,000 members across 33 regions and 194 branches.
British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) represents the interests of over 100,000 businesses through a network of over 50 accredited chambers across the UK.

The Federation of Communication Services (FCS) is a not-for-profit trade association representing providers who offer communications products to consumers.
The Communications Management Association (CMA) is a membership organisation for businesses delivering services online.
promotes the interests of businesses through campaigning and lobbying, and provides advice to its members.
considers issues relevant to small businesses, in particular for vulnerable groups and those with disabilities.
Institute of Directors represents directors from all sizes of business, and provides guidance and tailored information to members.
Citizens Advice Bureau provides guidance and advice on a range of issues, including phones, internet, TV and computers.
The Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA) regulates premium rate (or phone-paid) services in the UK, under a Code approved by Ofcom.

Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the Business Gateway provide information for start-up and existing businesses in Scotland.
Business Wales and Business in Focus provide advice, training, information and support for businesses in Wales.
Invest NI, part of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI), and NI Business Info provide information on setting up and running a business in Northern Ireland.

Ofcom’s latest customer satisfaction survey provides information on the major (residential) providers.
Our quarterly telecoms complaints report provides information on the levels of complaints by residential consumers made to Ofcom against the largest providers across the industry.
The guide, maximising your mobile phone coverage, gives advice on mobile signal strength and how to improve it.
We also publish practical tips on how to improve your broadband speed.
Our Ofcom-accredited price comparison sites can be used to help compare business tariffs and deals.
If you have experienced slamming or a problem changing provider, read our complaints guidance.
The Ofcom Guidance on GC9.6 provides information on what is considered 'material detriment' in relation to price rises for residential and small business customers.
The checklist for a new phone or broadband contract explains the different types of contract and covers core subscription price changes, and the key things you should consider at the point of sale.
Our website has information on automatically renewable contracts.
To find out how to complain to Ofcom, follow our consumer complaints pages.
The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme page and the ADR checker explains how to make use of this scheme, and which resolution scheme your provider is registered with.
The Guidance on the General Conditions page helps to explain the conditions more clearly.
Our page on disabled people and communications services describes Ofcom's research in the use of communication by disabled people, and details the obligations providers must meet.
The page on postal services explains Ofcom’s role in relation to post, and provides information on how to contact Royal Mail and other postal providers.  Related information includes guidance on disputing postal complaints via PostRS, the universal postal services of Royal Mail, and the compensation arrangements for loss of postal services.