Small businesses can obtain valuable advice from their sales leads and customers, a new study has revealed.

According to a report produced by the Small Business Research Centre at Kingston University on behalf of Royal Mail, over half (56 per cent) of small firms that solicit advice from their customers rate the feedback as having an indispensable impact on their organisation.

The report found that companies in the UK can accelerate their growth potential by nearly four times by making better use of informal networks, support services and customer data.

Professor Paul Robson, of the Small Business Research Centre at Kingston University, said the report shows the major limitations placed on small and medium-sized enterprises that do not take advantage of the advice available to them.

Stephen Donovan of Jelly Communications added: “A tendency for businesses to work in isolation from their customers and suppliers can be a major constraint; they need to ensure [they] start investigating how they can get their fair share of help.”

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