Starting a Business

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					Starting a business

Setting up and running your own business can be great fun. To be your own boss pursuing your
dream and doing something that you really enjoy or have a special talent for will be tremendously
rewarding. Not only will you be earning an independent living but you will be admired by friends
and family as well as contributing to the local economy and your community in a positive way. If
you go on to employ people you will be helping others too.

The best thing about starting a business is that you will be able to use your enterprise skills to
tackle challenges head on; you will have opportunities to be creative on a daily basis as you seek
answers to questions posed by your customers. Most of all your business will say so much about
who you are as a person and what you stand for. Your business will make a personal statement
about you and your values. Could anything be more creative and rewarding than that?

Of course there are different types of business; from self-employment to companies limited by
shares or by guarantee to not for profit, co-operatives and social enterprises. Each has its own
legal structure, requirements and responsibilities. Whichever type of business opportunity you
pursue you will choose it because it is the right one for you and the service you want to provide.
At their root, all businesses set out to meet a particular need (be it market or social) and to be
successful. Setting up and sustaining a successful business can offer great rewards, however,
the first step can sometimes be the most difficult.

For many people the issue of the recession looms large at the moment and might be considered
a barrier to starting a business. This does not have to be the case though. Many people set up a
business during a recession and if you survive you will more than likely continue to be successful
once the economy picks up again.

Starting out in business might appear to be a daunting task. The good news is there are lots of
agencies and websites to help you and some even offer access to funds and practical support.

This is Unleashing Enterprise’s short introduction to starting a business and who you can turn to
for help.

Starting a business – some basics

Every great business has started with a simple idea. Most people who want to start a business
will have an idea about what they want to do; but not always. Very often the initial business idea
changes as it is developed. Market research (i.e. assessing who else is doing what you are
proposing to do and considering how you will sell your product or service) helps you to format
your idea and develop into something more focused.

Once your idea is coming to fruition, you will need to develop a business plan. Developing a plan
need not be too alarming. Basically, your plan will describe what you want to do and how you will
set about doing it. It will also describe your projections around cash flow and profit and loss.
Having a credible business plan will enable you to make a strong case for financial support,
whether that is from a bank, a charitable trust (such as The Prince’s Trust) or even friends and

family. Obtaining financial assistance will be your next step. Most new business starts require
some sort of cash injection to get them started.

Depending on where you live, how old you are what your employment status is, you may be able
to obtain a grant to help you set up. You will also be able to apply to a bank for a loan and some
people will be fortunate enough to obtain financial support from family and friends. Any finance
obtained will help you to pay for equipment or the production of marketing materials, including
having a web presence, or to meet your early overheads.

You will also need to explore the requirements concerning taxation (Income Tax and VAT) and
insurance. Finally, you will probably know where you are to going to work from – this may well be
one of the first decisions you make. But you might not. There are a growing number of people
choosing to work from home and many more who start up on so-called “business incubators”,
managed units that provide basic services such as IT, telephony, reception services and so forth.
Choosing where you work could be crucial to the long term success of the business.

Learn from others who have started a business

It is always helpful to listen to what others have to say about their experiences of setting up a
business before you decide on your own route to start up. You might know friends or family who
have set up in business or you might want to speak with an established business person in your
area. Your local chamber of commerce would be happy to recommend someone to you to speak
with. Visit here.

East Midlands Business Champions is a regional scheme with more than 400 members. Why not
contact Business Champions to speak with one of their members?

The Prince’s Trust has a scheme called Young Ambassadors. These are young people that have
participated in Trust programmes including business and will be pleased to speak to you about
their experiences.

Most towns and cities in the East Midlands have business start up units called Business
Incubators. An incubator provides office or workspace for people that have just set up their own
businesses. You might want to drop into your local Business Incubator to speak with some
tenants about their experiences. The East Midlands Incubation Network (EMIN) is a membership
body that supports incubators. To see a list of Business Incubators in the East Midlands visit

You might also want to listen to the experiences of a young person that recently set up her own
business (link to A Star Media on Streak Speak).

Where to go for help

Government agencies:

Business Link provides access to all the information, advice and support to help you make the
most of every opportunity to start, maintain and grow your business.

Research proves that companies who access external advice when starting up survive in greater
numbers and report more growth in their first few years of trading.**

Accessing support through the regional Business Link Start-up Service can increase your
chances of business success. The service has been designed specifically to provide FREE
access to the following:

   Professional business support arranged to fit around your needs
   Mentoring support sessions during the early stages of trading
   Online start up diagnostics and planning tools

Business Link offer a range of workshops designed to help you cover all the basics of start-up.
These workshops are provided by local agencies in the region in each of the six counties.
Workshops include:

Deciding to Start
Business Planning
Financial Planning
ICT for your Business
Managing Money
Sales and Marketing

Once training is completed, people will have access to their own business adviser who can guide them
through making the leap into self-employment and will be on hand to advise them through their first
year in business. The Business Link Start-Up Service can also offer ongoing one to one business.

** (Source Barclays Bank/National Federation of Enterprise Agencies Tracker findings)

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs

HMRC have a helpful guide to the tax implications of starting a business or registering as self-

Enterprise Agencies

There are a number of enterprise agencies in the East Midlands that can give you some initial
advice about setting up in business. These include:

Nottingham Business Venture

Skills for Enterprise

Derbyshire Enterprise Agency (managed by Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chambers of

Welland Enterprise

Northampton University Business School

First Enterprise are especially worth visiting as they might be able to help you with finance. They
manage EnterpriseLoans East Midlands.

Charitable Organisations:

                    The Prince’s Trust is well known for helping young people to set up in
                    business. With more than 25 years experience of business support behind it,
                    The Trust has a reputation second to none.

                    The Business Programme is for people who:

                       Have a business idea they want help to explore

   Are aged 18-30
   Are unemployed or working less than 16 hours a week
   Live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland

The Trust’s programme offers:

   Advice on employment options
   Business skills training
   Business planning support
   Start-up funding
   Ongoing support from a mentor
   Access to a wide range of free and discounted products and services. This includes a free
    legal helpline, sponsored by Barclays

To find out more about The Prince’s Trust business programme visit here.

If you would like to speak to someone at The Prince’s Trust call the East Midlands office on 0116
2550400 or freephone on 020 75431200.

The Sir Thomas White Charity

The Sir Thomas White Charity helps young people aged over 18 and under 35 who are wishing to
set up in business in Leicestershire and Rutland. It can offer interest free loans for a period of 9

Help for Women

There are a number of specific agencies and web resources that particularly assist women who
want to set up in business including:

Everywoman is the UK’s leading provider of training, resources and support services for women
in business. It works to increase the number of women in the UK economy and raise their status.
We use our experience and expertise to help women achieve their aspirations and realise their
business ambitions. The website is packed with useful resources and tips and you can join the
Everywoman network.

Two more useful sites with a wide range of hints, tips and showcases of women entrepreneurs


Women in Rural Enterprise (WIRE) specifically help women in rural areas set up in business.

Skills for Enterprise run a specific programme for women thinking about setting up in business.
Visit here for more information.

LeicestHERday Trust is an organisation formed to give an equal voice to all women and enhance
the community at large by enhancing women's life experiences.

Help for Young People who are Disabled

Leonard Cheshire has developed an initiative called Ready to Start aimed at encouraging and
providing support for disabled people to start their own business. For more information visit here.

The Connexions service has some helpful information about business start up for young people
who are disabled.

Social Enterprise

A social enterprise is a business with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are principally
reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the
need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners. Social Enterprises are becoming an
increasingly important part of the business scene. Many are very small and located in
communities with the aim of investing any surplus obtained in that community. Two excellent
examples of social enterprises in the East Midlands are:

Hill Holt Wood


Business Link has produced an excellent introduction to social enterprise:

There are a range of support agencies in the region that could tell you more about social
enterprise and provide help should you wish to set up a social enterprise including:

SEEM is the region wide development agency for social enterprise.

Peak Directions is a useful website with a wealth of information about social enterprise and
enterprise generally in the Peak District.

Northamptonshire Co-operative Development Agency helps with social enterprise and co-
operative development.

Case-da (co-operative and social enterprise development agency) is based in Leicester and
offers support to all those who want to set up a co-operative or a social enterprise business start

Lincolnshire Enterprise offers a range of support across all business types including social

On-line training

Learn Direct offer a number of on-line training courses that can help with different aspects of
starting a business. To see if one of the courses can help you visit:

Business resources

There are many websites that provide information and resources about starting a business. A
selection of those that could be useful to you are:

Established by Emma Jones, Enterprise Nation is an organisation and website dedicated to
helping people who want to set up businesses at home.

A website designed specifically for young people. There are quizzes, information to read and
download, business simulation games, links to useful websites and competitions with great

Advice and help from Connexions aimed at young people wanting to set up a business.

The Shell LiveWIRE organisation runs a longstanding business competition and its website
provides a range of helpful resources including a discussion form, the Shell LiveWIRE Social
Network, “how to” videos and a comprehensive business library.

This is a useful site that focuses on starting business start ups in a range of different niche areas
such from bricklaying to digital media.

A useful site with a range of resources about business start up.

Another helpful site with some interesting features about individual entrepreneurs.

This site includes a number of business plans for different types of business.

If you want to learn about Intellectual Property matters, visit:

This an American site with lots of useful guides.

Business communities:

Joining a business network or community can be a helpful way to obtain advice and guidance.
Here are two examples of networks that are growing quickly:


Checkout our guide to helpful books here.

This one comes especially recommended:

“Young Guns: The Fearless Entrepreneurs Guide to Chasing Your Dreams and Breaking Out on
Your Own” by Robert Tuchman


Many leading entrepreneurs have dedicated websites, some of the following might be worth a