Helping fledgling businesses to fly

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Helping fledgling
businesses to fly
Business Link Enterprise Awareness Champion Fiona Lascelles comes face to
face every day with the fall-out from company job cuts. But she brings a
positive message to her workshops, which offer practical advice to those
considering setting up their own business, and firmly believes redundancy
can offer the opportunity of a lifetime to do what you always wanted to do.
Sarah Chambers takes some lessons in enterprise                                                                                   Fiona Lascelles.

        EDUNDANCY has been in        practical knowledge of            looking towards redundancy          is to see them use their

R       the headlines a lot
        recently, as struggling
companies slash their
                                     managing a business – she
                                     has a music business she runs
                                     in partnership with her
                                                                       to address their particular
                                                                       problems and what we’ll do is
                                                                       go in in partnership for
                                                                                                           redundancy to invest in
                                                                                                           something that is not
                                                                                                           successful. The main thing I
workforces and brace                 husband – her message is          example with JobCentre Plus         do is I run workshops. The
themselves for the fallout from      upbeat without being              and run workshops or provide        workshops I run will be
the recession.                       patronising.                      information for people              tailored to the needs of the
  But business expert Fiona            Even those facing up to the     considering setting up in           people who are in it,” she says.
Lascelles believes that while it     realities of unemployment         business,” she explains.              She talks to employees,
is a painful experience, for         after many years in the job         Some individuals will want        students, the unemployed and
those bold enough to go it alone,    soon warm to her message          to set up what she describes as     other diverse groups and tries
it can offer a new beginning.        that going into business for      “lifestyle” businesses as sole      to show them how they can
  “Redundancy is an awful thing      yourself is not as terrifyingly   traders, very much geared           adapt their ideas and turn
to happen to anyone. It really is.   complicated as it sounds.         around their own talents,           them into viable businesses.
But for some people it’s an            “I see an average of 30 to 50   while others will go down the         Her message is: “If you are
opportunity to say it’s where I      people a week and I guess not     route of creating a limited         where you are, take advantage
am so now’s the opportunity to       a week goes by when I don’t       company, which at a later date      of the opportunity”.
do what I have always wanted to      have a new business idea that     could go on without them.             “It really is saying to people
do in my life,” she says.            I haven’t come across before.       But before taking the plunge,     that it can be an opportunity
  “This is the time to do what       And yes, you do inevitably get    it’s important to ensure that       and I absolutely recognise that
you really want to do with your      areas of business that people     people know what they are           self-employment or setting up
life. We are very, very positive     are more interested in than       doing, what it will cost, that      your own business is not for
about stuff in a realistic kind of   others,” she says.                they have done their market         everybody,” she says.
way  .”                                Fiona has been helping new      research to ensure there is           To find out if stating a
  Fiona sees up to about 50          businesses and pre-starts get     demand out there for what           business if for you seek
people a week as she travels         up and running since the          they plan to sell, and that all     information and advice from
Suffolk and south Norfolk            inception of the regionalised     contingencies, including            Business Link on 08457 171615,
getting the enterprise message       Business Link network.            falling ill, are included in the    or visit
across.                                “Business Link itself works     business plan.            
  Armed with Business Link’s         very closely with the               “It’s making sure they get it     or to book a workshop, phone
“No-Nonsense Guide to Starting       organisations that are geared     right because what none of us       0845 6011000 or visit
a Business” and her own              up to help companies that are                          want to do

No regrets for Richard
RICHARD Jennis, an Ipswich-          stagnant my career had become.    Richard                             market and what customers
based web professional, left his     I was stuck in a rut. Having my   Jennis.                             need. To begin with it is nerve
job as technical director of a       own business has given me                                             racking setting up alone. You
local firm in October 2008 to set    more satisfaction especially                                          need to be self motivated and
up his own company His new           when winning new contracts.”                                          patient. You need to be willing
business, Simple Click                 Richard began the process by                                        to learn and take on more
Solutions Limited, specialises       researching the web to                                                responsibilities that you may
in the design, setup, marketing      understand the legal aspects of                                       not have had experience of
and ongoing management of            setting up a company and spoke                                        before.
websites.                            to friends who had done it        recommended to speak to Tony          “Our principles are to provide
  A year on and Richard has          themselves.                       Franklin who has been very          an honest jargon-free service
formed an experienced team to          “I had a business idea, based   helpful. He has given me advice     that is backed up with simple to
build a set of innovative            upon my previous experience       on intellectual property rights,    use yet powerful products. At
website management tools             within the website development    company structures, marketing,      the moment customers want to
which have been well received        sector,” he said.                 business plans and networking.      see value for money and as a
by its customers. Crucially,           “During the first six months     “There’s a lot of help out there   start-up with low overheads we
Richard has enjoyed his new          we concentrated on software       such as Business Link and           are able to offer excellent
challenge and has no regrets.        development. At about four        Suffolk Chamber and you also        service as a competitive rate.
  “Setting up on my own has          months, I sought advice from      need to do your homework.             “I have no regrets
made me appreciate how               Business Link. I was              Research and understand your        whatseoever.”
                                                                                                             October 2009   suffolkbusiness 17

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