A good time to set up your own enterprise

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IT TAKES courage to start up a business at any time, and particularly when the economy is still depressed. But – and this may sound counter-intuitive – now is actually a good time set up on your own.

One of the positive aspects of an economic downturn is the number of new businesses which emerge. However, experience shows that the success rate of new ventures can be enhanced by heeding the following tips:

z Time. There’s never enough of it. So have a written plan and prioritise what needs done to achieve the things critical to success. And expect it to take twice as long as you thought to get your business really motoring.

z Cash. Cash is king in any business and especially when funding is scarce. Don’t spend on anything that won’t contribute directly to business success.

z Funding. Be realistic about your needs and know where the funds are going to come from.

Craig Little, director of Scottish Borders Chamber of Commerce (SBCC), warns banks are unlikely to provide it all, so be prepared to look at other sources such as grants, personal capital and loans from family.

z Advice. As Mr Little says, “you simply can’t get enough good independent advice. Don’t believe family and friends, because they’re biased.” Your accountant and industry bodies, such as SBCC, Business Gateway and the Federation of Small Businesses, are all good sources of information. Also, get advice from other business people who’ve been there and got the T-shirt.

z Minimise risk. Look at different business models, including franchising. The success rates for new franchise businesses are four times those of other new enterprises.

Remember, Business Gateway also runs free start-up workshops and can also help with loans and grants.

Email me: simon@simon-mountford.co.uk