“It’s never been easier to start up your own business!” I’ve heard this countless times in the past few years from those that started businesses in the 80’s and 90’s and are now helping others to find their entrepreneurial spark.
There is more help, advice and money out there than ever before for those that want to give it a go. The Government, banks and good corporate citizens are all rallying around would-be entrepreneurs.
Here are some of the reasons you can confidently make that leap and do it for yourself
1 Everyone is connected
It’s getting a little crowded online but it is still easier to find your target market, connect with suppliers and other business people, advisors and entrepreneurs than it has ever been before if you know where to look and how to find them.
- In the UK, almost 9 in 10 adults uses the internet and of these, over 70% have some sort of social media profile.
- For 16-24 year olds that figure is well over 90% who are online and have a social media profile.
There was a time in the not too distant past when no-one was lending anyone money for anything. For all sorts of reasons, perhaps not least because the whole banking model is being turned on its head, this has now changed. A word of caution – just remember that your aim is to try to spend as little as possible in building a product that will validate your idea and test that there is a market. So, looking for funding should only come after you have proven that your idea will fly.
- Startup Loans – the UK government is literally throwing money at startups with it’s new startup loans fronted by high profile delivery partners like Virgin, who will even help you to create a business plan and apply for up to £25k of funding, which is repayable over 5 years.
- Crowd-Funding – Kickstarter are an absolute breath of fresh air with a kick ass sense of purpose. If you’ve never heard of them, head over and start browsing – you’ll soon get it. Targeted towards creatives, it is a way of raising money to fund an idea or a project. Backers are given rewards rather than equity.
- Peer Lending – Other types of lending and crowd funding includes comapnies like Money & Co, the company set up by Nicola Horlicks and Seedrs.
3 Accelerators, Innovation Centres, Hubs
Many of these words are used interchangeably but all you really need to know is that they are all geared towards helping startups grow and signposting them towards the resources available.
- Accelerators are mainly focused on Tech startups and in the UK are fairly London-centric at the moment, but increasingly up and down the country you can apply to join a programme, with or without funding, to get intensive, expert mentoring advice and access to business know-how. With survival rates at 92% these are not to be sniffed at and the Silicon Valley accelerator Y-Combinator reportedly contributed to successes like Air BnB, Dropbox.
- A lower-tech, less formal version is Business growth hubs, Innovation Centres and Impact Hubs. The level of services offered may widely from region for region but they are certainly worth dipping into, if only to take stock of the help available. Birmingham’s fabulous Impact Hub was successully funded through a £65,000 kickstarted campaign in 2015.
4 Free or low-cost co-working space
Back in the olden days you had two choices – work from home or sign a costly, lengthy lease for office space. Nowadays there are a plethora of spaces where you can go to sit and think, work, or collaborate with others, not least because of the spread of free wi-fi.
All of these options make it easy and risk-free to get the physical space you need to work on your ideas on your own or with someone else.
5 You don’t have to leave your job straightaway
This really is the simple fact that should make running your own business a much less scary prospect. You don’t have to leave your job, so if it doesn’t work out you’ve lost nothing anyway. The internet has made it incredibly easy to get a business up and running before you have to take the plunge and quit your job. Even with physical business like cafes or shops, there is an awful lot you can do while still working to test the market and check that your cost and pricing assumptions are ok.
- Set up your website, blog and social media pages
- Try selling on weekends and in the holidays at pop-up shops, festivals
6 It’s child’s play
Even children are starting their own businesses these days. Ok, so most of them don’t have a mortgage or family commitments but if they can do it, then surely you, with your additional years of life experience and organisational skills, should be able to. Notable child entrepreneurs and ages when they started their businesses:
If you need even more convincing to start your own business check out these words of inspo from Mo Seetubtim over at the Huff.