Have you ever considered retraining to become an entrepreneur? No? Well maybe this is the perfect time to start thinking about that.
Right now, the news about jobs and employment could not be gloomier. Every day brings a new depressing headline about unemployment levels and looming redundancies. In this context discussions about retraining may seem incongruent. Unemployed friends of mine have lamented to me – ‘there are no jobs, traditional jobs sectors are dying, I don’t have the skills or qualifications for jobs in tech’ and so on. And yet retraining is a reality many of us must face. The fact is some jobs in retail, leisure, aviation, and manufacturing will simply not be returning, covid vaccine or not. While some professions have an obvious entrance route, other career options are more opaque. What if you want to become a business owner- where and how do you begin?
My sister in law posed this question to me last week. She is convinced that she has an idea that could translate into a successful business and solve her unemployment crisis. But without financial resources and a team behind her, she simply does not nowhere to begin. Her feelings are no doubt shared by many, too often stories about successful start-ups in the media, inspiring though they may be, do not provide information about how to secure practical support and investment. So exactly what support is out there?
Coming up with a business idea can be tricky but can be done with the right planning.
The next step is turning your idea into an effective business plan. A business plan if written correctly will help you identify priorities, actions, and next steps. And crucially if you wish to secure finance from a bank or the backing of an investor, a plan which demonstrates the financial potential of your business is a must. Not sure how to write one? No worries. There are now a range of free templates you can use. So whether you subscribe to the lean start-up theory or a more traditional approach, there is a business plan template for you.
Some would be entrepreneurs feel completely confident going it alone, but others may not feel they possess the requisite skills or knowledge in all aspects of their future business. Your business plan may even have identified specific skills gaps. If so, how do you go about finding a co-founder? There are now several online platforms for finding co-founders, including Founders Nation and Co-Founders Lab . Alternatively, if you prefer making a real-life connection then attending networking events may be the best route for you. Check out Meetup.com and Eventbrite to find in person and virtual events.
Securing financial investment is essential if you are gong to turn your plan into a functioning business. If you are currently unemployed and in receipt of benefits you may be entitled to a New Enterprise Allowance . This could help you start your business. Once you are able to prove your eligibility,you may get a weekly allowance worth up to £1,274 over 26 weeks. The scheme also entitles you to the support of a mentor.
If you need a larger investment to get your business off the ground, then a start-up loan could be your best bet. Applying for a government backed start-up loan is a relatively straight forward process. You may be able to borrow up to £25,000 at a fixed interest rate.
Another popular option is crowdfunding, why? Crowdfunding allows start-ups to raise money, generate publicity and cultivate a customer base before a product launch. Kickstarter is one of the most well-known platforms, but there are lots of others to choose from. Alternatively if you are prepared to exchange equity in your business for investment, then consider using equity crowd funding websites such as Seedrs.
Just like anyone starting a new role, business founders need to develop the necessary skills and knowledge to help them succeed. A business plan and investment alone will not make a successful business. It is the work you put in every day which really makes a difference. Just like in any career it is hard to do something well when you have no idea what ‘good’ looks like. That is why it is essential you access free training or support. Business support services, via workshops, coaching, one-to-one advice and classes are available throughout the UK.
Launching your own business could be the best career move for you, don’t forget that even in a downturn successful businesses are launched, and yours could be one of them.