While it’s entirely possible to start and operate a business on your own, you don’t have to do everything yourself. When you’re first starting out, it’s a good idea to see what kind of support is available to you.
There are many different options available to you if you’re looking for help with starting your own business, and we’ll be addressing a few of the bigger ones here. This article will address topics such as:
- Figuring out what kind of help you need
- Looking into business support organisations
- Trying your hand at networking
- Finding financial support
Figuring out what kind of help you need
The first step in looking for help is working out what kind of help you actually need. You should be honest about the needs of your business and the limits of your knowledge. For instance, do you have a blind spot when it comes to legal matters or financial management? Is it just information you need, or do you require financial support to help you get started?
Of all the potential advisors you might approach, a financial advisor might be the most useful. Consider meeting with an advisor at least once before you open for business. They can provide invaluable information on topics like taxes, invoicing, and financial planning. They might also be able to advise you on the best methods of managing your money, such as using financial software.
You might also consider going to a training course to learn about a topic yourself, instead of regularly hiring an advisor to provide information. While it’s important to become self-reliant, think carefully about if it’s a good investment of your time. It will take long hours of study to become an expert in most topics, and time will be in short supply when you’re starting your own business. Often, it’s smarter to spend money on (for example) hiring an accountant to do your taxes rather than attempting to do it yourself with limited training.
Look into business support organisations
Once you know what kind of help you need, look into who’s offering that kind of support. There are hundreds of organisations designed to help people start their own businesses, so look into who is active in your local area.
The Prince’s Trust offers workshops and mentoring services to 18 to 30-year-olds looking to start their own business. They’ll pair you with someone knowledgeable who can help you make the right decisions. Even if you don’t fall into their age requirements, they have a ton of resources available online for you to read and learn from at your own pace.
Enterprise agencies are government-funded support services for those starting a business. They offer services such as promoting your business and connecting you with other helpful organisations. These services are free or come included as part of a membership subscription. These are specific to a country or region, so pick the right one – for instance, there are different agencies for England and Scotland.
You could contact trade associations to help with issues specific to your industry. If you have questions about the kinds of licenses you should apply for, or the kinds of taxes you might need to pay, the answers will differ depending on what sector your business operates within.
Trying your hand at networking
Networking is really just a business term for making new friends – but with networking, the aim is to build relationships that can help you establish your new business effectively.
You may already have contacts that can help, so let your friends know about your new business and see what help they can provide. Local businesses are great contacts to have since they can provide advice based on real-life experience. Consider joining your local chamber of commerce, as you could find a wealth of new contacts. Finally, create a page for your business on Linkedin, so you can make contacts online as well as in person.
If you’re going to be networking frequently, it helps to practice your elevator pitch a few times. An elevator pitch is a short overview of what your business does and how it can help the potential client or contact you’re speaking with. In order to make useful contacts, you should demonstrate that your business could be useful, too.
Finding financial support
A bank might be your first stop when you’re trying to get a loan, but it’s not your only option. There are a few different ways of finding the right investors for your business idea.
One option is to look into acquiring an angel investor. This is someone that, as well as providing money to help start your business, will offer advice to help shape the company in its early stages. Make sure you have a very solid business plan (previous business experience is also very helpful) before you approach individuals about the possibility of investing in your business idea.
Luckily, the government has a lot of support they can offer to new businesses, such as grants or lowered taxes. The gov.uk financial support finder can provide a list of organisations that will provide money to help fund your business idea. You can search based on your location and industry, to narrow down the people best suited to support you.
How Countingup can help you start your own business
Once you’ve identified a source of financial support, you’ll need to manage that money carefully and keep track of where it goes. This can be challenging to do on your own, so consider using an app like Countingup.
Countingup is the business current account with built-in accounting software that allows you to manage all your financial data in one place. With features like automatic expense categorisation, invoicing on the go, receipt capture tools, tax estimates, and cash flow insights, you can confidently keep on top of your business finances wherever you are.
You can also share your bookkeeping with your accountant instantly without worrying about duplication errors, data lags or inaccuracies. Seamless, simple, and straightforward!
Find out more here.