Today GSM Entrepreneurship week welcomes Nick Howe of Nat West.
Nick Howe is a NatWest Enterprise Manager who works with enterprise agencies, charities, councils and universities across London to provide support and advice on getting started in business, as well as ways of growing a business and adapting to the changing environments.
It is very popular to want to be your own boss and start up in business. Working for yourself has many positives, freedom, flexibility; being the boss and doing something you love doing. But running your own business is not right for everyone, you will need family support, be prepared to invest time and energy, be self motivated, have bucket loads of tenacity and ability to review your progress and adapt as needed.
If you have an idea of what you want to do, here are a few points you might want to think about before taking the plunge:
- Ask yourself whether you are passionate about what the business is about?
- You will have strengths and weaknesses in your own skill set – so you will need to identify those gaps and think about how they will be overcome. If the business is just going to be you to start with, then any weaknesses that you have may also be weaknesses in your business.
- Research your idea. There is great, free support at most local libraries. Find out about databases of potential customers, suppliers and competitors you will need to look into. Research trade magazines and stories. Consider reviewing Census information to determine whether enough of the audience you are targeting live in the place where you are setting up the business.
- Test trade your idea. Asking your Mum if she likes your idea is not enough evidence to take the plunge. Even stopping strangers and asking questions from a clipboard may not get accurate enough answers. Test trading could be working on your business in your spare time, setting up a website or eBay store, car boot sale, craft fair, market stall or pop up shop. This process will provide you with evidence, via cash in your till, as to what the market in that area will support…and what it will not.
- Surround yourself with other like minded people to learn from and work with. It can be a lonely time but there will be so many people working through the same challenges as you.
Having got to this stage if you are still passionate about your idea then it is vital to consider how the business, when fully launched, is likely to work. Do this in the form of a business plan. Lots of organisations across the UK can help with this.
It is easy to open a business in the UK. However the businesses that thrive and last are those that take the time before launching to truly understanding their product, market, customer, operations and ambitions.
NatWest and RBS have the privilege of working with many start up businesses. We have teams of business managers across the country to help you consider taking those first steps. In the first half of this year we have helped over 54,000 start ups with banking facilities.
We have Business Specialists to support new and existing businesses. They will help in all aspects of setting up your business banking and offer advice on a wide range of business needs you may have. To arrange an appointment with one of our Specialists please speak to Businessline on NatWest: (0345) 7114477 or RBS: (0345) 6002230.