10 essential steps to starting your own business in Gloucestershire

You may be an expert in your field and have an incredible business idea, but everyone can benefit from support when starting a business, and that is exactly what Start and Grow Enterprise is there for – offering free training, courses and support from its headquarters at The Growth Hub in Gloucester.

Alongside the current story of economic strife is that many more of us are starting our own businesses, which means expert help and advice is in greater demand than ever before.

Not only is Gloucestershire a hotbed for start-ups, it is blessed with some of the very best organisations dedicated to helping those dreams become a reality.

About the sponsor – Start and Grow Enterprise

Start and Grow Enterprise exists to provide support for freelancers, entrepreneurs and new businesses in Gloucestershire, headquartered at The Growth Hub in Gloucester.

All of its training, courses, advice and resources are free of charge and since 2017, the Start and Grow Enterprise team has helped more than 600 individuals make their entrepreneurial dreams come true – helping their businesses get off the ground.

Following these 10 essential steps to starting your own business in Gloucestershire, you could be next…

For more information, visit startandgrowenterprise.uk.

1. Discuss your business idea

Talking to trusted friends and family about your business ideas should always be the first step. They will help you to see things you haven’t yet considered, and will be honest with where they see potential.

All of our training at Start and Grow Enterprise involves discussion with our experts, coaches and other fellow entrepreneurs. It’s valuable time where you can gain information from others in your shoes and where you’ll be inspired to take action.

2. Do your market research

Many businesses claim success because their owners regularly research their target market, identify consumer problems and pinpoint competitors. This often translates into sales.

It’s difficult to speak directly to your ideal customer base if you don’t know who they are and where they are likely to stumble across you.

Identifying your unique selling proposition is key to standing out from your competitors and helps you focus on how you cater for your ideal customers. We run a dedicated start-up course, taking you through these essential planning steps. Visit startandgrowenterprise.uk/events to book a place.

3. Plan ahead

Without a plan, it’s harder to get to where you want to be. Our free business planning workshops introduces you to this invaluable planning tool, and help you to complete the process to fully understand your own business and its direction.

This workshop will give you insights into your customers and market, your value propositions, your channels and, of course, how to make enough money. Visit startandgrowenterprise.uk/events to book a place.

4. Join a community

A big focus of Start and Grow Enterprise is community. Without a team around you, working on your own business can feel lonely. Advice from peers helps you learn faster and leverage all important resources, often stretched as a start-up.

You can find local business groups online and attend online networking events. With Eventbrite and Facebook great places to start when searching for new groups to join.

We have a monthly entrepreneurs’ networking event offering a morning of insightful talks and tips from inspiring local start-ups, professionals, and business owners. Visit eventbrite.co.uk to join in.

5. Train

When starting your own business, you wear many hats. As well as delivering your products or services, you will find yourself head of sales and marketing, finance, strategy, and more!

It’s important to get the new skills and knowledge you need to handle these aspects of your business from the get go. Start and Grow Enterprise offers a number of training and upskilling opportunities in all key business areas, and we can signpost you to the right places.

All of our training, courses, advice and resources are free of charge.

6. Prepare to launch your business

You’ve got your business plan and you’re excited and ready to go… but when was it that you tell HMRC about self-employment, and what are dividends again? It can be hard to know the nuances between sole traders, limited companies, partnerships and everything in between.

Having the essentials covered before you launch is a great way to leave you feeling confident – with our business registration workshop covering all the basics. Visit startandgrowenterprise.uk/events to book a place.

This not only means staying on the right side of the law and taxes, but also designing the model that most suits you, your lifestyle, and the type of business you’re starting.

7. Get yourself out there

If you successfully educate customers, keep them engaged, create a strong reputation in their minds and smartly sell to them, your business will do well.

Our marketing guru demystifies marketing and teaches you how you can make maximum impact in our dedicated marketing your start-up business workshop. Visit startandgrowenterprise.uk/events to book a place.

8. Get funding

Grants are not easy to obtain, but do check with your local authority as many are offering local help. The Start Up Loan Company is a government initiative to help you get started with loans of up to £25,000.

If you have problems getting a bank loan, do try a Responsible Finance member (there are two with funds to lend in Gloucestershire), who offer ethical loans. You may wish to get equity finance or assistance from an angel investor. The GFirst LEP also offers a banking and finance clinic.

And once you’ve been to one of our courses, you can apply for an enterprise voucher. Applications which really shine will be given a reimbursed grant of £1,000 (that means you won’t need to pay anything back!).

9. Get a coach

Business coaching can help entrepreneurs break through barriers that are holding them back and focus on the actions they need to achieve their goals.

You can apply for three hours of fully-funded 1-2-1 business coaching through Start and Grow Enterprise. If selected, you will be matched to a coach whose experience and expertise matches the specific challenges your business is facing.

10. Grow!

The next stages for your business are exciting. You might grow your customer base, take on an employee, work with a contractor, add new services or products, or move into your own premises. You will learn more about yourself and the way you work, and you will learn what works well and what could be improved.

Once you’ve launched your business and have been running for a few months or even years, you can make the most of our GROW level support – which offers training aimed at existing business owners to help them with their strategy to develop their business further.

Visit Start and Grow Enterprise for more information .

For more information, visit startandgrowenterprise.uk.

By Andrew Merrell

© SoGlos
Monday 15 February 2021

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