Strategy

Planning

Know-How

Writing  a business plan


Writing a business plan is a vital first step when starting a business, in order to set out your proposition, your market, customers and competitors.  The business planning process will give you a feel for the various elements that will determine your success, from cash flow, to sales forecasting to your personnel structure. 


A good business plan will let you structure your finances efficiently, show potential investors the strength of your business, and focus your efforts on developing your business. 
A business plan isn’t written once; it’s a living document that you return to periodically to help you spot potential pitfalls before they happen.

Finance options for new businesses


A bank loan is not the only way that you can raise money to fund your startup business. For some businesses, particularly new riskier ventures, equity investment – raising capital through the sale of shares in a business – may be most suitable. For equity finance, there is a growing number of business angels prepared to back new businesses. 


For less risky types of businesses, debt finance may be more appropriate. If you are struggling to obtain a loan to start a new business, you may wish to consider applying for a start-up loan. For alternatives to the high street banks for both equity and debt finance you could consider raising funding through alternative finance providers such as peer-to-peer lenders or crowd funding platforms.


There is a highly favourable environment for businesses and those who invest in them. In addition to the growing diversity of sources of finance, such as crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending, there are schemes and incentives devised to help companies of all sizes secure funding.

Set up and register a new business


All the information you need to help you start up a new business, including how to set up and register a company.

Starting a business takes careful preparation and research. Take good advice at this planning stage, and you may well avoid costly mistakes later on. A business mentor can give you honest and constructive feedback, as well as provide useful contacts and pass on valuable experience. There are mentorship programmes to suit all kinds of businesses, including startups.



Recruiting & Hiring staff


When you recruit new staff you’ll find there’s lots of helpful advice and support available to help you get the job specification and description right, find the right candidates, hold interviews, take up references and make the eventual hiring decision. 


Whether you are employing someone for the first time or taking on extra staff, there is practical guidance and advice as well as financial assistance that you can tap into.

Taking on an apprentice or trainee


You want young, enthusiastic talent that you can mould and develop for your business? The answer: hire an apprentice. A growing number of companies are doing so.


A traineeship is a training programme with work experience that unlocks the great potential of young people and prepares them for their future careers by helping them to become ‘work ready’.

Online


Your website can be both your shop-window and your business card. Your customers can find you and learn more about you. Your website is the best way of telling them more about your business. Even if you don’t plan to sell your services online, having a website will be beneficial to your business, and we have some tips on how to go about setting it up.


Social media is a great way of talking with your customers and promoting your business.
 The largest networks – like , Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – are all free, and have millions of users. Guides and resources that we provide will help you get started.


There are now more options than ever before when it comes to promoting your business and services on the web. Whether it is through Facebook, Google or banner ads, or even through an online newsletter, there are many quick and cost-effective ways of getting your message out to the people that matter most : your customers.