Tag: Starting

Starting A Small Business: Introduction #business #partner #wanted

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Starting A Small Business



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A Simple 6-Step Process to Starting a Small Business #business #for #sales

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A Simple 6-Step Process to Starting a Small Business

Serial Entrepreneur, Mentor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com

A great small business always starts out as an idea, but you have to transform that idea into action. That s where many individuals can start to feel overwhelmed. It s understandable to freeze up at the deluge of things that are required to get a business started, but getting going is actually easier than you might think.

Like any big goal, if you start by breaking it down into smaller tasks, you ll be able to tackle enough of the actions necessary to get started. Here are six ways to break down the process and simplify getting started with your own small business.

1. Write a one-page business plan.

The key to a successful small business, especially in the startup phase, is to keep things simple and costs low. Costs don t just mean your monetary costs, but also your time.

Many would-be small-business owners fall into the trap of trying to create the world s biggest and most robust business plan. You re only going to need that if you re seeking investment or financing, and even if you will be seeking either of those things down the road, I always recommend small-business owners start out with by testing their ideas first before investing lots of time and money.

So to get started, create your own simple, one-page business plan that is a high-level overview of the small business you re about to start.

  1. Define your vision. What will be the end result of your business?
  2. Define your mission. Different to a vision, your mission should explain the reason your company exists.
  3. Define your objectives. What are you going to do — what are your goals — that will lead to the accomplishment of your mission and your vision?
  4. Outline your basic strategies. How are you going to achieve the objectives you just bulleted?
  5. Write a simple action plan. Bullet out the smaller task-oriented actions required to achieve the stated objectives.

That s it. It might be longer than one page, but it will surely be more organized and shorter than a full business plan, which could take weeks to write. If you need more information on the one-page business plan, or want to write out a full-blown finance-centered business plan, you can check out the book I co-wrote with my brother that has a robust explanation of both, Small Business, Big Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market From Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who did it Right .

2. Decide on a budget.

While I highly recommend you keep your costs as low as possible, you ll still need to determine a budget to get started and how much you ll be able to spend. If you re self funding, be realistic about numbers and whatever you anticipate your budget to be. I ve found that an additional 20 percent tacked on for incidentals is a realistic overage amount that helps you plan your burn rate.

Your burn rate is how much cash you re spending month over month. It s an important number for you to figure out to determine how long you can stay in business before you need to turn a profit.

You should set up your business with profitability in mind the first 30 to 90 days. It s possible. But have a budget reserve so you can survive if things go leaner than expected.

3. Decide on a legal entity.

Filing paperwork to start a business costs money. Often, depending on your state, it can be a lot of money. You ll need to account for city or municipality licensing, state incorporation or business entity fees and more. Do a thorough search ahead of time to determine what the filing fees are for your city, county and state before starting any business.

Often in the initial test phase for your small business, it can be wise to start as a sole proprietor, as it means less paperwork and up-front expenses. That can save you some big-time cash while you determine the viability of your business. Do be aware though that acting as a sole proprietor can put you at personal risk, so you ll want to weigh the benefits vs. risks and then speak with a local attorney or tax professional to decide which is smarter for your short-term vs. long-term goals.

You can always file for a business entity once you ve proven in the first three to six months of business that you ve got a viable, sustainable model.

4. Take care of the money.

Whatever business entity you decide on, keep the funds separate from your personal accounts. This is a big mistake that makes tax time and financials so confusing. It s really easy to set up a free business checking account with your local credit union or bank. All you ll need is your filing paperwork, sole proprietor licensing information and an initial deposit to get set up from most financial institutions.

Don t pay for an account or get any kind of credit lines yet, just get a holding place you can keep your money separated from your personal accounts. This should take you no more than hour at the financial institution of your choice.

5. Get your website.

Regardless of whether your business will be brick or mortar or online, you ll need a website and that means securing a URL. Popular domain sites such as HostGator and Go Daddy will allow you to search for the website domain address of your choice and purchase it for as little as $9.99.

If you re starting an online business, you can tie your domain to an online shopping cart and store front such as Shopify for a low monthly fee, or you can build a basic website yourself on top of your URL with do-it-yourself drag-and-drop site builders such as Weebly for a low fee. Both are less than $100 a month.

6. Test sales.

You have enough of a foundation now that you can start testing some sales. Try to spread the word in inexpensive and creative ways.

If you have a service-based business, get involved with your local chamber of commerce or small-business chapter immediately and ask what resources are available for you to speak, present or share information about your business. If you have a product-based business, test the viability of your product at local swap meets, farmers markets or other community events to test what the public really thinks (and if they ll purchase) from you.

Drive traffic to your website through simple Facebook Ads with capped budgets, or set up a simple Google AdWords account with a budget cap to test if traffic is going to your site.

You can follow these six steps by yourself for not a lot of money. It s a fantastic way to test the viability of your small business before throwing all your time and money into an unproven idea.





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Grants for starting a business: What small business grants are available?: Starting a business

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Grants for starting a business: What small business grants are available?

If you’re a small business owner or thinking of starting a business, finance is probably your biggest concern. You may be wondering if there is any funding available for start-ups.

The simple answer is yes, but getting your hands on it can be a complicated and rather stressful process. There are countless schemes, each with their own set of criteria, which you can apply for when you’re on the verge of starting a business.

Action point: Need a loan to start a business of your own? See how we can help here and here

Start-up funding is out there to be claimed, yet every year we receive stories of piles of cash sitting in accounts and not being invested. It’s not because you don’t need the cash, but it’s because navigating through the grants jungle can leave you wishing you were still employed.

Types of business support

All publicly funded schemes are designed to encourage new and growing businesses, to bring wealth and ultimately create jobs. To help achieve this the government makes available a portion of taxpayers’ money to help and encourage enterprise through small business grants.

This cash gets distributed through a variety of ministries, departments, agencies and quangos on a national and local basis. Most businesses are eligible at any one time to apply for a number of different business start-up grants and support schemes which are distributed in a wide variety of forms.
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Government grant resource the business finance support finder is a great tool to help those starting a business find relevant funding to suit their needs and you are able to customise your search by your business location, size, and type of business activity.

Want to read more on grants?

Government business grants available

Direct grant

This is a cash award, which is usually given out for activities such as training, employment, export development, recruitment and capital investment projects. With a direct grant most schemes usually require the company involved to put up around 50% of the cost.

The government s ‘business finance support finder’ directory has over 300 direct grants agencies listed such as UK business “innovation” organisation the Technology Strategy Board. The directory also features various local grants providers which are facilitated by the government’s £3.2bn Regional Growth Fund. such as Catalyst for Growth which has direct grants of £5,000 to £500,000 available for chemical start-ups launching in the North West of England.

Soft loan

A soft loan is a special type of grant where the terms and conditions of repayment are more generous (or softer) than they would be under normal financial circumstances. So, for example, the interest rates may be less, or there may be no interest to pay at all, and the repayment terms could also be for a longer period.

There are hundreds of organisations that offer soft loans and guarantees but the most notable is government-funded scheme Start Up Loans which offers new businesses loans of up to £25,000 for 6% interest with a 12 month repayment “holiday”. To date it has helped to fund over 10,000 start-ups with over £50m invested. You can find out more about the Start Up Loans scheme here. (If you need a higher value business loan, fill out our business loans form and we may be able to put you in touch with the right people).

If you’re starting a social enterprise or charity there are organisations such as Big Issue Invest. the investment arm of the Big Issue, which has soft loans from £50,000 to £1m available for positive impact, socially-driven entrepreneurs and also operates ‘participation loans’ where repayment is linked to future performance of the enterprise.

For young entrepreneurs aged between 18-30, The Prince s Trust provides soft loans of up to £4,000, as well as support for your business idea, with interest capped at 3% and repayments spread over a period of two to five years.

Equity finance

With equity finance a capital sum is injected into the business and the provider of the funds takes an equity share of the enterprise. When the value of the firm increases the stake can then be returned. However, unlike venture capitalists, the expectations and requirements of the providers of public funds are usually less demanding.

It is also worth noting the government Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) which help companies raise finance by providing tax relief to investors who buy a share in your business.

Free or subsidised consultancy

Start-ups can often find themselves in the situation where they are lacking a particular set of skills and there are some specially run schemes which provide this knowledge either for free or at subsidised rates. For instance, the Welsh government runs a business support service offering free, independent advice on starting a business and operates an instant hotline for business queries.

Access to resources

As with a lack of skills, it can be the case that start-ups do not possess the physical resources or facilities they need in order to develop particular projects. In the same way there are a number of initiatives, particularly incubator and accelerator schemes, that can help overcome these concerns by providing access to publicly owned facilities. One such initiative is the department for business, innovation and skills’ (DBIS) GrowthAccelerator which provides advice and coaching to fast-growth businesses with fewer than 250 employees.

Technology and Best Practice transfer

The transfer of technological advances and new best practice initiatives can often take a long time filtering down to smaller businesses. The government has set up schemes which aim to overcome this through business support networks and there is now a number of well-established best practice initiatives such as Investors in People (IIP), which specialises in business tools and resources.

Cost sharing

When it comes to research and development, the costs involved can prevent small firms from taking part. However, by sharing the costs with other businesses, and then sharing the expertise, this problem can be avoided.

To find out more about grants for starting a business, visit our dedicated small business grants channel here .

Useful business start up tools

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5 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting a Candle Making Business #business #start #up

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5 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting a Candle Making Business

When you decide to start your own work-at-home business, a candle making business is one option of many. Beginning a candle making business can be fun and exciting and a way to utilize some creativity. However, there are many things to think about before beginning that can help ensure your success. Avoid mistakes that can cost your business to go under before it even starts.

Mistake 1 – Starting with No Experience

As with any home business, you should have at least some experience before you begin. If you have made candles or soaps as a hobby or for personal gift giving you have a head start on growing a business. Starting any type of business with no experience will take more time and presents more risk. Even taking a class at a local community center or reading a candle making book will give you some background to start with.

Mistake 2 – No Research and Business Plan

A solid business plan is a must and that goes hand-in-hand with lots of research. Making candles as a hobby or for fun is a base start; taking that to a business level requires some planning. You will need to research where to get bulk supplies, including molds, candle base (whether that is beeswax, paraffin, gel or soy), wicks, dyes and scented oils.

On the practical side, you will need to prepare for your business by choosing a business name and registering your business with your local city or county. In most places you will also need a business license even if you are operating a business from your home.

Mistake 3 – Having No Work Space

When you decide to start a business from home you have to be sure you have the appropriate space available to accommodate your business. With a candle making business you need space to melt your candle material, whatever it is that you choose. You need space to store your candle making essentials; molds, melting pot, wicks and oils, etc.

You also need to be able to store what you produce as well as office space to do bookkeeping and sales work. An organized work space will help you be more efficient and productive.

Mistake 4 – Having No Niche

Deciding on candle making as a business venture will mean deciding on a niche. If you enjoy making a certain type of candle and are efficient in making them, that should be your focus. For instance, if you have been making soy candles, stick with making soy candles until you are ready for your business to expand or until there is a solid financial reason to make other types of candles. The possibilities are varied and wide and include votives, floating, special occasion, and mixed colored, as well as various scented.

Mistake 5 – Having No Market

It’s important to decide where and how you will sell your candle once you make your business official. Having a website is the best way to market your products but there are other ways as well.

No matter how you sell your candles, you will need to make sure the price is right so that you can gain and keep a customer base and so that you can eventually make a profit for yourself. Avoiding mistakes and having fun will take you far in the candle making business.





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Starting A Free Online Business, Step by Step #businesses #for #sale

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Starting A Free Online Business, Step by Step

Every day, thousands of people search for information on starting a free online business. They are looking at online business systems, searching for free online business opportunities, and basically looking for legitimate home business ideas so that they can work from home .

That’s what I do, and I love it. That’s a photo of me above. It was actually taken several years ago – this is my 12th year working from home. And it was taken at a friends house too. I love being able to work anytime, anywhere!

Anyway- yesterday I had opportunity to meet two such ladies who were searching for that very information, and who happen to live in my town. They found me on MySpace. so we talked there and then decided to meet for lunch and discuss what it takes to start an online business.

I’ll share the same details with you here that I shared with them over lunch, which were simple steps for starting a free online business. I cant share the fabulous spinach salad, or the great conversation we had, but hopefully this will prove useful to you if you are searching for internet business ideas yourself.

Home Business Ideas

There are so many home business opportunities and internet business ideas, that it can be a little overwhelming to figure out where you should start. We talked about a few of the different business models – from ecommerce sites that use wholesale dropshipping. to offering a service or starting your own blog.

You can make money online in a variety of ways. Just a few examples include: sell your own product, offer services, sell advertising on your website or blog, or promote other people’s products and/or services.

That last option is called Affiliate Marketing. It’s basically commission-based sales, and I compare it to the offline model of selling Kirby vacuum cleaners. When you make sales, you make money. You can sign up as an affiliate for a company and they will give you an Affiliate Link. You promote that link, and anyone that goes through your link to make a purchase will be tracked – resulting in a commission to you for that sale.

This is the internet business model that I focused on during our conversation over lunch yesterday. I actually use a variety of internet business models to make money online myself, but Affiliate Marketing seemed to be a perfect match for my new friends.

Some business models are active, while others are more passive. An active business model requires a more active role on your part. A membership site for example is high maintenance. If you offer services, then you need to interact with clients and take phone calls on a regular basis. I prefer passive income models, which allow you more freedom and flexibility.

That’s not to say that active business models cant be incredibly profitable and successful, just that something more passive seemed like a good fit once I got to know her a bit.

To clarify, when I say passive I dont mean that you wont have to work at it. I think we’ve all kind of figured out by now that “get rich quick schemes” dont really work. And we were discussing real, legitimate ways to make consistent income online. Not spotty one-off ways to make a few bucks here and there.

We discussed the realistic investment of time and money, and I confessed that I put a lot of time in upfront to get each of my internet business models up and running (some more than others). I explained that you could invest money to get sales rolling in quicker, or you could invest time (up to 6-12 months even) to get your sales up to a good level on a consistent basis. You’ll make money along the way of course, but geting that consistent income is the key.

Going that route, you can get started for less than $10. Yes, literally.

The passive part comes in after you have your affiliate site up and running – once you’ve done that groundwork. With affiliate marketing the merchant is handling orders, shipping and customer service. All you have to do is send them traffic through your affiliate link.

Once your site is up and running, you’ve set up your systems (such as a newsletter, blog, or whatever fits your model), and you’re driving traffic to the site. most of the “work” from there can be automated, and maintained in very little time. For example, I can usually run a site like that in as little as 5 hours a week. That frees you up to create more just like it, and duplicate your income

Starting a Free Online Business

I mentioned above that you can get started for less than $10. I know that a lot of people are interested in starting a free online business, but this small investment is well worth it. Especially if you are serious about making a consistent income with a real online business.

You could actually spend a lot more than ten bucks, but if you take my advice you’ll save a lot of money – and still end up with a solid internet business model.

What are the steps in creating an online business?

Your first step is to decide what niche you will target. Meaning: what are you going to sell, or what topic is your website going to be about? You might start with the product, or you might start with the topic – it doesnt really matter as long as you get that initial idea.

To help you, here are some of my own mini-tutorials on keyword research. Keywords are simply the words or phrases that people are searching for online. If you read through the links on that page, you’ll have a much better understanding of how you can research keywords to choose topics or products.

Once you decide what your website will be about, you’ll need two things: a domain name and a hosting account. The domain name is your website address (like www.ClickNewz.com is mine) and the hosting account is the space online where you will put your website.

I use GoDaddy.com to register my domain names. For hosting, I use HostGator – they allow you to host multiple domains or sites on the one account (saving you money when you start duplicating!) and they have tons of cool features that save you time & money too.

The domain name will cost you $8.95 for the first year. The HostGator account is $9.95/month, but I have a coupon code you can use to get your first month free. And that’s all you really need upfront to get started – so start up cost is actually less than $9, and then 9.95/month.

So you’ve picked a topic for your website, you registered a domain name, you set up your hosting account. now you need to create a website. (This is the hard part for most people)

It might be tempting to just hire a web designer, and that’s certainly an option, but you really want to learn some things yourself if you are going to be running an internet business. Creating your own website will also save you a lot of money.

You’ll find some tools in your hosting account to help you develop your website. You can also find all kinds of free resources online by doing a search. If you decide you need some help, consider hiring someone to design a template for you – not an entire website. Its much cheaper to just outsource the template design and do the rest of the work yourself.

You’re going to run into questions along the way. But dont let that stop you! I have an online business discussion forum where you can stop in and ask any questions you have, and get help from others who have already gone through these steps themselves.

Go back through the steps and check out some of the links. Read my keyword research tutorials, and then join us at the forum if you have any questions before you get started.

If you liked this tutorial, be sure to sign up for my free weekly tips. It’s the best way to get the current scoop on free resources, and new online business tips!





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10 steps to starting a business: Starting a business advice and business ideas #business

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10 steps to starting a business

Starting a small business is easy using our step-by-step guides. The 10 steps below will teach you how to start a business, taking you through each of the key stages of the start-up process – from evaluating your business idea and choosing a company name through to designing your business cards, developing a website and, finally, getting ready to launch.

Starting a business? 7 things you need to do first

  • How to start a business: What you need to know

    Key topics

    Need a loan to get your business started? A website design? Or maybe some separate business broadband? Get quotes and start saving now with our Startups Resources

    Field research is a key part of analysing your market and will help you build a successful business plan and brand. Here’s how to carry it out effectively.

    Sole trader, partnership, limited company or LLP? We look at how to choose the right legal structure for your start-up

    Choosing the right start-up name is extremely important. Here’s a practical guide on how to pick out the best name to ultimately build a better business

    Five fundamental points your logo should convey to your customers

    Looking to raise finance for your new business? Join the 30,000 plus Start Up Loan recipients today…

    Tips from Startups on how to pick the number cruncher that’s right for your small business

    What exactly do you need to consider when looking for the perfect premises?

    John Paterson rounds up the free and low-cost software options available to help you start your business

    Dealing with business red tape? Startups has complied the five key legal issues and how best to deal with them…

    What types of selling do you need to use? Startups covers a few of the most important selling techniques for your business

    You’ve got a business idea but what are the next steps? Startups has compiled a launchpad guide to help you put the foundations in place for business success

    Startups answers the key questions you should ask before starting your own business

    Latest on Startups

    To celebrate 10 years of its Business IP Centre, on September 27 the Library is holding a free day of workshops from the likes of Julie Deane OBE.

    A professional musician who’s preformed alongside the likes of Lana del Ray and Beyoncé – Katie Sayles talks about her new pre-school members’ club

    Research from the FSB suggests the introduction of the minimum £7.20-an-hour rate has led many small firms to increase prices and reduce staff hours

    App which operates via Bluetooth connected handleba device backed by TrueStart, Seedrs, and mayor’s London Co-Investment Fund

    Purple Cow ” rel=”bookmark”>The business book you need to read this month: Purple Cow

    With a focus on ‘transforming your business by being remarkable’, entrepreneur Daniel Keighron-Foster advocates Seth Godin’s seminal book

    Useful business start up tools

    Forum post of the week

    Want to run a more profitable business?

    More from Startups





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  • Young entrepreneurs: Starting a business advice and business ideas #loan #for #small #business

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    Young entrepreneurs

    The young entrepreneur stories featured in this section show that you do not necessarily need years of experience to start a profitable business. Read the incredible accounts of teenage entrepreneurs such as David Carter, founder of The App Factory, and Bigger Feet creator Oliver Bridges and see how they achieved massive success at such a young age

    Key topics

    At 18, Jordan Daykin became the youngest entrepreneur to land investment in the Den. Today, his global DIY fixing business is said to be worth £14m.

    Shining a spotlight on the UK’s brightest founders aged 25 and under, Startups reveals the business owners set for entrepreneurial stardom this year

    The 25-year-old bringing a fresh, tech focused approach to digital marketing

    The impressive female entrepreneur swapped reality TV for enterprise, creating a cult jewellery brand loved by A-list celebrities and the royal family

    Determined to help people discover great things to try in London and beyond, 25 year-old Malin has built a website with thousands of daily readers…

    The 21 year-old creating slip-on shoes worn by the likes of Tinie Tempah and Ryan Reynolds

    The 17 year-old entrepreneur who’s built an online media empire from his bedroom

    The 21-year-old on a mission to change the world through entrepreneurship by nurturing the next generation of business leaders

    The 24-year-old founder of a personalised handwritten communication business on a mission to create employment for millions around the world

    The brains behind a social media business which can make anything the number one trending topic on Twitter within 30 minutes.

    The venture-backed duo helping teams, groups and charities raise money by connecting them to major brands

    From a teenage eBay business to his current ‘on-demand selling service’, meet the serial business owner aged 24 with an eye for lucrative opportunities

    Latest on Startups

    To celebrate 10 years of its Business IP Centre, on September 27 the Library is holding a free day of workshops from the likes of Julie Deane OBE.

    A professional musician who’s preformed alongside the likes of Lana del Ray and Beyoncé – Katie Sayles talks about her new pre-school members’ club

    Research from the FSB suggests the introduction of the minimum £7.20-an-hour rate has led many small firms to increase prices and reduce staff hours

    App which operates via Bluetooth connected handleba device backed by TrueStart, Seedrs, and mayor’s London Co-Investment Fund

    Purple Cow ” rel=”bookmark”>The business book you need to read this month: Purple Cow

    With a focus on ‘transforming your business by being remarkable’, entrepreneur Daniel Keighron-Foster advocates Seth Godin’s seminal book

    Useful business start up tools

    Forum post of the week

    Want to run a more profitable business?

    More from Startups





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    5 low cost business ideas to start at university: Starting a business advice and

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    5 low cost business ideas to start at university

    Some of the world’s most famous entrepreneurs started businesses while at university; Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Sergey Brin, Larry Page – the list goes on – so what’s stopping you from starting up whilst studying?

    According to recent research from Santander. over 80,000 UK university students currently run businesses while studying and collectively generate turnover of over £44m. Impressive to say the least. What’s more, over a quarter of this number plan to turn their businesses into a full-time career upon graduation.

    Action point: Need a loan to start a business of your own? See how we can help here and here

    Dubbed “student start-ups”, budding young entrepreneurs are maximising on being within the university environment to launch a start-up and fund their education, pursue interests, and gain “invaluable work experience as a result of their entrepreneurial ventures”.

    A report from Direct Line for Business also emphasised the fact that entrepreneurialism is alive and kicking in UK universities. It found that more students than ever before are now starting businesses, with popular undergraduate start-ups ranging from creative businesses like clothing design, to hospitality and events promotion and tech-focused firms such as software development.

    And it would seem that there has never been a better time to start a business while at university, if the growing number of initiatives to encourage student entrepreneurs are anything to go by.

    Earlier this year, Europe’s largest student start-up event opened in Liverpool hosted by the National Association of College University Entrepreneurs (NACUE), Mercia Fund Management launched a tax efficient fund for university spin-outs, and a number of universities have been actively doing their bit to promote enterprise. For instance the University of Southampton recently held a student hackathon to find great software concepts.

    With 2015 a golden age for student entrepreneurs, we’ve compiled a guide to five of the top low-cost businesses to start at university, including case study examples from a number of high-profile university entrepreneurs that have scaled their ideas into successful businesses.

    To help you get your university venture off the ground, you’ll also find a handy summary of the funding and support that is available to student and young entrepreneurs in the UK.

    Click the buttons above or below to find out more about the best low cost business ideas to start while at university…

    Comments

    Useful business start up tools

    Forum post of the week

    More business ideas.

    Want to run a more profitable business?

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    Starting an online business #financing #for #business

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    You need to have a viable business idea. You must also have what it takes to make it work. You also must have enough money.

    If you’ve got what it takes to start your own business, and you’ve done your research, forming a business is the next exciting leg on the journey.

    Many people struggle with the financial side of managing their small business. Not everyone has a head for figures or wants to become an accountant.

    If you want to run a legitimate enterprise, you must pay tax. It’s worth understanding your tax obligations before you start up to factor them in.

    Many people, including some leading business representatives, argue that small firms are over burdened by the weight of business law.

    It might be a cliché, but it remains true – planning without action is futile, while action without planning is fatal. You need a business plan.

    Marketing matters. Marketing drives sales for businesses of all sizes by ensuring that customers think of their brand when they want to buy.

    Premises provide the second-biggest overhead for many businesses. If you can start your business from your home, it will be much easier to break even.

    The success or failure of a business can often rest in the hands of its most valuable asset – its people. But managing them can be a challenge.

    There can’t be many firms in the UK, however small, that don’t use IT in some way. Many businesses simply couldn’t exist without IT.

    Half of all new businesses fail within five years. So how do you survive and thrive? Find out how to scale up and become a high-growth business.

    Starting an online business





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    How to start a dog walking business: 4 simple steps: Starting a business advice

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    How to start a dog walking business: 4 simple steps

    With recent figures showing that Brits spent more than £4bn on their beloved pets in 2015, you’d be barking mad to think the recession has impacted on the UK’s pet spend.

    Action point: Need a loan to start a business of your own? See how we can help here and here

    Marking a 10% increase on pooch spending from 2010, it’s not only large retailers benefitting, with many entrepreneurs realising there’s opportunities to be had in the pet industry.

    The average dog walker now earns 20% more than the average UK salary. so it’s clearly a viable and potentially profitable business opportunity.

    Of course you’ll need to have a genuine interest in dogs as well as a good knowledge of the various rules and regulations surrounding the industry – and it’s a fairly business marketplace.

    However, with plenty of doting pet owners out there, finding a good niche can still present great opportunities.

    Sound interesting? Then read our four simple steps to help you become top dog in the industry.

    1. Experience is essential

    While it’s not imperative to have a career background with animals, you should at least be confident around dogs and at the very least have experience in walking a family or friend’s pet.

    The Kennel Club’s guidelines for people working with dogs advises “strong interpersonal and communication skills”, as well as “a high level of fitness” and, naturally, “an affinity with, and understanding of dogs” for anyone wishing to pursue a career with man’s best friend.

    If you’re in need of experience in handling dogs, you might want to consider volunteering at your local kennels or rescue centre. They’ll often house a good range of dogs of various sizes, age and temperament, so you’ll be fit to face whatever comes your way.

    Consider attending courses in animal first aid, pet medication or even animal psychology as gaining a diploma or certificate in any of these would showcase your commitment to the dog’s welfare and impress clients.

    2. Remember, it’s a business

    While any animal lover might feel like they’ve died and gone to doggy heaven, remind yourself that your dog walking business is just that – a business. As such, you’ll need to possess all the regular entrepreneurial skills required for founding and running a successful company.

    Having a basic understanding of bookkeeping is important as you’ll need to be able to balance your own books and fill in your self-assessment tax return. Remember that this is your livelihood and not a hobby, your income should reflect this.

    Similarly, a good understanding of marketing and self-promotion will be needed to get your business off the ground.

    Finally, an ability to network and negotiate with both your customers and local animal industry is key. Never underestimate the potential for clients to try and negotiate price or you could find yourself working for substantially less than you might have hoped.

    3. Be aware of the rules and regulations

    Although there are relatively few regulations specifically targeted at dog walkers, businesses providing a service must get public liability insurance.

    If this is the start-up business idea for you, be aware you may have to deal with dogs injuring other dogs or people while in your charge.

    It’s vital to have the right insurance cover to deal with legal claims, should they arise.

    They can help provide you with support and advice on dog walkers insurance and training, plus your membership will give your clients confidence.

    To ensure you abide by key regulations, Narps suggest you should:

    • Meet owners prior to the first booking
    • Restrict the number of dogs walked to no more than four at a time
    • Keep records of all work undertaken
    • Protect clients’ personal information

    All dogs in public must wear a collar with the owners name and address on it and you could be fined up to £1,000 if you fail to clean up its faeces.

    While not the most exciting element of running your own business, it’s crucial you keep abreast of the latest rules and regulations to ensure you’re not jeopardising the safety of others or the reputation of your business.

    4. Find a niche in the market

    Given the popularity of setting up a dog walking business, it’s very probable you’ll have to find a niche to distinguish yourself from the crowd.

    Above all else, carry out market research and see if there’s actually room in your area for another dog walker.

    A simple google search or contacting NarpsUK will help a lot in this regard.

    Consider offering pet sitting as well as dog walking. Much like babysitting, you’ll mind your client’s pets at their home while they are away, as well as feeding them and attending to any medical needs such as medication or fulfilling dietary requirements.

    Having a diploma in pet medication would be advantageous in this instance as it would allow you to cater to a specific group of dogs.

    Provided you are properly trained, you could also offer grooming services such as hair cutting or washing.

    Offering one-to-one intense sessions with larger dogs could also widen your appeal.

    Some dogs simply won’t be satisfied by a trip around the block and will require a more strenuous workout.

    For more information on starting a dog walking business, take a look atour in-depth guide to help you prepare for the launch of your start-up.

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