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11 Answers

  1. Hi Louise,

    You can certainly get advice and guidance, but funding will depend on things such as:

    - where the business will be located (not all areas have financial assistance)
    - the nature of your proposed businesses (some businesses are usually exempt from grant assistance, eg pubs, nightclubs, religious businesses and taxi drivers. Also, in my area, the local authority is not prepared to financially assist tilers, plasterers, hairdressers and beauty salons, as we have so many already)
    - what you need financial assistance for (stock and personal wages are usually ineligible items)

    I recommend speaking to either your local enterprise agency (www.nfea.com), Business Link (www.businesslink.gov.uk) or Economic Development at your local council.

    In addition, your local JobCentre Plus may be able to provide information about any incentives they may have to encourage people to take up self-employment. They do work in partnership with an organisation called Inbiz (http://www.inbiz.co.uk/inbiz-in-your-region), which runs a program to help unemployed people who are considering going into self-employment.

    Good luck,

  2. If you are under 30 (?) you could try the Princes Tust. They can offer advice and in some cases funding for self employment. http://www.princes-trust.org.uk/

  3. It would be interesting to know what you need the funding for. Entrepreneurs, during the early phase of the business often run marketing campaigns with no money - using inbound marketing techniques: that's where your customers find you, rather than you advertise to them (usually a web site or Blog).

    Also, you might like to come along to a "pre-start" mentoring service at UCS (University Campus Suffolk in Ipswich) to be launched in August - it's free at the point of delivery (The Waterfront Building) and available for anyone with an idea to start up a business, but doesn't know where to begin.

    Keep your eyes open in the business press in the next couple of weeks, and don't give up on the idea!

  4. Whatever you do make sure to keep costs as low as possible.

    Remember marketing costs are flexible, like adding your listing to directories.

    Also a lot of advice is for free, try business link and so on.

    Good luck.


  5. There are a number of factors to consider and finance is available but, it can be a little long winded. Business Angels and Venture Capitalist could help you but, you would need to have sometype of a business plan and deliver it with conviction. Or, if you have an invention that solves a lot of problems, this may also be looked at by a business angel or venture capitalist firm.

    What is your business model?

  6. If you are in the East of England and have been declined for business finance from the bank try Foundation East.



  7. Good Day,
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  8. Hi Louise,

    This has got to me one of the most common questions that I get asked by small businesses. Please see my response below - it is somehwat generic but it should provide you with some insights.

    A lot depends on the type of business and the situation however the first step is to ensure that you have a good proposition for any prospective financier. Just a few weeks ago I was speaking to a commercial lending manager for a large bank. During our discussions he mentioned that despite the current economic climate, they are approving around 80% of good applications currently.

    OK… So what is a “good” application..?

    1) You absolutely need to have a business plan. Without one of these you pretty much have no chance and as first impressions count, I wouldn’t suggest trying your hand without a business plan expecting that you’ll get a second shot by producing one and making another appointment!

    2) You need to be able to demonstrate a knowledge of the business (or proposed business), your target market and the industry that you will be operating in.

    3) The cash…. How much you need, why, how long will you need it for and what you’ll be spending it on. It is important to state quite clearly how much you actually need. For example if you ask for 100k when you actually need 150k but expect that the bank won’t go that high – the chances are that a savvy commercial lending manager will see through this, you’ll look as if you don’t have a true understanding of the finance requirements of your own business – and the answer won’t be the one you’re wanting to hear!

    If you’re wanting the cash for use as working capital – ask yourself “Do I need all the money in one lump sum”? If the answer is no then you can negotiate with the lender to release it in stages provided that you meet certain pre-defined milestones. This can be a more compelling business case for the lender as their risk is reduced in this instance.

    In addition;

    Do you have anything that you can offer as security? This reduces the risk and makes the proposition appear more appealing.

    Are you contributing any of your own funds to the venture? If so – again, this makes the proposition appear more appealing because it demonstrates your own belief in your venture in that you are prepared to put your own assets on the line.

    Venture Capital – Have you approached any of these organisations? With VC’s they will want to acquire some equity in the venture in return for their cash (and may want to place someone on the board) however on the upside often they come with significant experience and contacts which can help to propel your business forward. They generally are less risk averse than the banks however their costs are higher. VC’s tend to want to keep the investment in the business for a relatively short time before harvest so will want to have a clear exit strategy agreed at the outset.

    Another option is Business Angels. They are similar to VC’s however tend to want to assist new business ventures for more philanthropic reasons.

    Finally I’d suggest locating one of the government run business support agencies in your area. They are likely to have the latest information regarding grants and other funding that may be available and may also be able to assist with developing a business plan and marketing strategy if you do not already have these in place.

    I wish you the very best of luck!


  9. Hi Louise,

    Just picking up on a couple of comments from above re costs.

    Some practical approaches to keeping costs down:

    1. If you want to form a company you can download the paper work from www.companieshouse.gov.uk. The forms very simple to complete. I have just done this myself saved me GBP100 to GBP200. If you need help email me, happy to talk you through, and there's no charge I'am not selling anything.

    2. If you need a computer and don't have one try and find a good second hand one. If you load Linux (Ubuntu) it's free and will get the best out of older slower machines. When you load it, it loads up open office so you have an office package. Again its all free. We have changed over from Microsoft and have had no problems. Don't worry because it not windows its really easy to use.

    3. Stationary, if you have a computer and a printer get some good quality paper and make up you own template for letters etc. They will be fine until you get some money in and can have some printed. You may find you don't need to. In one charity for which I volunteer, we bought a good quality colour laser printer and everything is printed from that. We have found it costs no more because we don't have to carry stock and we don't have waste when we make a change.

    4. Web site, this is a hornets nest for most people. To keep costs down go to wordpress.com and sign-up for their free blog. It will give you web presence that you can put on marketing material business cards etc. It comes with templates so all you need to do is select the one and add the content.Once you have some money you can transfer to your own domain.

    5. I use Skype for my phone its cheaper and so far I have had no problems. My business operates as a network of consultants we are scattered all over so we use it all the time for text, video and voice.



  10. I was in a similar situation last year - I went to Job Centre Plus, who put me onto the local councils business link who have been very supportive - they even came to my place to talk thru what they could do for me. All gave nothing but encouragement and advice and they gave me the confidence to actually do it! One year on, no profit as yet, but it's coming! I wish you luck and don't forget - hard work and determination gets you a lot further than just thinking about it!!

  11. If by funding you mean a grant, then it’s very unlikely in a district like Rochford.

    There are a limited number of quite specialist opportunities, however the are challenging and will alwayr equire a well thought out business proposal. As already suggested your starting point would be to contact Business Link/East – www.businesslinkeast.org.uk or telephone 08457 17 16 15 they will be able to point you in the right direction and offer small grant via a ‘voucher scheme’ that enables you to purchase specialist advise at no cost to yourself. – Good luck

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