If you’re trying to start your own business, you’ll be all too aware that there are a lot of considerations, a lot of planning, and many different resources and avenues to explore.
Understanding all of this can be a challenging and daunting task. And this is where speaking to a qualified business adviser comes in.
The right adviser can clarify what information is needed and why, and what actions to take next – ultimately so that a big idea can become a business reality.
Wendy Foster, a business adviser with the City Business Library for over a decade, is passionate about helping people with their business venture, from start-up to scale-up.
“I help support new business owners by helping them source relevant and valuable information, via one-to-one sessions, group training and events,” says Wendy.
“Research is a boring word for most people, but this is where we come in. Before you decide whether you should work for yourself, you can get some security from conducting research into your finances, your industry sector, your competition and your customers.”
Wendy knows that sometimes the word money can be a dirty word, but the reality is that money makes dreams a reality.
“You need money to be successful, you need to be able to pay for your home, electricity, internet and phone, you need money to pay your suppliers,” she says.
“Having a healthy cash flow allows you to be able to pay the bills. Many people I work with are not comfortable with numbers or budgets, so a business adviser can help here, too.”
And despite what you may think, your business idea doesn’t need to be completely original, believes Wendy, reassuringly.
“You may have a great idea, but you know that there are organisations out there that do something similar. And while it’s nice to be unique, you don’t have to be,” she says.
“What matters is that there is a demand for your product or service. Your idea doesn’t need to be radical; it can simply be that you are an interesting person that people love to do business with.”
If you’re looking for assistance, the City Business Library provides access to key market research databases integral to writing a clear business plan.
“Research can seem tedious when you just want to get on and start your business, but the fact that you’ve taken the time to research means that you will know your target audience, where you fit in, and if there’s likely to be enough interest in your business idea,” says Wendy.
“It can be hard, but by the time you’ve finished it you’ve addressed all the important questions – which means that you are ready to get going on what you’re passionate about.”
When first starting out, Wendy suggests asking for help rather than trying to do everything yourself.
“Being self-employed is often described as lonely, and you may feel that you have to do it all – but why not outsource some of these elements such as tax and accounting or website design to someone else?” she says.
“None of us can do everything, so outsourcing when it is cost-effective helps. Why spend days or weeks trying to do something that an expert can do in short period of time at low cost?
“Remember, your time is money now – make sure you are spending it well.”
The City Business Library provides dedicated one-to-one services based on your requirements. They can guide you through market research, business planning, financial planning and more – whether you are looking for a dedicated business adviser to help you write your business plan, network with other founders, or research diverse businesses.