Funding concerns the main hurdle to starting a business
Concern about funding is the main issue holding women back from starting their own business, according to a Workingmums.co.uk poll.
The poll of 631 working mums found that 45 per cent were worried about how they would finance starting a business. Some 23 per cent said lack of confidence was the major barrier for them and for 22 per cent it was the lack of a business idea.
The funding concerns included worries about funding any training that might be needed. One mum said: “99% of the time I feel I'm going to explode with new and, in my opinion, exciting ideas. However, I have a bad credit history and could not under any circumstance approach a bank/building society, although I am not 'bankrupt nor listed as such'. Funding is a massive issue. I also feel I need to be more abreast of the risks associated with any business venture if it's to be profitable and training is a must and ideal for me, but, again, finance raises its ugly head.”.
Another said: “I know what I would like to do and feel I have the skills to do the work. But I don't know if there is a market for the service nor how to readily find out. And if there is where will I get the funds to market my company? I checked out the Government's "new initiative" hoping to make use of the help ... what a disappointment ... very little of real, tangible help available.”
Confidence about how to sell yourself was a big stumbling block for some. One mum, Evelyn Weinstein, said she found marketing hard. “Running my own business requires me to market myself and/or my services. It is in this area that my confidence needs improvement. Having to "sell" is something I always knew I would have difficulty doing.”
Another counselled that you can train yourself in marketing techniques and said there were low-cost marketing tools available.
Emma Jones, founder of home business support organisation Enterprisenation.com and co-founder of Start-Up Britain, said: "The poll findings don't come as a surprise. As the Government reduces funds for small business support (rightly so, in my view) business owners are looking elsewhere to source funds. Alternatives to governments grants are already emerging with options such as crowdsourced funding via www.crowdcube.com and money available through competitions and awards such as Barclays Take One Small Step and the Shell LiveWIRE Awards. To overcome the lack of confidence, start by taking small steps. Seriously, this approach works! Start by writing a business plan, producing business cards or making sales to friends and family. You can do this whilst holding down a day job and it will build your confidence.
"I understand that when starting out you question your business idea and question your own confidence and ability to get started. But really, there's never been a better time to start and there's never been so much support on offer from corporate providers and your peers. Please make the most of it so by the time of the next Workingmums.co.uk poll you are saying what a great move you made in becoming your own boss!"
She added that the reference made to the Government's new initiative may be about StartUp Britain of which she is a co-founder. "We haven't received any funds from the Government so it's very much a business initiative, run by small business owners, with high support from the government! In terms of what the campaign offers, we don't deliver hands-on and practical support, as there are many quality companies already doing that, but we do point you in the direction you will find this support. The campaign shines a spotlight on the awards, events and resources you can access. But you can also apply to be mentored (for free) by successful entrepreneurs as part of the campaign."
Next week the campaign is supporting a Marketing4StartUp Britain Week that sees top agencies open their doors every day to offer free advice to small businesses.