Starting a business? Your questions answered

Workingmums.co.uk put your questions to Business in You, a Government website which aims to give advice and support to people running their own businesses. Your questions ranged from how to get a business mentor to marketing. Read the answers below.

Question: I have a great desire to open my own cafe and also to start a company that allows me to sell my art craft work. But I’m having difficulty in figuring out how to get financial help. Could I get help with my business plan and advice from mentors? How can I find them? I live in Worthing, West Sussex.

Business in You: A mentor can be a great source of business advice, especially when it comes to business plans and financial advice.  Mentorsme can connect you with a host of business mentors, some of whom are former or current high street bank employees and might be very helpful at this stage in your venture. You can find a mentor in your area by visiting Mentorsme. On the right hand side of the homepage, choose your business stage and region, and tick the box next to “Interested in Bank Mentors.” This will return a list of results for you to review and select the best fit.  Learn more about mentoring at  Business in You.

Question: I am over 30 but need funds to help me start up a business selling hand-crafted gifts. Where can I look for help?

Business in You: There are load of options for financial help available, from traditional loans to alternative funding. You can learn more about various options and what might work best for your business by visiting the Finance section on Business in You. From there you will find links to the Business Finance and Support Finder, which will ask a series of questions and returns a list of the types of finance that would work best for your needs. You will also find a link to Business Finance for You, which provides information about a broad range of options so you can pursue what sounds right.

Question: I’ve started a hairdressing business with a creche on the side and I want to take on new recruits. Is there any advice out there on how to go about handling the red tape involved?

Business in You: Congratulations – it sounds like your business is doing well. Taking on employees may be easier than it seems. Check out this helpful guide on  taking on your first employee, as well as this blog post about fictitious red tape. You can find further information about employing staff, including recruiting assistance specifically for small businesses, through Business in You.

Question: I have started a business and want to promote it outside my local area, but I haven’t got a marketing budget to hire a marketing expert. How do I do this?

Business in You: The first place to start is with a website. Research shows that businesses with a strong web presence are more likely to succeed. But it doesn’t necessarily require a marketing expert to build a good website and use social media platforms to market your business. For advice and tips on building and marketing your website, visit  Marketing Donut.

Question: I am working around my child’s sleep patterns as I can’t afford childcare. This has worked so far as I have been able to call in family help for meetings, etc. But now my daughter is a toddler and doesn’t sleep so much and my family help is no longer available. I was hoping to have built the business up enough by now to afford regular childcare, but I can only afford the odd day. However, this does not necessarily cover meetings. Is there any childcare available that is more flexible or is there any way a self-employed person can get help with childcare costs?

Business in You: If you are in or near London, one option you might want to consider is Third Door, a small business that offers workspace and nursery care, under one roof, for the self-employed. You can also search Workingmums.co.uk’s flexible childcare resources for advice and information from other parents who may be in the same situation.

Find out if you are eligible for tax credits or other benefits for families that can help cover the costs of childcare. From 2017, parents who work over 16 hours a week – whether on an employed or self-employed basis – and earn the national minimum wage [at least £115.20 a week for over 25s], but under £100,000 a year will be able to access an additional 15 hours of free childcare and tax-free childcare will also be available to the self employed when it comes in. You can also look for information on options that would offer more flexible childcare.  NIDirect also provides information on childcare benefits and tax credits.  For additional information on childcare tax credits and vouchers, read this article at Money Saving Expert.  Workingmums.co.uk also has lots of advice and information on family support.

Question: I want to expand my market internationally as I think it has potential international reach. How do I get help on researching European markets?

Business in You: The Department for International Trade can help you get started with international markets. Through the department, you can commission market research reports on specific markets. You can also meet with an expert trade advisor in your local area who can help you determine if you are ready to work in international markets, which markets to target, and how to get started in the right direction.

Quick answers to questions like these – and many more topics related to starting or running a business – can be found at  Business in You.  Business in You brings together resources and information from a broad range of Government and private companies to make it easy for businesses and entrepreneurs to find what they need to get their businesses going and growing. It also shares stories from real small business owners to capture their experiences and help other businesses find ideas and inspiration to meet their challenges.

Additionally, the Business Support Helpline is available provide a quick response service to people with questions about starting or running a business and those who are unable to find the support they are looking for via web-based services. For businesses that are in need of additional assistance or who have more complex issues, more personalised and in-depth advice is available through a small team of Business Support Advisers. Contact the Helpline at 0300 456 3565 or email enquiries@businesssupporthelpline.org (9.00am – 6.00pm Monday to Friday).

*If you have any questions relating to starting up or running a business, send them to mandy.garner@workingmums.co.uk. We have business experts who can advise you.

 


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