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Starting your own business

If starting a business is a new experience for you, there are many things you need to learn. Some tasks will be easy, others seemingly impossible, but even your mistakes will offer valuable lessons.

Don’t rush the initial stages. Whilst your time is a valuable resource, it isn’t the most critical factor when launching a new business. Use your time wisely, checking facts and figures, investigating your potential market. Speak to potential clients. Ask questions which allow you to take on board suggestions about how you could do business before you begin.

There’s also plenty of advice, support and practical resources for new businesses – if you look in the right places.

Business Link ( is government’s online resource for businesses. It contains essential information, support and services for all types of business.

Particularly useful is the organisation’s online Business Start-up Organiser (, which enables you to create a personalised list of key start-up tasks.

The Start-up Donut

Free advice, tools and resources are availiable on this website set up and run by the National Enterprise Network.

Federation of Small Businesses

The FSB believe that anyone who has a good idea and takes a risk to put it into practice and grow a business is an entrepreneur. These are the people that we champion – the Real Life Entrepreneurs.

Making the change from employment to self employment

Whatever your business idea or current job, making the move from employment to self employment is a big step and it means that you need to think about a few things carefully before you go full steam ahead.

Take some time out to reflect. Redundancy can be a big emotional upheaval. You need time to assess whether setting up in business is right for you, whether the timing is right, and whether you can dedicate yourself to the challenges ahead.

Running your own business will inevitably involve large responsibilities. You will have to make many important decisions, which can create pressure, especially when your livelihood might be at stake.

To fund your new business, you might have to invest personal savings or use your possessions to guarantee money you borrow. Alternatively, you might borrow money from friends or family. You need to consider the full implications if the business were to fail and you couldn’t afford to meet your commitments.

Weigh up the advantages & disadvantages of working for yourself compared to working for someone else

Becoming self employed means that you need to be comfortable taking a risk. All changes in life involve a certain amount of risk, and being self employed is no different. But as with all changes, there are ways to reduce the amount of risk involved, and starting a business is no different.

One way to reduce risk might be to see if you could start your business on a part-time basis at first whilst still working for someone else. This gives you time with some income coming in when you can ‘test’ out your business.

It will also let you see if you like working for yourself and could imagine working for yourself full time.

Think about how your work-life balance is now (while working for someone else) compared to working for yourself

The daily demands of running your own business can overtake your life, as the lines between home and work often become blurred. You might have to give up your evenings and weekends. Many business owners use such times to catch up on administrative tasks. Similarly, many people who work for themselves can’t take four weeks’ holiday each year, especially while getting the business up and running.

However, you are running your own business so you are in control of how much and when you work. After the initial set-up pressures have abated you should be able to structure your work around your family or priorities in the way that best suits you. Understand about the skills you have that you could transfer from employment to self employment. Transferable skills are just that – skills that you’ve gained in life that you can move around and use in a different situation.

Set goals and get started turning your idea into reality

Nobody can predict what is likely to happen if you do decide to go ahead and start your own business, but good financial planning and market research will certainly help you achieve a positive outcome.

To start, ask yourself the following questions to support your planning process:

  • How will your business grow?
  • How do you intend to get there?
  • What will be the need for funding now and in the future?
  • What are the opportunities now that you want to take advantage of?
  • What will be the future threats to your business and how will you overcome them?

Good luck

Useful contacts:

Starting a Business

Federation of Small Businesses
01285 740550

Outset Bristol

Outset Bristol provides free training and support to people who are considering starting their own business in Bristol. You don’t even need a business idea – just be open to finding out whether self-employment could be for you. The Outset Bristol training programme is composed of 16 three-hour workshops aimed at taking you all the way from considering self-employment to starting your own business. That's 48 hours of support for FREE!

Outset Bristol is funded by Bristol City Council and the European Regional Development Fund, and so is able to offer its training and support to residents of Bristol free of charge.

To find out more visit or call 0800 032 2903.