Thinking of starting up in business?

Losing your job could be just the opportunity you’ve been waiting for. Rather than getting a new job, you might decide to start a business, work for yourself and use your skills, experience and contacts to be your own boss.

Starting your own business – the pros and cons

The key to starting a successful business is to plan, plan and then plan some more.

Working for yourself can be very rewarding and, in some cases, highly profitable.

It’s a chance to do something that really interests you in a way that fits in with your lifestyle and commitments.

Now for the bad news. Most new businesses end in failure.

You could end up working ridiculously long hours, dealing with lots of red tape, and investing a lot of money, only for your business to fail.

HMRC have created an easy to use Interactive guide for anyone looking to start a new business in the UK.

Getting help – look before you leap

Fortunately, when it comes to starting your own business, there’s plenty of help and advice out there.

Government-backed advice services around the UK will help you with everything from creating a business plan and researching the market, to finding finance and recruiting staff.

So, depending on where you live, they should be your first port of call.

Case study – Mikael

“I’d wanted to go out on my own for years, but never had the courage to do it. You get too comfy don’t you, what with overtime, pension and company car? But when the firm went bust, I realised it was just the opportunity I needed.”

“I used my redundancy money to buy second-hand gear, and convinced a couple of the firm’s old customers to give me a contract. It started slowly but now, five years later, the business has gone from strength to strength. I even employ three of the engineers from the old firm.”

Case study – Sonya

“I guess I just got carried away with the whole thing. Looking back at it, why would anyone get into records and CDs when everyone else was getting out? But I’d always dreamed of owning a music shop and there was no telling me.”

Draw up a budget

Drawing up a budget and sticking to it can be the difference between success and failure for your business.

Business Debtline has a handy budgeting tool for self-employed people and small businesses, as well as free help and advice if you get into debt.

Work out your business and personal budget on the Business Debtline website.

Thinking of buying a franchise?

If you are interested in becoming self-employed, franchising might be worth considering.

Franchising is where you buy a licence from the owner of a business to use their business idea.

It means that you should be trading under an established brand, and the deal should include training and guidance on setting up.

But be aware of scams, check that the brand is established and that the franchiser is marketing the brand actively.

To find out more about franchising visit the British Franchise Association’s website.
There’s more about buying a franchise on the NI Business Info website.

Find out more

If you have been out of work and on benefits for at least six months, you might qualify for financial help and a business mentor.

For more information about the New Enterprise Allowance scheme see the Department for Work and Pensions website.
Find out about practical and financial support for young people (up to age 30) on the Prince’s Trust websiteopens in new window.

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