It often takes people years to make the decision to start a company and even then, there is a lot of planning and preparation to make it a viable and profitable enterprise, however this shouldn’t put prospective business owners off, as there has never been a better time to start-up.
Focusing on the Leeds City Region, there is an abundance of support available to start-ups and young businesses including workshops, training sessions and seminars and many of them are free of charge!
Long gone are the days when people had to worry about how they would learn about finance, marketing, business planning and the necessary administrative skills that come with owning a business, a quick internet search will give you a lengthy list of professionals that you can turn to.
Practical help and advice from those that have a proven track record is incredibly useful when you start out and knowing that these sessions are often facilitated through universities or public sector funded bodies provides further credibility by association.
Launching a business should be exciting but it can often be surprisingly isolating too when you are working all of the hours to get your idea off the ground. Building on the practical support that is available locally, there are also strong networks which can be a real lifeline.
There are many networking groups throughout the Leeds City Region and so it is worthwhile trying them all at least once to see which suits you the best. There is no need to go along to something you don’t enjoy when you have an abundance to choose from, so consider your objectives and find the group that you feel will be of most use to you.
As well as accessing suppliers and possible customers, these organised gatherings can also give you the chance to meet with people that will become life-long friends, supporters and advocates of your business and this really can be invaluable.
Having the chance to develop trusted relationships and to speak to others that are likely to be in the same – or a similar position – will give you a platform to share your concerns, which can then be addressed in a group setting providing reassurance and advice.
Interestingly, in addition to practical support and strong networks, throughout the Leeds City Region there is also the opportunity to apply for grant funding. This can give young companies the chance to take their longer-term ideas and make them happen.
As well as focusing on short term goals, we all know it’s important to have a three or five-year plan in place and that is where grants can really come into play. Putting targets in place of what you hope to achieve is the first step and asking for funds to bring those forward is the next.
Some of the funding programmes that are available can be found in a previous article from Yorkshire Powerhouse here.
There is absolutely no reason why a business should struggle when there are programmes available that can offer professional support, networking and grants, it makes no sense what-so-ever. Taking advantage of the opportunities that are available will not only benefit your business but it’s what they are there for and the more people that use them, the more likely they are to continue.
If you want to make the most of the infrastructure that the Leeds City Region has to offer simply follow the suggestions below:
- Take five minutes to do a quick search on the internet to find local organisations that can provide you with practical support, for example AD:VENTURE is perfect for start ups with a growth focus!
- Think about the skills you are lacking and choose the course, sessions and seminars that will give you access to professionals that can help
- Look into networking groups and make it a priority to visit one a month – don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to do too much, it will be counter productive
- Write down what your short and longer-term plans are – if you haven’t already – and consider what you could achieve if funding was available
- Pick up the phone and speak to a dedicated business advisor about how you can get the best from the programmes in your local area
It is important to remember that unlike traditional businesses many of the organisations that are delivering support actually work together rather than competing so it’s fine to ask them if there are any other opportunities that you can capitalise upon.
They will put you in touch with other programmes that could take your business from standing start to success story.
So……what are you waiting for?