Starting up is safer with support…..

Author: 
Caroline Williams, Chief Executive, Norfolk Chamber of Commerce

There are few things more exciting than starting your own business. Suddenly you’re in control of your own destiny.

But, and without for a moment trying to dampen the enthusiasm of any would be entrepreneur, it can be daunting.

Let’s take some things as given. You’ve done the research; you know that there is a demand for your product or service. You’ve worked out if this is something you can do alone, or if you need staff, premises or plant and equipment. You have a business plan!

Now comes that minor detail of starting to sell. And get paid. The cash flow machine kicks in.

So now let’s assume that all of that is working perfectly. And why shouldn’t it?

Well, it might just falter if you’ve tried to get that far without any external support, or guidance. There are financial issues, legal questions, taxation and employment matters, not to mention exporting knowledge.

Norfolk is a veritable hot bed for start ups, with businesses of all sizes and across all the sectors, taking the leap every day.

As someone once said. ‘If you want to get somewhere it’s good to talk to someone whose been’. There’s a wealth of experience, knowledge and advice out there from people who have already trodden the paths of commerce, and engaging with them is a vital part of running a fledgling business.

Networking events, workshops, trade shows, business debates and forums are all vital opportunities to learn, connect and gather knowledge. And meet potential customers!

It’s certainly fair to say that the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce see start ups as a key part of our business. Check out all the benefits we have for start ups at a very special deal of just £99 for the year.

And no, I’d not forgotten the internet. Of course there are countless online resources you can tap into. But, will they ever beat the face to face contact with real people who operate in your geographic area? No, they won’t. They’ll complement it, widen your horizons and give you some valuable insights, but they won’t cancel out the need for close to home support and direction when you need it most. At the start.

In  fact, there’s considerable merit in using local groups and meetings to do some of that research before you start. Meeting people and asking them about your business idea is a very direct - and very inexpensive - form of market research.

Once you’re up and running of course it won’t be long before people are seeking you out to ask advice. It will be flattering. But it will also be a brilliant way to keep in touch with what’s going on and who is starting out - possibly as your newest competitors. Best to find out early.

Best to find out as much as you can - because taking the leap is exciting, but support is crucial.

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