Home finance Online networking to robust planning — how to start a small business during lockdown

Online networking to robust planning — how to start a small business during lockdown

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Online networking to robust planning — how to start a small business during lockdown


NOW may be the time to finally unlock your business idea.

Launches of micro-businesses — with fewer than ten employees — rose 14 per cent in the last lockdown.

Micro-businesses now make up a fifth of the economy

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Micro-businesses now make up a fifth of the economyCredit: Getty Images – Getty

With millions still furloughed and thousands more facing redundancy, more and more of us are expected to go it alone.

An extra 59,358 firms were created between June and August compared to the same period last year.

Micro-businesses now make up a fifth of the economy — and are the focus of today’s Sunemployment page.

But the most action is among suburban entrepreneurs as people embrace working from home.

Web-hosting firm GODADDY says the frontline includes the M1 corridor around Milton Keynes, the North West powerhouse around Burnley and Bolton, South Wales, the West Mids suburbs, and parts of North and East London such as Hackney and Waltham Forest.

GoDaddy’s study found 15 per cent of entrepreneurs made the leap due to job loss or furlough but 85 per cent saw their firms continuing post-pandemic.

GoDaddy’s Irana Wasti says: “Suburban hubs are home to thriving microbusinesses and side-hustlers.

“Lockdown has forced changes — getting businesses to go online, or individuals to use time at home to turn a business idea into reality.

“They may be small enterprises but do not underestimate their economic impact, particularly on local communities.”

Lockdown business

SANDY Shergill set up business Bubble & Scrub during the first lockdown, producing eco-friendly toiletries for children.

The Wolverhampton mum-of-three, 35, says: “My firm is small but I have big dreams, so I used the last lock-down to ensure I developed the right products and the right message for our brand.

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“It’s been great to be able to stop and really think about the direction to take, like manufacturing only in the UK to help other local firms, and ensuring children become environmentally conscious.

“If you plan to launch a business in lockdown, my advice is to study your market. If there is a demand, follow it and find your USP.

“Don’t start anything blindly, and speak to people in the industry. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice.”

Tips for going it alone

LAUNCHING a business now may seem scary but could turn out to be the best thing you ever did.

Author Carl Reader, who wrote start-up handbook Boss It, says: “As the world of work changes due to Covid, many are considering going it alone as a way of making sure they are in control of what they do.”

Author Carl Reader has written a start-up handbook

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Author Carl Reader has written a start-up handbookCredit: SHOOT ME PHOTOGRAPHIC

Here are Carl’s top tips:

  1. Work out where your idea sits in the market. Do plenty of research and understand what products or services are likely to sell.
  2. Create a robust plan. Map out what you intend to do and when you will do it.
  3. Do not rely on best wishes. Friends and family might love your business but their enthusiasm will not pay the bills. Do not depend on their support when you need money in the bank.
  4. Do not wait for customers to come to you. Network online, find creative ways to promote your business and make sure that your target customers see you.
  5. Remember to make a profit. This might sound really obvious, but take time to understand the nuts and bolts of your business so you can ensure you set your prices at a level that is profitable.
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Google gurus

SEARCHES for “business help” are up 287 per cent this year, as more people set up their own companies, while “business advice” drew a third more hunts.

To help, GOOGLE has teamed up with the charity Digital Boost to offer 10,000 hours of free and valuable mentoring for owners of small businesses.

Google has teamed up with the charity Digital Boost to offer 10,000 hours of free and valuable mentoring for owners of small businesses

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Google has teamed up with the charity Digital Boost to offer 10,000 hours of free and valuable mentoring for owners of small businessesCredit: Getty Images – Getty

Sessions include how to attract loyal customers through local listings, and how to increase customer sales by using social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Google UK boss Ronan Harris says: “Our work with Digital Boost aims to upskill local business owners, charities and individuals by helping them adapt to the ever-changing current climate.”

Jobspots

  • WAITROSE needs 1,850 drivers and “pickers” for stores and distribution centres across the UK, to cope with surging online orders. Apply at jlpjobs.com/search-jobs
  • HOUSEWARES firm WHAT MORE UK is looking to hire six new staff, including for work in sales and manufacturing. To apply, email your CV to vacancies@whatmoreuk.com

 

eBay start-up aid

WITH many microbusinesses first choosing to set up on eBAY, the online retail giant has launched a new Pay As You Grow scheme to boost their profitability.

Under the initiative, first-time sellers will not be charged listing fees or final-value fees for their first 100 sales each month.

eBay has launched a new Pay As You Grow scheme to boost micro-businesses' profitability

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eBay has launched a new Pay As You Grow scheme to boost micro-businesses’ profitabilityCredit: EPA

Fees will then be cut by 50 per cent for the next 100 sales and by 25 per cent for the 100 sales following that each month.

The program runs until the end of the year.

Murray Lambell, eBay’s UK boss, says: “Britain is teeming with would-be entrepreneurs and business people.

“We just need to give them a helping hand and the encouragement they need to get their businesses running.”

Rishi Sunak extends furlough scheme through to March 2021 with more support for the self-employed


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