Starting a business can be daunting; there are a lot of considerations, a lot of planning and many different resources and avenues to explore. Understanding all of this can be a challenging and daunting task, this is where speaking to a business adviser comes in. They can clarify what information is needed and why, what actions to take next and why: so that a big idea becomes a business reality.
Wendy is a business adviser with the City Business Library and says: “I help support new business owners by helping them source relevant and valuable information, I do this via one-to-one sessions, group training and events.”
Wendy has been working with the City Business Library for over a decade, in that time she received her SFEDI Professional Business and Enterprise Service Support Level 5 qualification. Wendy helps anyone who wants to turn their great idea into their business.
“Research is a boring word for most people, but this is where we come in,” says Wendy. “Before you decide whether you should work for yourself you can get some security from conducting research into your finances, your industry sector, your competition and your customers.”
Wendy knows that sometimes the word money can be a dirty word, but the reality is that money makes dreams a reality. She says: “You need money to be successful, you need to be able to pay for your home, electricity, internet and phone, you need money to pay your suppliers.
“Having a healthy cash flow allows you to be able to pay the bills – many people I work with are not comfortable with numbers or budgets, so a business adviser can help here too.”
“You may have a great idea, but you know that there are organisations out there that do something similar while it’s nice to be unique, you don’t have to be,” says Wendy. “What matters is that there is a demand for your product or service. Your idea doesn’t need to be radical; it can simply be that you are an interesting person that people love to do business with.”
Wendy knows that not everyone is cut out to be self-employed, it takes a lot of work, a lot of energy and a lot of passion, saying: “I am one of those people who tried being self-employed and recognised that it wasn’t my thing. What I do know is that research is the foundation to starting your business.”
The City Business Library provides access to key market research databases integral to writing a clear business plan. “Research can seem tedious when you just want to get on and start your business, but the fact that you’ve taken the time to research means that you will know your target audience, where you fit in, if there’s likely to be enough interest in your business idea – it can be hard, but by the time you’ve finished it you’ve addressed all the important questions – which means that you are ready to get going on what you’re passionate about.”
Wendy’s favourite part of supporting new businesses for the City Business Library is meeting new people: “Meeting these people keeps me enthralled! The passion, the drive, the energy and the knowledge my customers bring is incredible.
“I never cease to be amazed at how creative and skillful people are. I love that people are so good at what they do that they are able to make a great business from it and create something that without them wouldn’t exist at all.”
When starting out, Wendy suggests asking for help: “Being self-employed is often described as lonely, and you may feel that you have to do it all. But, why not outsource some of these elements such as tax and accounting or website design to someone else.
“None of us can do everything, so outsourcing when it is cost-effective helps – why spend days or weeks trying to do something that an expert can do in short period of time at low cost. Remember, your time is money now – make sure you are spending it well.”
Starting your own business? The City Business Library can connect you to resources, networks and events to help you. Whether you are looking for a dedicated business adviser to help you write your business plan, network with other founders or research diverse businesses, we are here to help.
Learn more about the City Business Library on the CBL website. There are business one-to-ones, market research resources, seminars, networking and events. We can help turn your passion into your new business.