ANYONE wanting to set up their own business this year is in the right place to do so – as Gloucestershire is the second best spot in the UK for start ups.
And Gloucester mum Krista Nicholas couldn’t agree more.
The 41-year-old, from Longlevens, turned her life around when she lost her job at Debenhams after 22 years by setting up her own gifts business last year. And business is booming.
“It’s ideal for me, with two young kids, being able to be my own boss and working from home,” she said.
“I started small scale by going to craft fairs at schools to run stalls and the more I got to know how it all works, the easier it has become. I had help setting up the business from my sister who sorted out my website and my brother who got it connected to Paypal.
“I also took up a business course through the Jobcentre which was really good for me.”
Her business, Button Gifts, has gone from strength to strength.
Krista added: “I am having a nice quiet spell after Christmas but in February I’m heading to a spring fair which will give me a whole load of inspiration for the year ahead.”
Her firm was up and running six months after losing her job.
So while Charley, seven, and Ruby, five, are at school in Longlevens, Krista is furiously making bespoke button-inspired gifts for her growing client list.
She made £4,500 profit in her first year, proving new start ups can work here, and has shipped items all over the UK and to Australia, New Zealand and Germany thanks to advertising her business on Facebook.
Businesses survive better in Gloucestershire than almost anywhere else in the country.
Denise Kirby was able to step up from her stall at Eastgate Market to open children’s boutique Poppy and Harry’s, in Westgate Street, after receiving a £4,500 rent grant from Gloucester City Council along with support for setting up her shop. She said: “I realised there was a massive, almost untapped market of supplying families with a cheaper option, namely pre-loved clothes, baby equipment, toys and books.”
The 2013 report by GFirst, the Gloucestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, reported that in 2012, nearly 4,000 businesses were started in the county.
And with a three-year survival rate of 63.5 per cent, the county is second only to Cumbria.
David Owen, chief executive of GFirst LEP, said: “Gloucestershire leads the way. The economic climate in Gloucestershire is extremely favourable for startups, with a highly skilled workforce to draw on.”
10 TIPS FOR STARTING A NEW BUSINESS
1. Start with an idea
If you’re thinking of starting up a business, you’ll first need to come up with a realistic idea that you can turn into a product or service.
2. Register your idea
You might have already come up with an idea for a business you think there’s a market for, or invented something you think people will want to buy. Register your idea to make sure nobody copies it without your permission. You can do this at gov.uk – the Government’s online portal.
3. Research your market
Identify potential customers. Talk to them and find out if your idea is meeting a real need.
4. Develop and plan
Test your product or service with real customers, make changes, and test it again. Keep doing this until you’re sure there’s a demand for it.
5. Find partners and suppliers
Think about who you’re going to work with to develop and sell your idea.
6. Formally register your business
It’s important to understand the different risks and benefits before you choose - whether you set up as a sole trader, limited company or partnership affects the amount of financial risk you’re taking on, the way you’ll need to pay tax and how much control you have over how your business is run.
7. Get insurance for your business
Even if you are not employing someone you will need to get insurance for your firm. Visit the British Insurance Brokers’ Association website for a searchable list of possible insurers.
8. Working with advisors
Consider that you might need an accountant or legal advisor to make sure everything is done above board. An accountant can help with things like financial advice and managing growth. You can also appoint them as an ‘agent’ to deal with your tax affairs.
9. Get funding
Explore different sources of business finance, from bank loans to government-backed schemes.
10. If in doubt, ask for help.
The Government runs the Business Support Helpline, which can be contacted on 0845 600 9006 from Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm, for any queries.