6.2 Developing your enterprise and finding help
There is a lot to running a successful business. If you don’t have the skills now, you could acquire them over time. There are many free courses on book-keeping and budgeting, marketing, social marketing and a host of useful tips you can find on OpenLearn and on the internet.
As you develop your enterprise you will also have a number of potential people who can offer support amongst friends, family or your extended network. While in the short term working with people you know and trust may be an obvious solution, it is worth thinking through whether this is in fact the best idea. There are pros and cons. Your friends and family will almost certainly have your best interests at heart, but they also have their own priorities, perhaps jobs and other responsibilities. Can you ensure that their investment or support is sustainable and won’t lead to an unacceptable risk or loss for them? Will you be able to pay them? Will the business be able to sustain all of your needs and ambitions? Will your relationships withstand disagreements, well intentioned advice that goes wrong, mistakes, long hours, and other inevitable pressures? Would having two people earning a living from the same business be an advantage or a pressure?
Of course, many family businesses work very well indeed. So far in the discussion above there has been more cons than pros. Take a moment now to find a counterbalance to these with some of the advantages that arise from working with people you trust and who may share your ambition.
As well as turning to family and friends, many public bodies also provide sources of support, resources, information and advice, and can signpost you to local organisations. You will find more specific and local support from organisations near you, but Activity 4 gives you a list of some organisations to start with in each of the UK nations and Ireland.
Activity 4 Finding useful resources
The links below are a list of useful sources of information, guidance and signposting. Make a note of, or bookmark, the links that may be most useful to you so you can come back to them at various points throughout the course and as you develop your business.
Entrepreneur Handbook on grants and funding for small businesses in the UK
Local Enterprise Partnership network of growth hubs in England
Social Enterprise UK covers all of the UK with members across the world
Business Gateway (Scotland)