Tag Archives: change

Our Smart start-up courses

30 Jul

Having just finished our latest free SMART Start up Business programme we are excited to start another this week, meeting new people wanting to start up their business and become self-employed. We have had a range of businesses from land management, jewellery makers to property services.

The course aims to give people the skills and confidence to start up their business, how to overcome some of the challenges of starting up and how to ensure that you have a successful business.

“It is a relaxed atmosphere where you are not bombarded with info but come out feeling very motivated”

The attendees really benefited from the support of others and felt happy to ask questions and share concerns as the learning is done in a relaxed friendly atmosphere.

Breaking the information down into 4, 3 hour sessions that build on each other makes the information clear and easy to understand and retain. The sessions cover Idea Development, Market Research, Finance and Funding and Marketing and Sales.

“I am due to meet my NEA Mentor next week. Really can’t wait to get things up and running now. Once again, thank you so much to you both for all your help, I found the course so helpful.”

The attendees came on to the course with a business idea and in some cases feeling a bit overwhelmed by how much they didn’t know and how much they needed to do.

One of the areas of concern for all was finance, with tax and registering with HMRC being the top worries. By the end of the session all felt much more confident and were surprised how simple everything can be.   By the end they all had a clear plan of their next steps.

“The finance side was my biggest concern but after today I feel more positive about things”

We really enjoy watching our lovely attendees start moving their dream to a reality, filed with motivation and enthusiasm.

There are courses running in Newton Abbot and Exeter and our ‘Get inspired’ Intensive start up programme is running in Torquay and Paignton and is just for women.  For more information, call Opportunity Plus on 0800 043 2440 or email info@opsw.co.uk

Take the leap into self-employment

23 Jul

You might think that becoming self-employed is not an option in this economy but just look at the facts:

  • Last year 15% of ALL workers in the UK were self-employed.
  • 4.6 million people were self-employed in 2014.
  • 32% of these were women.
  • 43% were aged 50+

The idea of being your own boss is appealing to many, but often people don’t know where to start with the transition to self-employment. Some don’t even realise that their talents or skills can become a new career.

There are two types of business: a service or a product.

Here at Opportunity Plus we have helped many service and product based businesses get started, so we have seen a range of ideas. Cleaning, dog-walking and tradesman are some of the most common services we encounter and cards, jewellery and photographic prints are amongst the products.

With the right knowledge and guidance you too can join the many others who have used their skill or hobby to generate an income.

Once you’ve established what you’ve got to offer, you need to start asking yourself some questions about your possible business.

  • Who’s going to buy it?
  • Why will they buy it?
  • How am I going to sell it?
  • Where will I trade?

Starting a business takes a lot more planning and research than you may at first think, but it’s worth it in the end!

Answering these questions is the very first steps to planning your new career and if you want help developing this and moving through the next stages until you’re ready to trade then get in contact with us and see how we can help you, whether that’s face to face or virtually.

Telephone 0800 043 2440 or email info@opsw.co.uk

Crowdfunding

3 Jul

Crowdfunding may seem like an unknown and scary way to help fund your business but the concept is really very straightforward and is a successful industry with hundreds of platforms. Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture via the internet with contributions from a number of people. The projects seen on the sites can range from a newcrowdfunding business idea to a creative project or a charity raising money for a good cause.  Websites act as a platform for people to advertise their project or business and people can invest funding if they think it’s worthy, often receiving a reward or thank-you in return. Crowd Funding as a concept has been around for years, including when work stalled on the Statue of Liberty, individuals came together and pledged small amounts of money to see the project finished.

Not only is it a great way to get the money and investment you need but it is also an amazing marketing and advertising opportunity, getting your business or project out to lots of people.

So how does it work? Well this can depend upon what you want funded. There are different platforms that will be best suited to ‘host’ your idea or business request, most will take a percentage of around 5% of the funds raised.

Some are based on ‘All or Nothing Funding’ where projects must get 100% of their funding request or they get nothing. They usually involve substantially larger goals and are much more likely to be successful at achieving their goals as they provide more detailed information on the campaign. Others are ‘Flexi Funding’ where you keep whatever you raise whether you hit target or not. Both are open to ‘Over Funding’ where you have hit your target and the money keeps on coming in- Great!

Rewards Crowdfunding: Businesses/entrepreneurs pre-sell a product or service to launch a business concept without incurring debt or sacrificing equity/shares. This has worked well for musicians or producers who can offer previews or products to investors who have funded their project.

Equity Funding: The backer receives shares of a company, usually in its early stages, in exchange for the money pledged. The company’s success is determined by how successfully it can demonstrate its viability. A business plan will need to be provided with at least a 3 years’ worth of financial projections.

Charitable/Social enterprise: Charities looking for donations for projects to be funded with little or no reward other than supporting a worthwhile cause.

So, if you are interested in Crowdfunding for your business or project here are some ‘Top Tips’.

  • Choose the right platform
  • Start by sharing with friends/family/current contacts
  • Get your supporters behind you, motivate them and they can spread the word
  • It is important to get off the zero mark early
  • Tell your story- sell your passion- clearly
  • Use videos and pictures
  • Rewards can lead to higher funding
  • Line up a few backers before you start

Good luck!

If you are looking for help with starting a business and want to see how we can help you then please get in touch on 0800 043 2440 or info@opsw.co.uk

 

 

Government Start-up Loans

26 Jun

Start-Up-Loans-new-logo

When starting a business you may find the start-up costs slightly daunting and may prevent you from going ahead with your idea, however there is help out there so don’t give up!

The government offer a business start-up loan service where you can borrow money to cover your start-up costs and also receive useful advice from experts. To help get your business up and running there are a few requirements:

  • You’re aged 18 or over
  • You’ve developed a business idea
  • Your business will be based in the UK
  • You are a UK resident
  • Your business has been trading between 0-24 months

The application will also require you to have produced a business plan and cash flow, which is essentially creating a more detailed plan of your business. You can find templates on their website, along with support. Alternatively you may be able to get help from one our enterprise coaches at Opportunity Plus can run through what you need.

Once you’ve been successful with your application you still get on-going support, and can pay the loan off over up to 5 years at a fixed interest rate.

Don’t think you’ll get accepted? Take a look below to see just how many businesses they’ve helped get going so far, or check out their website – https://www.startuploans.co.uk/

Don’t forget to think about how you’re going to pay the loan back, and only borrow as much as you need.

Start up loans

If you want support and guidance for starting your business then please get in touch on 0800 043 2440 or info@opsw.co.uk

How can I stay motivated during a job search?

18 Jun

Finding a job can be hard, and you never know how long you’re going to be looking for! As time passes you may get rejections and your budget may get tighter making it easier to get disheartened. You are likely to have highs and lows and these lows can have a bad effect on your mood and motivation.

However, this is exactly the time when you need to dust yourself off and put in more hard work than ever. Remember we fell down lots and lots of times before we learnt to walk. Key attributes of a successful job seeker are persistence and self-belief. Here are few tips to help you stay positive:

  • Start as you mean to go on – The first 30 minutes of your day are more important thank you think! This is the critical time that will affect your thoughts and actions for the rest of the day. Set your alarm as if you were going to work and don’t get up late, have a shower and take a walk to get some fresh air in your lungs. Have the mindset that looking for a job as a full time job. Get dressed to feel confident and positive about yourself, set times for breaks and when you will finish and what days you will have off from your job search.
  • Set up the right environment – It is important to have an organised, neat and tidy area in your home where you can run your job search from. It will help you stay focused on the target. This should ideally be equipped with a phone, computer and everything else you might find in an office
  • Set daily goals – Goals are important and will keep your mind focused on the things that are important and keep you feeling positive about your future. If you don’t have anything set to work towards you are then likely to achieve less. Make your goals SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) and remember to celebrate when you achieve a goal – woo!
  • Create a support network – Having a group of friends or family that are aware of what you are trying to achieve is good as they can help to keep you motivated. Avoid anyone that will bring you down. Surround yourself with people that are positive and upbeat that will encourage and you to carry on.
  • Eat right – A healthy body generally leads to a healthy mind. Try to make sure you include lots of fruit and vegetables in your diet and try to stay away from fatty foods and try to limit your alcohol intake.
  • Law of averages. The more applications, calls, networking or visits you make the more chances you have of finding the job you want. You need to tailor your CV for each job. Set a goal of how many applications per week, how many people will see, how many recruitment agencies to contact etc…
  • Be positive and focus on what you can do, not what you can’t – Everyone will feel frustrated at some point during their job search. You would be a very lucky person if you have been interviewed for every job you have applied for – all you can do is learn from each knock-back and move on. Always remember what things you are good at and use these to keep you motivated. Focus on the skills you can do that are on your job specification rather than ones what you can’t.
  • Learn to manage stress – This may be an obvious one, but the less stress you have in your life, the easier life should be. To keep motivated & positive when job hunting try to manage your stress levels as best you can.  Try to also include exercise, managing your time and workload effectively and importantly time to de-stress by having hobbies or other non-work activities.
  • Get feedback and use it wisely – Take feedback seriously and use the positive feedback to keep you motivated.  If you said something or did something in an interview that you shouldn’t of, and this is fed back to you, remember not to do it next time.  Or if you have negative feedback about your product access if changes may need to be made. If you’re not getting asked for interviews it is worth getting someone to have a look through your CV. If you’re getting to the interview, but being rejected you should ask why not? It may be the case you were you only one person away from getting the job.
  • Enjoy and don’t give up – Job hunting is a time of transition and change and it can also be a very important time for self-development be patient and don’t expect too much too soon. Use this period to reassess your goals, find out what you really want to do and be the best you can be.

At Opportunity Plus we specialize in helping people get back into work or start their own businesses. If you would like any help with your job search or business ideas then please email info@opsw.co.uk. 

How is an Education and Training course beneficial?

5 Jun

My name is Ann and I teach and assess the level 3 Award in Education and Training for Opportunity Plus. There are a few people out there who have never heard of this qualification and quite a few more who reckon it’s of no use to them as they do not want to work in education.

Well, here’s my view on it:

Firstly, it’s a very enjoyable course, particularly when taken as part of a group. It’s my favourite thing to teach. It’s a great confidence booster and you do learn lots about yourself, as well as the topic. Taking part in the micro teach sessions as a learner is fun and also gives you a chance to learn about things you would not normally consider.

TeachingIf you have ever thought about teaching, or have skills that you would like to share with others it’s a fantastic starting point to a new career, or a stand alone qualification on its own. I got my first teaching job at a college due to possessing this qualification.

However the knowledge and confidence you gain can be put to good use in so many other ways. Are you a manager who regularly holds staff meetings which involves giving instructions? Are you a senior manager whose middle managers might benefit from having this short and useful qualification when dealing with their staff, looking at equality, diversity, individual need and different ways to make information giving fun and meaningful?  This course can give you a basic knowledge of how different individuals learn and respond, and ways to support those who struggle

Why not find out more by contacting our course support team on 0800 045 2440

What are employers really asking?

15 May

We’ve all had those moments in interviews where we are asked a question but we just can’t figure out what it means. Often interviewers will ask questions in a cryptic way, when what they’re really asking is something much simpler.

We’ve put together a quiz to see if you can work out what is meant by some of the most common interview questions!

Take our quiz below- 

Did you make it on to the leader board?  Keep an eye out for our tips and advice on answering these questions coming soon!