Tag Archives: small business

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

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OPSW Enterprise

2 Apr

“When you find an idea that you just can’t stop thinking about, that’s probably a good one to pursue.” – Josh James, Omniture CEO

Did You Know?

  • The South West ranks 2nd for the highest amount of self-employed workers.
  • 57,000 people in Devon are self-employed.
  • Nearly two-thirds of small business owners have no business or management experience.

Registering as a sole trader

Many of our customers ask how to register as a sole trader once they have decided to take the plunge and start their business.  This is done online here.  HMRC have a range of useful “webinars” available to teach you about a range of topics to do with tax, national insurance and Self Assessment.  You can even watch them live and ask questions.

Business Insurance

When you start trading, you will usually need some sort of business insurance, and if you are working from home or using your car, your house and car insurance may be affected too.  Simply Business is a good place to start, to find out exactly what insurance you will need and how much it will cost you. Call them on 0845 071 0270.

Start Your Own Business

We now run a range of Accredited Start Your Own Business courses at Level 1 and 2.  Visit www.opportunityplus.org.uk or call 0800 043 2440 for more information.

Case Study

Carole started a cupcake business, which she ran for four years on a mobile basis.  Following the success of the mobile business, she decided to open a cake shop in her home town of Teignmouth, allowing customers to see and sample her cakes.  She still caters for weddings and other events too.  Find out more at www.carolescupcakes.moonfruit.com

2 catercarole

 

How To Build A Business From Your Bedroom

4 Mar

I just found these great case studies and practical tips on setting up a business from your bedroom on gothinkbig.co.uk.

How to build a business from your bedroomBuild a business from your bedroom!

National Careers Week

How you can support small businesses without spending money!

9 Sep

It’s becoming increasingly fashionable to shun the big corporations and support local businesses where we can.  It can be easier said than done though, we are all pushed for time, and it’s so easy to nip to the supermarket or go straight to Amazon to buy everything we need in one hit.  When I went on maternity leave, one of the things I was most looking forward to was simply having time to buy fresh bread from the local bakery instead of getting supermarket bread!  And for the first few weeks it was great, I bought my bread from the bakery, had a vegetable box delivered by a local farm, bought lovely handmade cards and gifts from the small shops in my local town… but then my little baby who slept all the time became a big boisterous boy and I discovered the wonders of online shopping!

I still try to buy local where I can, and through my role of Enterprise Coach with Opportunity Plus, I am forever meeting entrepreneurs who make lovely things that I want to buy!  But spending money isn’t the only way you can support a small, local business (though it certainly helps!!).  Here are some ways that you can support small businesses, without having to spend money!

1 – Interact with them on social media.  Getting a new like on Facebook can brighten a small business owner’s day, and only takes you a second to do.   But likes aren’t everything.  Commenting on and sharing posts helps to increase a page’s “reach”, meaning that more people see what they have got to say.  If you have bought something from them, post a picture of you using it, or let them know how much your friend loved their gift.

2 – Write a review.  This could simply be a recommendation on their Facebook page, or a post on their wall; but if you write a blog, why not write about a positive experience you’ve had with the business, or about the great product you bought from them.  If they like what you have to say, it’s likely they will link to it themselves, bringing you more readers too.  Win-win!

3 – Tell y0ur friends.  Your real life friends and family that is.  Often we share our bad experiences of customer service, but how often do we tell the story of a good experience?  Not the times when something out of the ordinary happened, just the simple friendly greeting when you entered the shop, or the time they spent with you helping you find the right gift for a friend?

4 – Have a chat.  If you can see the owner is looking a little bored behind their friendly customer service smile, have a chat with them.  Even if you’re not intending to buy anything, you can give them an indication of the products you like and don’t like – it’s all market research for the owner.  (I buy in slings for my business and have to choose between about 50 fabrics each time, it’s impossible!  So I appreciate people telling me their favourites, even if I know they aren’t planning to buy one.)

5 – Follow links!  If you see a mention to a business on a blog or elsewhere, click on the link and follow it to their website.  As well as increasing their website traffic, it shows the search engines that this is a website that people want to visit, which can help their website move up the rankings.

Easy!  Just don’t forget to use the small business yourself when you need something they sell!!

What small businesses would you like to show support to?  Comment below and tell us about a good experience that you’ve had with a small business, and don’t forget to put a link to their website.

Totnes Work Hub

24 Apr

The Totnes Work Hub provides office space which can be hired on a regular basis, or as a one off.  They have a range of hot desks, private rooms, and training rooms to choose from depending on your needs.  If you have a small business or are employed and working from home, Totnes Work Hub, and others like it across the country, can provide you with an office environment without the stress or expense of having to find your own permanent premises.

Whilst working from home is a dream shared by many, it can be difficult to motivate yourself at times, or you may need to meet a client in a more professional setting, or just want the hubbub of being in an office with other professionals.

Totnes Work Hub has 14 Hot Desks available on a daily basis from 9am – 5pm.  They cost £15 a day to hire, and this includes access to printing, coffee, meeting rooms, and Wi-Fi.  They are currently running a special offer where you can trial a hot desk for a day for FREE.

Phone 01803 861080 or email info@totnesworkhub.co.uk to book a desk.

At Opportunity Plus South West, we have a number of customers living in the South Hams area, and we hold appointments and run courses at the Totnes Work Hub.  We will be running our new Exploring Enterprise workshop on 24th May and 22nd July from 9.30am – 4.30pm.  This free one day course is for anyone thinking about working for themselves, and wondering if it’s right for them.  If you already have your business idea, you may prefer our free 3 day Business Start-up course which is running from 9.30am – 4.30pm on 3rd June, 10th June, and 8th July.  To book your place on either course, call us on 0800 043 2440.