Starting a business when you're unemployed

Redundancy lay-off

Starting your own business has a number of benefits: the satisfaction of creating your own job, the enjoyment of doing something that really interests you day in day out, and the opportunity to become your own boss.

Imagine being able to take control of your time and working pattern, or to enjoy first-hand the fruits of your hard labour; it can be hugely rewarding to start you own business.

Firstly, you need to think about whether your personality is suited to starting a new business. Are you independent and self-motivating? Do you want to escape the frustrations of having a boss?

Do you dream of applying your skills and knowledge to a new venture? If so, this could be a great chance to maximise your existing skills and experience to get the best out of yourself.

The support of loved ones is vital when first considering a business startup; they will help your business dreams become a reality.  Talk your plans through with people close to you and if possible enlist their help in running the business.

At BCSG we carried out a survey amongst our small business customers and 60% said that a friend had helped them most in building their business. So don’t leave your nearest and dearest in the dark; they could provide valuable support and advice. 

Ideal platform

If the thought of writing a successful business plan daunts you, seek advice from people who have been there and done it or contact an experienced business advisor to keep you on the right track

At the heart of any successful business is a good idea. Fulfilling a need for a product or service that is not currently available, or offering something new and unique in an existing market provides an ideal platform for starting a new business.  

Thirty-one percent of BCSG survey respondents said their biggest competitive advantage was their unique product/service. If you’re having trouble finding a good idea, think local.

Can you identify a niche for a new product or service in your community? Being unemployed allows you the time to do the necessary market research to identify an opportunity. 

Once you’ve got your idea you need to develop it into a viable business opportunity. Careful planning is essential at this point and will prove fruitful in the future.

A strong business plan will show investors that your idea has legs and will be profitable. They will be looking for robust financial forecasts presented clearly and concisely in order to make an investment decision, so it is important to know how much finance your business idea will need to succeed.

Forty-nine percent of BCSG survey respondents said that finance issues were their biggest business headaches so make sure you know your figures. As part of your plan you also need to think about how you will market your business and identify any legal requirements associated with your new business. Working this information out beforehand will give you clear objectives.

If the thought of writing a successful business plan daunts you, seek advice from people who have been there and done it or contact an experienced business advisor to keep you on the right track. Get all the feedback you can and keep revising your business plan until its right.

The Enterprise Allowance Scheme provides mentoring and financial support for unemployed people wishing to set up their own business. For the first three months, applicants receive payments equivalent to the typical jobseekers allowance.

For the next three months, that amount is halved and a loan of £1,000 is made available for initial costs. See if you are eligible to participate in this scheme, not only for the money but the support too.  49% of BCSG survey respondents needed less than £1000 capital to start their business. 

Once your business plan is complete you’re ready to get started. It is now up to your commitment, hard work and enthusiasm to turn your idea into reality.


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