Is it for you?
Living your dreams?
How can CEEC help?
Certificate for Enterprise & Commercial Awareness
Entrepreneurs Networking Programme
Lancaster University Young Entrepreneurs Society
Students in Free Enterprise
Business start-up support at Lancaster University: NuBlue, a case study
Is it for you?
Most of us will spend some time in our career working in a business, but instead of working in one how about making the business work for you?
The truth is that anybody with a sound business idea and the enthusiasm to carry the idea forward can contemplate self-employment or starting their own business. The only criteria required are:
- Total commitment to hard work
- Acceptance of uncertainty
- Self Discipline
- Originator/Investor characteristics
- Planner/Organiser characteristics
What if the business was your way of living your dreams?
The reasons for wanting to have your own business are as varied as the business ideas themselves.
Here are just a few of the reasons given by recent students interested in starting their own business:
- Couldn’t work for someone else
- Job satisfaction
- Work choice
- No clock watching
- Be my own boss
- Get rich
- Job security – not wanting to depend on others
For other people the reasons could include:
- A change in personal circumstances e.g. inheritance, redundancy
- A desire to reduce stress in existing job
- A personal dream or goal
- Wanting to live and work somewhere new
- It is important before even starting the planning process to stop and think!.
Assess what you want from your working and personal life and whether working for yourself can help deliver this now or in the future.
Whatever you’re looking for, CEEC can help you!
business start-up advice clinic
For specific advice on how to start your own business or become self-employed contact our Enterprise Adviser, Chris Holt via email: email@example.com or telephone 01524 592885 to book an appointment to talk through your idea.
CEEC has developed a range of ‘how to’ booklets designed to help you with your new business idea. They are available from CEEC in hard copy or to download a copy click below:
- starting your own business – a beginner’s guide
- how to write a business plan
- starting your own business – full guide
For general information and support materials visit the CEEC Information Resource and ask to see the sections on business start-up and occupational files relating to self-employment.
Books we have available include:
- “THE RIGHT WAY TO START YOUR OWN BUSINESS”
- “START UP & RUN YOUR OWN BUSINESS”
- “SMARTER BUSINESS START-UPS”
- “ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND SMALL FIRMS”
- “100 WAYS TO MAKE YOUR BUSINESS A SUCCESS”
……………and many, many more!!
Certificate for Enterprise & Commercial Awareness (CECA)
A short interactive course designed to help you learn how to start you own business or develop enterprise skills that employers are looking for. This course runs once per term.
Two 5 hour sessions delivered with a practical approach to help raise your awareness of:
- Entrepreneurship or Intrapreneurship - have you got what it takes?
- Business planning (including YOMP business game & discussions)
- Personal effectiveness, leadership & influencing people
- Continuing Professional Development: creativity, innovation and planning your next steps
- Marketing a business
- Business finance
- Consultancy, IPR and contract law
For more details and available dates click here [more details]
Entrepreneurs Networking Programme
CEEC organises visits to conferences and events to see speakers (such as Alan Sugar), take part in business games and meet fellow entrepreneurs from other universities. Ensure you don't miss out on the next one by adding yourself to our mailing list – email firstname.lastname@example.org and put ‘Entrepreneurs Mailing List’ in the subject box.
Lancaster University Young Entrepreneurs Society (LUYES)
The Lancaster University Young Entrepreneurs Society exists to give a forum for enterprising students to share experiences and learn new skills. LUYES is open to students of all departments, not just the Management School, in fact students in the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences are proven to be the most likely of any students to start their own business.
For more information visit the website http://www.luyes.org.uk/
Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE)
SIFE is a global non-profit organization active in more than 40 countries. SIFE is funded by financial contributions from corporations, entrepreneurs, foundations, government agencies and individuals. Working in partnership with business and higher education, SIFE establishes student teams on university campuses. For more information visit the website http://www.sifelancaster.co.uk
Interested in ways to fund the development of your ideas? Check out the Create project run in partnership by CEEC and LUSU: http://create.lancs.ac.uk
National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship site has lots of useful resources and information.
Lots of useful tips and help from Prospects.
Enterprise Centre for the Creative Arts with advice and guidance for budding creative entrepreneurs.
Free website facility for students to market their services/products.
Lots of ‘how to’ guides and toolkits to get you started.
Basic guidance including business plans and raising cash.
Helps 14-30 year olds with a range of projects including business start-ups.
Lots of resources and competitions on arrange of entrepreneurial topics.
Business Link provides a good starting point, with many resources to help you - from first considering a business, to managing its growth.
Find out more about the business support and funding which the Enterprise Fellowship Scheme can offer if you have a technology business.
Information and advice about self employment, with case studies of freelance workers and business owners and a networking forum.
Directory of resources and weblinks for small businesses
Microsoft’s site devoted to giving information, advice and support to business owners covering the usual topics on funding, marketing, employing others and so on.
Information and advice aimed at the 18-30 year old starting out in business.
Portal site for links to your local Chamber of Commerce. Check out benefits of membership, directories of resources and training/ networking events.
National site for the Federation of Small Businesses, with links to your local branch.
The British Association of Women Entrepreneurs provides support for female entrepreneurs. Visit www.womenatwork.co.uk to search the database for other businesswomen for business contacts and networking.
A guide to the tax and legal implications of starting up a business as well as copies of the relevant forms and regulations.
Provides information about business sectors and details of Business and Science Parks in your area.
Provides information about setting up limited companies and limited liability partnerships.
Provides information about VAT.
Provides information about patents, copyright and design registration.
Check your business name against a large database of existing business names.
The site allows free patent searching, free patent PDF downloading, allows you to set up competetive intelligence alerts, and more. It's a great resource for patent searching, R&D, and market research
Business start-up support at Lancaster University:
NuBlue, a case study
Brothers Mike (25) and Tom Ashworth (27) created Nu Blue (www.nublue.co.uk), a web design business, in 2005. Mike graduated in 2005 (BA Film Production), Tom in 2003 (BA 3D Animation). Less than four years on, they now run a well established web agency with clients across the world and employ ten members of staff. The NHS and Toni&Guy are amongst their client list. However, like many business start-up stories it hasn't been plain sailing as Mike explains…
„Once we'd drafted our business plan, we looked at several commercial premises and decided to base ourselves within a business incubation centre (http://www.ukbi.co.uk) at Lancaster University with the aid of a small loan from our family. We needed premises as we wanted to give a professional appearance from the day one, so we needed a smart and dedicated place of work to meet our prospective clients and customers.
We took the rather optimistic view that "…if we build it, they will come." It quickly became apparent that this would not be the case and we had to start concentrating on who would be interested in our product and where we would find them!
The biggest pressure at the start was cash flow. A substantial debt from university and owing money to someone really made it all suddenly feel very real. I was working three nights a week in a local video-rental store and then at least 60 hours (including weekends) developing and trying to run the business. In the first year we turned over £17K but after paying rent and running costs we were living on as little as £100 month each. Our business cards may have read „Managing Director but beans on toast was frequently the only thing on the menu! Being my own boss was always one of the main attractions of being self-employed, but my previous bosses had been replaced by several new bosses, i.e. customers who each had deadlines and demand on my time! Initially we both did everything ourselves but as we began to grow, we developed our own roles.
What are the best aspects of working for yourself?
„A feeling of accomplishment and self-worth. There is a real sense of pride now that we have achieved what we originally set out to do.
Less attractive aspects of self-employment?
„Getting our first client was really stressful and there was a six-week gap between attracting the first and second clients. Being a relatively young business owner, it‟s also frustrating sometimes as potential clients may not take you seriously because of your age (especially at the beginning when you have no trading history!). Also, I didn‟t take a holiday in the first two years. It's still difficult to relax away from work as there‟s a fear that it won‟t be here when I return."
What have been the key turning points during the last four years?
The realisation that customers wouldn't simply come knocking on the door and that we'd have to work harder than we ever had before just to attract clients.
Attending business networks (www.bni-europe.com/): this really provided our first taste of how small businesses operate and gave us our first leads and clients.
Employing staff! At the end of year one, we could barely support ourselves. Now we're responsible for the livelihood of others and the source of income for their next holiday!
What have you learnt that you would pass on to others?
- Get one or two years work experience before taking the leap. Learn from other people‟ mistakes instead of making them yourself!
- Definitely get your ideas down on paper in the form of a business plan and be as detailed as you can about your intentions and needs.
- Go to business networking events to learn from others, develop contacts and meet potential clients.
Finally, make use of the numerous business support agencies and subsidised resources out there. Being short of money is really stressful in the first few years so you don't want to be spending money needlessly!
Extract from: Self-employment. Student and graduate special interest series. AGCAS, 2009