Sustaining a new business can be trickier than tattooing your own back in the dark (don’t try it!).
Once you’ve conducted market research, calculated demand and tested prototypes, you still need to find funding and decide which operational functions should be internal or outsourced.
And one of the worst things you can do is succumb to control-freakery and take too much weight on your own shoulders — it’s a recipe for disaster.
But fear not, because here are six support sources for your startup.
If you’re a female entrepreneur trying to get your enterprise off the ground, unfortunately you may have to overcome barriers your male equivalents don’t face.
But women’s empowerment scheme 5by20 might be able to offer mentoring and financial assistance. Run by Coca-Cola, it’s a global support network that’s constantly expanding — contact their support team to see what’s available in your location.
2. Business Gateway.
If free, expert workshops on everything from registering a new business with authorities to marketing and bookkeeping sound useful, you’ll find all the above at Business Gateway — a government funded initiative designed to level the playing field for SMEs.
Check their website for events near you — as well as the invaluable knowledge and support you’ll garner, you’ll also meet many new businesspeople in the same boat as you.
3. The Prince’s Trust.
Royal charity The Prince’s Trust has a proud track record of helping enterprising young people turn their business dreams into reality by giving them the opportunity to apply for funding and providing them with bespoke mentors.
If you’re aged 18-30 and have entrepreneurial ambitions, get in touch with them soon.
4. Chambers of Commerce.
Chambers of Commerce are operational in many European and North American nations — and for a membership fee which is usually reasonable, they allow your startup to instantly plug into a network of clients and collaborators.
Search online for your nearest chamber and give them a call to chat over your options.
5. Government funding.
Although central government is often criticised for supporting big businesses at the expense of their smaller peers, there are several government funding schemes to help launch or expand promising local companies.
Check out gov.uk for appropriate schemes in your region — there may be more on offer than you realise.
6. Digital agencies.
One of the best ways to connect with customers and build a brilliant reputation rapidly is online.
So it’s worth engaging with trusted digital marketing professionals ASAP for advice on building your website, web hosting, SEO, social media and content marketing.
And digital agencies like Scenicus and Attercopia cater for firms of all sizes — they’re worth talking to whether you’re a small outfit looking to make a mark in your neighbourhood or a brand with national or international aspirations.
These six sources of support for startups should help you set off on the right footing for sustainable success — a business problem shared is a problem halved.
Who supports your startup? Share your tips in the comments section.