18 January 2012 Last updated at 19:01 ET
Top tips for starting your own business
By Peter Day Presenter, Radio 4's In Business
With youth unemployment at record highs, one way for young people to get a job is to
start their own business.
Instead of waiting for someone else to hire you, why not set up a company and employ
But how do you launch a business during an economic downturn?
Peter Day, presenter of Radio 4's In Business, has interviewed generations of young start-
up entrepreneurs over the years, and here he summarises the words of advice they have
shared with him on taking the DIY route.
LESSON 1: HARD TIMES ARE GOOD TIMES TO START A
The way the start-up entrepreneurs tell it, it is tricky to start a business at any time - not
just during a recession - but their particular business idea is so niche, so focussed, and so
special that they shrug off the gloom
and just get on with it.
Steve Barnes co-founded Appetise after
he and his friends identified a consumer
need - their own
The upside of starting a business during
a downturn is that things can only get
better as the economic climate
improves, and you will have learnt an awful lot in the difficult times that you can use in
the easier ones.
Steve Barnes of the start-up internet fast food delivery service Appetise.com says he has
only known economic gloom, but that has not stopped him.
1 "I don't know what a boom feels like, to be honest. I don't really know what to expect.
"When you've got such a small start-up business I don't think it is really going to be
affected at all. There's plenty of opportunities in a recession."
But what should your business actually do?
LESSON 2: FOCUS ON THE IDEAS STARING YOU IN THE FACE
Lots of people go about finding their niche by using business school tools such as market
analysis or sector research. Clever, but remote.
Why not start a business based on a need you yourself have, that is not properly
addressed by existing suppliers?
'Silicon Roundabout' in east London is
the capital of the UK's tech start-up
You experience the gap in the
marketplace, and you fill it: easy-peasy.
University campuses are full of ideas
for businesses. For example, David
Langer was at Oxford University when
he co-founded Group Spaces.
It started as a service for Oxford University clubs, and is designed to make life easy for
secretaries and treasurers trying to do admin for clubs, societies, and hobby groups.
Group Spaces now has two million users worldwide, helping club administrators in more
than 100 countries.
“It was purely to solve a problem that we had as students”
Steve Barnes Co-founder, Appetise.com
The company employs 10 people, working near East London's start-up hub Silicon
Roundabout and has recently raised £1m ($1.54m) in investment.
The fast-food delivery service Appetise.com was an idea borne by students from
Warwick University which has now gone UK-wide.
"It was purely to solve a problem that we had as students," says co-founder Steve Barnes.
2 "Trying to order a take-away, we used to order in groups of 10 or 20 people and trying to
organise that over the telephone is a bit of a nightmare.
"Whereas now everyone can sit down individually at the computer, place their order and
then submit it all in one order and it's very easy to see an itemised bill to see who owes
Keep it simple, and answer an in-your-face need.
If you have got the need, and the idea, then come the operational problems - but even
they are less daunting than they used to be.
LESSON 3: YOU ALREADY HAVE THE TOOLS YOU NEED
Most homes and most students are already equipped with quite a lot of the tools any
business needs to reach a worldwide audience from day one.
A laptop and a mobile phone is all the
infrastructure a new business needs to
get up and running
Computer power is so cheap that many
school or university leavers have their
own machines, with processing power
unimaginable a few years ago.
Laptops can edit sound or movies,
design software, and keep track of all the details of a start-up business at minimal cost.
Internet connectivity allows a start-up entrepreneur to collaborate with video
conferencing at almost no cost, an extraordinary breakthrough.
The internet also enables a new business to reach a specific, even worldwide marketplace
with a minimal outlay.
Clever viral marketing can pull in curious customers seduced by ingenuity alone.
And very young people are often instinctively able to use the new technology that makes
all this happen.
They already know things that great big