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Top Tips for Starting Your Own Business_BBC 20120118.pdf

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York University
Administrative Studies
ADMS 3920

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 yourself? 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 BUSINESS 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 boom 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 what." 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
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