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What Support Is Available to
Help People Start Their Own Business?
As the old saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. Sure, the credit goes to the parent(s) or guardian(s), but they’d struggle to get anywhere working entirely by themselves. They must rely on existing social frameworks. School systems, childcare, grants, parenting groups… All these resources make it possible for them to raise healthy and well-adjusted kids.
Well, much the same can be said of starting a business. Even the most singular and pioneering entrepreneurs — along the lines of Steve Jobs — don’t go from 0 to 100 through nothing more than their willpower and ingenuity. They get help from so many avenues. And while you can try to do everything from scratch, there’s really no good reason to.
Following on from that note, then, this piece is going to consider what support is available for those who want to start their own businesses. If you’re in that position of wanting to try self-employment (and it’s an understandable impulse given the damage regular employment has suffered in 2020), then this should point you in the right direction.
Grants and Schemes
Whichever country you live in, there are sure to be various grants and schemes that are either supported at a governmental level or buoyed by charitable donations (some blur the line, such as the Prince’s Trust in the UK). If you happen to meet certain criteria, then you can take advantage of one or more of those schemes.
So, what can you get from this? Well, the support is mostly going to be financial: you might get a long-term investment or a lump sum that you won’t need to pay back (here’s a range of UK grants to consider, and here are some EU options). If you intend to start a type of business that your government wishes to incentivize, you should get a lot of support.
In addition, you can be assigned some professional guidance, invited to business gatherings, and provided with specific courses of tuition to suit your needs. It all depends on your age, means, and intended business path — so take a look to see what you can get. There’s sure to be something that you qualify for, after all.
Some of the best business mentorship can be found through organizations run by people who know what it’s like to be in your shoes.
After all, they’ll be more likely to understand your challenges and more eager to give you the help that they once needed. Take veterans, for instance: they can draw upon creative and financial advice from veteran-led organisations such as X-Forces in the UK or VA Claim Pros in the US (with free consultations at the very least).
That isn’t to say that there’s anything wrong with broader mentorship, because that too can be very useful and significantly broaden your perspective. There are more ways to find such mentorship, as well. You can pay for consultancy, ask for guidance at networking events, research a suitable expert and reach out to them cold, or even arrange a mutually-beneficial skill exchange (coach someone on your area of knowledge while they help you with business).
You’ll find that there are plenty of people out there who are more than willing to share their knowledge, even for free. It makes a lot of sense. There’s great enjoyment for them to glean from helping others follow in their footsteps, and an obvious selfish motivation (in the event that you go on to great success, you’ll owe them a favor or two).
Tips and Tutorials
The internet is rich with media resources that can provide a lot of passive support to help you get up to speed with the demands of the entrepreneurial world.
This website is a great example: there are many skills that go into running a modern business, so if you happen to be lacking confidence in your writing skills (for instance) then you can read through some great tips here.
There are also comprehensive tutorials available in different formats: you can find lengthy written pieces, informative podcasts, or even video guides that can take you through what you need to do in a step-by-step way. Consider this guide from the Entrepreneur Handbook: it’s just one of many that are completely free and just a click away.
Simply spending some time browsing relevant sites and soaking in pertinent information can radically enhance your understanding of what goes into starting a successful business, so it’s absolutely worth doing. If you choose well, it should also be fairly entertaining as a bonus.
Perhaps you don’t particularly want to get into any mentorship schemes: maybe you just don’t have the time to commit to being mentored in addition to running a business, or your ambitions are limited and you want to experiment with how far you can get. If so, online communities can still get you support and advice from people who know what they’re talking about.
Reddit features various subreddits dedicated to entrepreneurs and small business owners: you need only do a search, take your pick from the most populated, and start asking questions (or simply going through the answers already proffered). Another good option is the StartupNation Community Business Forums: whatever you’re trying to achieve in business, you’ll find someone else there who’s already been there, tried it, and learned some key lessons.
The value of these communities extends far beyond picking up some core tips while you’re getting started. If you start to participate on a regular basis and share your business journey with others, you’ll build a foundation upon which you can eventually establish yourself as an expert and mentor of sorts. In short, the longer you’re involved, the more value you’ll receive.
As we’ve seen here, there’s a lot of support out there for aspiring business owners, so you don’t need to start your entrepreneurial journey alone. By taking advantage of the rich resources of today’s online world, you can have a much easier time.
About the Author
Kayleigh Alexandra is a content writer for Micro Startups — a site dedicated to giving through growth hacking. Visit the blog for your latest dose of startup, entrepreneur, and charity insights from top experts around the globe. Follow us on Twitter @getmicrostarted.