How to start a business

It’s a great time to start a business in Faversham, the Isle of Sheppey or Sittingbourne as a range of support and funding is available in the Borough.  Many individuals who choose to start a business love the idea of quitting the corporate world and becoming their own boss, or have always had an idea that they would like to see made into a reality.  According to the Centre for Entrepreneurs, 581,000 new companies started in 2014 and there is expected to be more than 600,000 new starts by the end of 2015.  This ‘How to start a business’ post describes the funding and business support available to new starters in the Borough of Swale.

How to start a business

The initial steps towards starting a business can appear an intimidating prospect particularly when initial costs, the need to keep accounts, marketing and a business plan are considered.  Whilst there are many stories which could dissuade you from pursuing your idea, the Swale Means Business website also features a number of case studies to help build your confidence and develop your ideas such as:

  • Efern Sowing Services used the business support available through Swale Borough Council to launch their company which provides design and production for men and womenswear, as well as bespoke tailoring and sewing services.
  • TK Arts are a company who provide a wide range of circus, drama and street theatre workshops and projects for children and young people.  The founder, Tom Kellett received business support through Swale Borough Council on subjects including tax, national insurance, legal frameworks, marketing, publicity and website creation.

For further information about the preparation for starting a company, visit the Start-up hub on the Swale Means Business website which includes:

  • The ‘Got an idea you’re committed to?’ article provides guidance on what to consider before starting your business such as how to test the market to see if the projected business will be viable.
  • The ‘What type of business do you want to be?’ page outlines the types of business or legal status which are open to a new business.
  • The ‘Who you need to tell’ checklist of organisations which must be contacted before an individual starts a business.
  • A section on accounting and planning which explains the importance of keeping records from an early stage in the life of a business.
  • A Business Plan Guide which helps individuals to plan ahead, check that everything is in place before they launch and pitch for funding from organisations such as banks and the Government.
  • A useful guide for start-ups is also available from the Better Business for All partnership which offers advice on regulatory issues and who you need to speak to before you start your business.

Funding

Financial support for a company can take many forms such as grants or loans and can be accessed from a number of sources including the Government, banks or charities which operate the schemes.  A range of options are listed in the funding section of the Swale Means Business website, but it is important to take into consideration the differing criteria of each scheme and to see which best meets the aims of your business.  The current funding schemes for start-ups include:

  • The Start-Up Loans scheme which provides funding from the Government and is delivered by Let’s Do Business and the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce.
  • Loans from the Fredericks Foundation, which is an independent organisation offering financial support of £10,000 to start-ups who have been unsuccessful in securing funding from a High Street lender.

Free Business Advice

Swale Borough Council provides a business support service which offers a workshop for those seeking to start a business.  The free session includes guidance on how to register a business, legal considerations, market research, the keeping of accounts, and the writing of a business plan.  Individuals who complete the workshop are also eligible for further advice from a business advisor, who can provide support in areas including the writing of a funding application or of a business plan.  To find out more and to register for the service please contact the Economic Development Team on 01795 417398 or email edu@swale.gov.uk.

Start-ups in the tourism sector can also access support from the tourism business advisory service, which is delivered through a Swale Borough Council partnership with Visit Kent, to receive free advice and access to subsidised training opportunities.

 

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