Tag Archives: Business startup

What Age to Start Your Start-up Business?

34 the best age to start a business?The popular image of an entrepreneur tends to either be an old white man like Richard Branson or Alan Sugar or a young white man like Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Much of the conversation around startups tends to focus on the young face of entrepreneurs and in particular on tech start-ups. The UK government has recently started to invest heavily in promoting start-up businesses and they are particularly focussed on young people. However research increasingly shows that businesses are being started by people of all ages.

The 2011 report on entrepreneurship in the UK by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) showed that the age group with the second lowest entrepreneurial activity was 18 to 24 year olds. The only age group with lower entrepreneurial activity were 55 to 64 year olds. According to the GEM report the most popular age to start a business is 25 to 24 years old with 35 to 44 years old being the second most popular age group. This is mirrored across many economies with a similar pattern of ages and entrepreneurial activity in regions as diverse as Sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean. One of the few countries that bucks this trend is Germany where 18 to 24 year olds form the majority of those involved in entrepreneurial activity.

The relative lack of entrepreneurial activity in 18-24 year olds has been used to explain why the UK government recently has to expand its Start-up Loans Scheme to 30 year olds after a poor uptake. However some research suggests that 18 to 24 year olds may not be the best age group to be starting businesses. Work from the Founder Institute suggests that 28 and over is a good age to be starting a business with 34 as the ideal age. The reasoning they give for this is pretty straight forward. 28 to 34 year olds are likely to have some experience of management, completing projects and operating in a business environment. The same research suggests that the most effective entrepreneurs tend to be starting businesses in industries where they have previously been working or where they have some experience. This means they are more likely to be able to spot gaps in the market and have the connections and knowledge to get their start-up working.

Without the advantages of real world industry experience 18 to 24 year olds are likely to face more of an uphill struggle getting their business off the ground. This is why the Start-up Loans Scheme and organisations such as The Princes Trust which work with young entrepreneurs place a lot of emphasis on the role of business mentors. These are often experienced business people who have been through the process of setting up a business before and know what to do and what to avoid. While it is good that young people are being helped to start their own businesses, especially in a time of high youth unemployment, some people have called for government start-up support to be expanded to encompass all age ranges. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) have made the extension of the Start-up Loans scheme to all age ranges part of their wish list of the next budget. With the majority of new business founders not being in the 18 to 30 age range it would make sense for support for start-ups being extended to those most likely to start a business.

Whatever your age The Company warehouse can help you to start your business with free consultancy and guidance. Browse our company formation and business registration packages online or give us a call on 0800 0828 727.

The Start-up Britain Bus Tour

Startup Britain Bus Start-up Britain have been going from strength to strength this year. Their online marketplace is now full of offers and they have been running a shop in Kingston-on-Thames featuring a range of start-ups. They have also been heavily involved in promoting Start-up Loans through their close ties with the government.

To spread their message even further Start-up Britain have embarked on a nationwide bus tour visiting universities and colleges. Last week we went along to their stop at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge to see what they had on offer.

The idea behind taking the start-up bus to universities and colleges is to promote entrepreneurship as a career option for young people. With the bus tour coming only a few weeks after the government’s start-up loans were launched this is an excellent opportunity to inspire young people and then give them practical help and support. Particularly popular at the Cambridge stop of the tour were representatives from Foundation East who are one of the organisations distributing the government start-up funding in our region. Along with representatives from the Federation of Small Businesses and the University they were on hand to give advice to the students on how to start their own business and how to get funding.

Startup Britain Bus Side

The start-up tour has a number of big name sponsors and although most of them were not able to send representatives to Cambridge their offers and information as being passed onto the students. They were also able to use the laptops provided by Dell to register new .co domains.

Despite it being a cold day at least 50 students turned up at the bus in the time that we were there and all of them left with a goody bag including a book by one of the founders of Start-up Britain, Emma Jones, on how to start and run their own business. There seemed to be a really good atmosphere around the bus and the students who were there were enthusiastic about the possibility of embarking on a career as an entrepreneur.

How to find start-up business grants, loans and investments.

Start-up business funding sourcesThe biggest single problem facing start-ups is getting funding. While it is possible to get start-up business loans from the high street banks they are not easy to come by. With a bit of digging round and filling in of application forms it is often possible to assemble a decent amount of starting capital through a combination of loans, grants and investments.

If you are under the age of 24 then there is a fair amount of funding available. Three good places to try are:

The Princes Trust offer grants for training and for schemes which benefit the community on a regional basis.

The Government’s new Start-up loans are also aimed at young people up to the age of 24.

Shell Live Wire offers monthly awards of £1000 to young people starting their own businesses.

For people over the age of 30 there are far fewer funding options and they are much harder to track down. A good place to start is the government’s Business Link Finance Finder.

The Business Link Finance Finder is a searchable database of grants and loans at the time of writing it listed over 300 different sources of funding available to start-ups.  Examples of the kind of funding available include the New Enterprise Allowance which provides money for the long term unemployed to start businesses or the Be the Boss scheme for ex-servicemen. As well as sources of funding the Business Link Finance Finder has details of lots of schemes providing free office space, mentoring or other support for new start-ups.

While many regional schemes are listed on the Business Link Finance finder it is worth contacting your local council and regional branches of the Federation of Small Business and Chambers of Commerce. All of whom can be good sources of information on locally available funding.

The money that government used to distribute to new businesses through the Regional Development Agencies is now being fed through Capital for Investment. This is a process of giving government money to private businesses who are then expected to give it to start-ups and small businesses. Often this is through matched funding or through ‘alternative’ funding methods such as factoring. Some of the Capital Investment fund gets channelled through what used to be the Early Growth Funds into regional groups (now also run by private companies) who manage various investment vehicles. Exactly how the funding works will depend on where you live in the UK. The whole infrastructure of government funding for start-ups and SMEs is being re-organised at the moment so it is a case of keeping your eye on the main Business Link website for announcements.

Much of the money that the government now offers is not in the form of grants but is enabling private companies to take risk free stakes in start-ups. If you would prefer to cut out the middleman and go straight to the source of the funding then the British Business Angels Association has lists of angel investor groups who are willing to put money into start-up companies. The BCVA also have a list of their venture capitalist members. In both cases receiving funding will be in exchange for a small proportion of the company (think Dragons Den).

The trendiest way to raise money is through crowd sourcing. You simply have to find a crowd sourcing website, pitch your idea and wait for the cash to roll in. Some business have raised vast sums of money through this method but it is relatively new and untested. Crowd Cube, seedrs and  Kickstarter are three of the best known of the dozens of crowd funding platforms currently competing for funding.

The process of getting business funding is complicated and requires a lot of hard work and dedication but there are funding sources out there. Often a combination of funds will be needed with some personal saving, a couple of grants and a few small loans. Because of this it is important that you have done your business plan and research effectively so that you know exactly how much money you are going to need and how you are going to pay  it back.

Fund Your New Business without a Bank Loan: ask the crowd

Fund you new business without a bank loanLots of people have an idea for a new business but lack the funds to get it off the ground. One traditional way of raising new company start-up money is to raid your own savings or borrow money from friends or family. However many people are not willing or able to do this and without some basic capital of your own, or a house to act as security, it can be hard to get a bank loan.

In recent year a new option has begun to emerge through crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is like a Dragon’s Den pitch that is open to the public. People with a business idea can put a pitch up on a crowdfunding website describing what their new venture is, how much money they want and what the investors will get in return. Users of the website can then choose to give as much or as little money as they like. If target set by the new company is reached they get their funding. If the target is not reached then the investors get their money back. Unlike Dragon’s Den through, the investor does not normally get a share of the company. This is largely because of investment regulations which place limitations on how businesses can buy and sell their shares. Instead they might get priority access to the new company’s services or limited editions of their products.

Crowdfunding has proved to be popular with Kickstarter, who helped to pioneer the model, having raised $200 million since they launched in April 2009. This total was achieved through 1.8 million people funding 20,000 projects as diverse as an urban farm, an online magazine and numerous films and works of art. One of the most high profile success stories for Kickstarter has been a company called Pebble who went on Kickstarter looking for £100,000 to produce their new high tech watch. They hit their funding goal within 2 hours and ended up raising $7 million.

At the moment many of the crowdfunding platforms are American but Kickstarter and Indiegogo allow projects and investors from around the world to participate. Meanwhile there are a range of UK based crowdfunding platforms in the works with seedrs and crowdfunder being leading examples.

The potential of crowdfunding for business start-ups has been recognised by President Obama who recently signed the Jobs Act. This will allow American start-ups to sell up $1 million of shares through crowdfunding. Some people have raised concerns that this will leave business start-ups and investors open to fraud. As with any business or investment opportunity people will need to be aware of the risks and invest carefully. Crowdfunding may not yet be a mainstream way of raising money for new businesses but if you have an interesting or quirky product it can be an excellent way to get prototypes and other proofs of concept under way.

Banks Still Not Lending To Small Business

Banks-lending-to-SMEWith the current state of the economy, we’re all tightening our belts and trying to get through. This attitude apparently includes the big banks who really should be making every effort to support small business and new start-ups after the tax-payers were forced to bail them out of trouble in recent months.

The current news trends show that the opposite is true. Although the big banks defend themselves saying they are lending more, they have failed to reach the targets set by the previous chancellor Alistair Darling. The Forum of Private Business has an interesting insight into the current lending situation in their article – “Never Mind Not Lending Money to SMEs – the Banks Aren’t Even Lending Them Their Ears!

Similarly British SME has an article about a rise in the number of complaints being made against the banks by small businesses to the Financial Ombudsman – “Bank loan complaints more than double”. The facts clearly show that the banks aren’t doing what they should to support small business within the UK. Which perhaps isn’t the best idea in the long-term when you consider that it is the businesses who will help bring the country out of the recession and bring the banks back into profit.

Young People Starting In Business

Young-BusinessmanI recently read an interesting article over at Startup Professional Musings about children as young as 9 starting up in business. Martin Zwilling (the author) points to another website where numerous American children are seen to be starting early in business. Of course, in today’s modern age with easy to use technology and the resurgence of Web 2.0, more and more young people are starting business online.

Viral Marketing New Business

A recent news story emphasises how easy it is for young people to get started in business or even to get noticed. A 17-year-old developer from Scotland just recently caused a viral trend on Twitter with people using his “Twifficiency” app to essentially send his message virally across the internet. He was so well noticed that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg added him to his follow list.

Starting Young

With the importance of small business in UK as well as elsewhere, it’s no surprise that more and more people are being encouraged to start young. The recent introduction of the Entrepreneurs Scout Badge is a perfect example. Educating the youth of the country into a business mindset from an early age will encourage the foundation of new business as well as the improved functioning of already established enterprises.

Young business start-ups need the same support as any other and although these businesses might well start in a bedroom, many companies across the UK have grown from such small beginnings. If you’re a young person looking to get started in business, get the support and guidance you need with the UK’s leading company formation agent – TheCompanyWarehouse.co.uk.

Search The Business Finance Database

business-finanace-databaseAfter our recent blog article (Business Finance – Top 10 ways to fund your new business) and having spoken to a number of new business owners and people carrying out a company formation who were having difficulty finding finance for their new business, we realised that people starting up need a little more help. So, in an effort to help you and other business people like you, who are seeking finance for a new business venture, but don’t know where to turn, we are happy to provide yet another FREE service.

Head on over to our website and search the business finance database for free. We’ll give you free guidance and support on how to find funding for your business idea(s) and where to get it from. There are no catches, just tell us a little about your business and how much money you need and we’ll do the rest.

FREE Business Finance Guidance

If you’re looking for finance for your business, take a few minutes out of your day to fill out our simple form and get the support you need. Our business finance guidance is 100% free with no strings attached. We just want to help new businesses get the head start they deserve.

Visit our website today for more information or to search the finance database.

Company Formation – What Are Your Goals?


Starting a limited company or any new business you need to know what your goals are. For most people the list is quite short:

  1. Making a profit

Ditching your boss and running a business your own way may be another goal, but otherwise the list might be quite short. The question is how do you reach your main goal?

Reaching Your Business Goals

The way a successful business operates is quite simple. They find a customer need and sell a product or service which fulfils it. In doing so, with a touch of effective marketing and a good sales technique, the company starts to turn a profit. If the company has good customer service then it will hopefully have happy customers. Happy customers lead to return business and increased profits.

The main goal of a limited company should therefore be keeping the customer happy. Start by finding out what their need is (through research) then hone your product or service to fulfil that need, then sell to them. Provide them with a quality product (if that is what they need) and a good customer service when required and your business will thrive.

What Are The Goals Of Company Formation?

Other than making a profit, you might have other goals in mind when thinking about carrying out a company formation. Starting a limited company in the UK means a business can take advantage of the benefits of the legal form. Reducing risk of liability, becoming tax efficient and creating a business which will survive beyond themselves.

This last factor is one of the most important to many people. Carrying out a company formation allows a business owner to create a new legal entity, which is viewed as separate from themselves and will survive without their input, should they ever retire or die. This is especially important where hours, weeks, months and years of hard work have been put into a business to grow it into something to be proud of.

Whatever your long-term goals, starting a limited company is often the choice for most business people within the UK and many successful corporations have started off as a small limited company. Get started today with the UK’s leading company formation agent – The Company Warehouse.

Business Start-Up Myths – Mine is better so I’ll be successful


Overly confident new business owners are often under the impression that simply because they have a superior product they will be more successful. Of course, product (or service) superiority is a matter of several factors including consumer opinion. Just because something is technically better in terms of technical specification, does not mean that it will be seen as such by the general public.

Effective marketing

In certain circumstances in the past, a number of companies have suffered from falling sales or smaller profit margins than expected when their “superior” product was outsold by another product in the market. Most recent example being the battle between Blu-ray and HD-DVD. Although some agreed that HD-DVD was superior (and had a name which would more easily appeal to the public), Blu-ray won the battle and tore ahead in the sales charts. The companies behind HD-DVD may well have underestimated the marketing powers of those behind Blu-ray. After all, an excellent product is no good if no one knows about it. Something simple like the inclusion of a Blu-ray player in every Playstation 3 gaming console may well have also been a deciding factor in the battle. As another example, the iPhone 4 has apparently outsold every other phone in the market despite the numerous problems with signal loss. Clearly this is down to both brand loyalty and clever marketing.

Overly confident business owners

There is also danger that a confident business owner will become complacent. If a product or products has done well in the past, it does not necessarily follow that the same will continue in the future. This is clearly evident from recent news where mobile phone giant Nokia felt a large pinch in sales caused by the surge in new smart phones from other companies entering the market.

Being successful in business

Being successful in business requires much more than just a good product. Good marketing research, appropriate advertising and customer satisfaction are necessarily also deciding factors. If you are thinking of starting your own business, be sure to cover all your bases, don’t scrimp on any element and you’ll be far more likely to get ahead.

Start a business today with the UKs leading Company Formation Agent – TheCompanyWarehouse.co.uk.

Free Company Formation


Business Start-Up Myths – Most businesses fail


No need for financial fear with a limited company

Many people wrongly believe that the majority of businesses fail within the first year or shortly thereafter. In fact if you search the internet, you can easily find statistics quoted repeatedly across the World Wide Web saying:

“…over 50% of small businesses fail in the first year and 95% fail within the first five years.”

As Benjamin Disraeli once said – “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Often these kinds of figures are exaggerated. In fact research carried out by the Department For Business Innovation and Skills has shown that the figures are quite incorrect. The research shows that:

“… (an) overwhelming majority of small firms – around 80-90% – survive for at least a year…”

Fear of business failure

The rumours about the failure of business have naturally led to a fear among most people about getting started in business in the first place. The fear of failure when starting a new business also goes hand-in-hand with the financial risks of doing so. Thinking that a new business is almost certainly doomed to failure leads people to think that they will endanger their own money and perhaps their home when it all goes wrong. So is it worth the risk?

The truth of course is very different. Although many businesses do fail, many do not. Plenty of new businesses and limited companies are started each year and go on to thrive in the market and even stretch across international borders.

Financial worries

Those people worried about risking (and losing) their money by starting a new business are often wisely advised to carry out a company formation to start a limited company and take advantage of the limited liability offered by this business vessel. Using a limited company allows a business owner to alleviate any financial worries related to the potential failure of their business, but also gives them the chance to most the most of the advantages of a limited company and the tax efficient nature offered by it.

Get started today!

If you’re thinking about starting a new business, don’t listen to the failure figures, if you put in the effort and work hard, do your research and market your business properly, you’ll more than likely survive and do well. Join the thousands of businesses before you and get started today!