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Welcome to the Business Start-ups Topic!

(91 Posts)
HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 12-Nov-12 14:42:28


We have created this new discussion topic for those of you who have just started, or are thinking of starting, a new business.

The board itself is supported by Barclays but is very much inspired by Talk threads on all aspects of business that made us realise that many of you would welcome a dedicated space where you can discuss business and share your views. We'll be moving some of those threads to this topic over the next few days.

So, welcome! We hope you'll use this topic to swap all manner of advice, info and tips.

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 13-Nov-12 13:03:42


Back to the adverts (sorry), companies are using your business start up section (and other sections) as an excuse to advertise for free. Web sites/stalls at craft fairs etc are all helpful to a small business but small businesses have to pay for these. I've spent less than an hour on here today and have reported 3 or 4 already. I've looked at what you do allow (up there), but it doesn't say anything about companies like these.

Sorry, this probably isn't very clear. My head hurts.

No that's quite clear - and we have noticed. Thanks v much - we're on the case.

LadyMaryChristmas Tue 13-Nov-12 13:12:22

Thank you. I'm off to get some paracetamol. Did you get my email (sent on the 2nd)?

Ifancyanewname Tue 13-Nov-12 13:47:28

Hi, can I join in, I am thinking of starting up a business. I currently sell second hand clothing on ebay but want to go into a different field and make a bit more of a business out of it. Have no idea where to start though and don't want to spend too much right off incase it all goes t*ts up!!! Please some of you oracles tell me this is how you started?!

k2togm1 Tue 13-Nov-12 17:05:25

teamedward can we share 'to do' lists?
I am not sure about how to get public liability insurance, have you got any experience of this?
Have you registered yet? And did you have the home inspection?

Jins Tue 13-Nov-12 18:09:52

I'm 18 months into my business. Just completed first year's tax return.

Good luck to all new starters

gussiegrips Tue 13-Nov-12 18:51:09

I've got a question...

at which point do you decide it's worth risking investing money into your business?

So, I'm a physio going back to work - self employed as childcare is an ishoo.

Thanks to a mumsnet thread and serendipity, I'm veering away from visiting elderly folks at home (though, I do like my clinical stuff, and it's paying enough to keep me in pinot grigio, so I'm not about to jack it just now) and am in the process of setting up physio parties for pelvic floors.

I do a bit of stand up comedy, so have combined the two to try and reduce the scourge of incontinence that affects 1:3 women age 35-55, and destroys lives. No joke there, worse luck.

So, I borrowed a little bit of money to buy the equipment I need for physio. That's a sensible investment for equipment I need.

I'm now looking at costings for printers, graphic designers, websites, and putting on a Fringe Show at the Edinburgh Festival in August.

If I could make a living from talking about fanjoes and raising awareness and getting pelvic floor stuff taught properly and effectively - well, I'd be very happy.

So, do you have a formula for taking the leap and putting cash you don't have into a project? Cos, whilst I think it's a great idea and my friends think it's a great idea, and I have a bunch of bookings up until Christmas...beyond that - how would I know if it would work?

Anyone have either a crystal ball or a bravery pill?

InMySpareTime Tue 13-Nov-12 19:23:26

Gussiegrips have you got a business plan?
Perhaps getting an investor on board would help your confidence and spread the risk.
Otherwise, weigh up the risk against how much you'd kick yourself if someone else made a success of it instead. Fortune favours the brave.

InMySpareTime Tue 13-Nov-12 19:29:32

gussiegrips I've PMed you

gussiegrips Tue 13-Nov-12 19:53:17

Oh, yes, I've got a business plan...but, it seemsmore like a work of fiction than a businessdocument.

I don't really understand the concept of a business plan - it's essentially a wish list of "if that happens, and I get that stroke of luck, and this falls into place...then, this time next year, Rodney..."

I could just as easily write a business plan of doom - "did this research, found this niche, spent this much time and money and effort, didn't realise x, forgot about y, lacked the skills for confirmed as a flibbertgibbet eejit"

So, is a business plan actually worth anything - or are they just ambition, masquerading as a crystal ball?

I understand about getting an investor (have watched a lot of Dragons' Den), but you need to have a track record to "sell" to them. And, without taking the plunge and the risk, I have no track record.

My whole life, I've taken the well trodden path. This time, I rather fancy the less travelled route through the woods. Here's hoping that fortune also favours the self-indulgent...!

InMySpareTime Tue 13-Nov-12 20:23:18

A business plan, if realistically done, helps you keep track of how you're doing based on concrete goals and timescales.
I'm learning new things about business every day, making mistakes, but learning from them. You at least have some paying clients to build from, which is a large hurdle you're over already.
My business is low financial risk (storytelling), but hard to make a name in. I have budgeted without my income, so as long as the business doesn't become a money pit, we'll be fine.
I got my first proper enquiry todaygrin, someone heard about me on FB and wants me for a toddler group Christmas party. That alone would put the business back in the black, if I can land it.

gussiegrips Tue 13-Nov-12 20:42:45

Well, that's how my business plan looks - it's a year of "if I do this by that, then I can do that by then, and then I should be able to pull that off, and then I'll take the kids to Legoland next summer"

Our business' sound similar - mine is also low financial risk, but it won't work without publicity.

That's exciting about your enquiry! What are your FB links, thingies and whatnots?

InMySpareTime Tue 13-Nov-12 20:53:17

I have a FB page, a website, a Wordpress blog and a LinkedIn account, all link to my contact details, all are regularly updated. I use my business name a lot in conversation. I google various permutations of my business and location to see how my searchability is going, and tweak my websites to improve it.
I'm the "Short Story Lady" if you're interested (trying to keep within the rules!)

TeamEdward Tue 13-Nov-12 21:38:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bettythebuilder Tue 13-Nov-12 21:56:19

PurpleGeekyGirl, what sort of questions do you have about going from sole trader to Ltd company? I've made the transition- not sure I can be of any help, but could try smile do you want to start a thread about it?

InMySpareTime Wed 14-Nov-12 07:16:02

My to-do list tip is a small whiteboard. Every day I write a list of small tasks (usually 10 minute to 2 hour jobs)
They might be business related or house related, e.g. Post a story on the website, chase enquiries, run dishwasher, fill in school permission forms.
They are in no particular order, and I tick them off as I go.
It works for me as it takes away the "blank" time where I know I was going to do something but can't think what it was.
It also gives me visual evidence that I'm achieving things each day.
PL insurance was surprisingly easy to set up, I googled for quotes and brokers were calling me within the hour. Mine is about £70 p/a.

InMySpareTime Wed 14-Nov-12 07:53:07

I am surprised how many of my FB page's likers have no links to their businesses on their personal pages. If you don't promote your business shamelessly, why would anyone else?
I plug something business related on my timeline about once a week to catch any new friends who haven't heard yet.

ChippingInLovesAutumn Wed 14-Nov-12 08:11:00

Helen That sounds like a great plan thanks

BabylonPI Wed 14-Nov-12 11:46:18

I too am in the process of setting up my own business.

It's a bit scary as DH went self employed just a year ago, and I am on ML - but this is one of the reasons for setting up on my own.

I actually can't afford to go back to work as anything I earn would be paid straight out in childcare. So therefore I'm setting up something I can do from home, which will hopefully be conducive to family life and profitable at the same time.

My BIL gave me the gem of an idea as a friend of his has done exactly the same and is apparently raking in cash hand over fist!! I've got no expectations, but it is some thing I would be good at as my organisational skills are pretty good.

I'm setting up a letting agency. I already have my first two clients, I just need to get on the course to get my papers/license ASAP.
DH is in property maintenance so the two will hopefully go nicely hand in hand and work for each other IYSWIM.

it is scary though, I have literally nothing to invest so everything will be done word of mouth/on a shoe string to start with - I'm very fortunate that I have a beautiful office premise available at my disposal at my parents house, and this is where my suits ones will be licensed too as they already have a licence to trade for their property.

Wish me ouch, I'll let you know how it goes!!!

BabylonPI Wed 14-Nov-12 11:46:46

Wish me luck obviously, not ouch blush

pombal Wed 14-Nov-12 11:47:46

Hello, I'm in business in the Eurozone, but have had a Uk business in the past as well. I found that keeping accounts on spreadsheets got very time consuming and messy. Am I allowed to mention the name of the product I used to keep it all under control????

RumBaaBaa Wed 14-Nov-12 12:54:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 14-Nov-12 14:19:10


MNHQ could you explain a little more about what 'supported by Barclays' actually means?

What is their involvement with the forum? Can they claim ownership of any of the content here for their own usage?

Yes, of course, RumBaaBaa.

This board is supported by Barclays but it works in the same way as any other MN Talk topic, in that you folks start the threads and you folks make the posts.

As part of their partnership with us, Barclays do have, on the top of each thread, a promotional link to their (rather excellently useful) Mumsnet 'hub', which is full of great content about starting and expanding your own business.

Barclays will also be peeking at the discussions started in this topic from time to time, to see what sort of things you're discussing and what issues interest you most. This will help them make the new info they add to their hub more accurately reflect the kind of business advice you're looking for. They may also occasionally use the odd (non-identifiable) quote from a thread in their hub content, to give it a nice Mumsnetty dash of flavour.

It's also worth saying that Barclays are always keen to hear from you what kind of info you'd like to see featured on their hub. Do please use this thread to post your suggestions and ideas.

INESSENCEcoachALEX Wed 14-Nov-12 14:28:00

I'm SO EXCITED about this discussion topic. I'm really excited about learning from everyone's experiences and sharing my own, too. (I have been running a coaching business for almost two years now).

I'm especially interested in Mums' experiences successfully growing and managing businesses they are passionate about WHILE ALSO building mindful connections with their kids. Anyone want to talk about this? Challenges? Tips?

Ifancyanewname Wed 14-Nov-12 15:11:41

Can I just say "short story lady" I have liked you and shared you as I have some family in your neck of the woods smile I'll make sure I keep putting you up on my page too and hopefully you'll get some work this way. How far do you travel, I live about an hour and half away but I know when I was looking for dd's party in May there arent any story tellers around here.....or if there are they are keeping themselves well hidden!!

dizzydixies Wed 14-Nov-12 15:40:16

Can I join in too please?? Been in business for 2yrs but very much on a part time/no clue basis!!!

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