Calling all business mentors in Stafford

The Prince’s Initiative is providing an opportunity for Stafford business owners to harness their knowledge through mentoring (more…)

Top Tips

If you’re over 50 and interested in becoming self-employed then take a read of  Martyn Lewis’ advice and tips on what to consider when setting up your own business.

Martyn Lewis’ career is an unusual blend of the media, charitable and business worlds.  Best known for his 32 years as a television journalist, he anchored every mainstream national news programme on Britain’s two main terrestrial channels, before moving into the world of business in 1999.  It was this change in career, in which Martyn learnt some crucial tips about how to go about setting up your own business.  He shares 6 key things to remember when becoming a self-starter.


1.     Test and Research your Market

Don’t base your business on anecdotal experience, it won’t work. You need to do research amongst your target audience, to see if your business is viable and people will actually buy into it. Having a new business idea can be exciting, but don’t let your passion take over, research the feasibility of your idea first to see if it will even work!


2.     Make Legal Advice a Priority

A key step to setting up your own business is to get some legal or accountancy advice. You need to make sure you have all your legal boxes ticked from the off. An accountant can help you figure out some basics straight away, such as whether you are a sole trader or what financial benchmarks should you put down in your first year of trading. There are so many different tax schemes you may be eligible for such as Entrepreneurs tax – but unless you do your research or get an advisor you won’t know these benefits exist for you.


3.     Get a Website

These days you have got to have a website. A website is today’s version of a business card – it is the place you can direct people to and can act as your marketing tool for what you do. Your website is your shop window and is a necessary, but in some instances, relatively cheap investment.


4.     Network with your Contacts

When you are over the age of 50, you will have built up a network of business contacts and friends. Use this network to test ideas, find people you can work with or just to get advice. Setting up a business offers you the opportunity to meet new people and start new discussions, so get out there and get talking!


5.     Cash Flow is King

Plan ahead with your finances. Don’t live day to day, but take a broader approach to your spending and look ahead.  Plan from the outset on all your expenditure and be tough. Ensure you know your incomings and outgoings and have the finances in place to guarantee avoiding black holes.


6.     Question your Decisions

Constantly challenge yourself and always look for new, different and innovative ways to get new customers. When you are creating your own business you should always question the way you are doing things. You need to change and adapt as your business grows and as the environment we live in changes.


“It can be daunting starting your own business, I know, I have done it myself. But don’t be frightened – there are thousands of people over the UK who have started businesses small or large and it can be the most rewarding experience. There is always a risk becoming self-employed, but if you fail once or twice, learn from it and try again. With common sense, combined with the right advice anything is possible.”