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09 Nov 2017
Following the success of last years course, Far North REAP has been helping another crop of budding entrepreneurs with their “Business Start Up” programme. The course was devised to help those who were interested in starting their own small business and just didn’t know where to start. It was the brainchild of the Community Education Team. They had been approached by a number of people asking where to get help starting their businesses and realised there was no one-stop-shop where they could get all the necessary information.
The very first lesson for the eager group was to explain that running your own business isn’t the easy option. People believe there is a a lot of freedom running your own business. This may be true in some cases, but in the majority you need to work when your customers need your products or services. You cannnot just decide to take the day off when you feel like it. It’s a simple equation: if you don’t work you don’t get paid.
One of the main themes running through the whole programme is the passion you need for your business. You will work many hours on your business. Not only the bits the customers and public see, but the late evenings bringing your paperwork up to date, devising new ideas for products or services, thinking of ways of increasing your customer base or turnover from each customer. You will invest a lot of time and energy into your business, so you need to love what you are doing.
The workshop was designed to be as practical and interactive as possible. For this reason the number of delegates was restricted to just nine people. This ensured that the tutor and facilitator had the opportunity to work one-to-one with each of the attendees.
As always funding for these types of courses is limited, so Far North REAP and the course facilitator, Jodi Betts,used their contacts in the local business community to get experts in the different aspects of a business start up.
Tui Nichol of Baker Valet Services, graduated from this course last year. She was able to give this years group first hand experience of the things she had learnt not just from the course, but also the practicalities of being in business for yourself.
Stuart Thompson from Live Wire Media gave an insight into the world of advertising, marketing and the rapidly changing world of social media. He helped the future business owners to devise a marketing plan, explained the difference between advertising and marketing and gave guidelines as to how much money should be invested in marketing.
I had the pleasure of taking the group through the basics of tax, GST, business structures and preparing a cashflow forecast. The key measure I had for the group was that in a start up situation CASH IS KING. You need to know your breakeven point, which is the level of income required to cover costs. This sounds basic, but it is surprising how many businesses do not know their breakeven point. Many great businesses, products or ideas fail due to the lack of cash. Don’t let your business be one of them.
Jodi Betts of Somersault Event Management ran the remaining sessions and ensured that everyone completed their business plan which would become the roadmap for the start of their business.
One of the main advantages with a small group was that the workshops were able to flex with the individual needs of the attendees. The workshops could target specific requirements of the individuals, and therefore ensure they received maximum value from the workshop.
Finally, I would like to thank Far North REAP and Jodi Betts for the opportunity to work with this crop of new business owners. Good luck to all of you who completed the workshops. Remember to revisit and update your business plan. It should be a living document that updates with you and your business.
For more information on how we can help your business, get in touch