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Five top tips for business start-ups

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Don’t do it alone Involve professional contacts, friends or family at the start. There is still a lot of free help and support out there such as the Boost Business Lancashire service which offers access to a range of free and part-funded business support programmes, such as Lancashire LEAP, which can provide help in a number of areas. Get the right funding in place Start-up businesses need access to funding to get their venture off the ground. That could come from overdrafts, loans, savings or family borrowings. If you are looking for outside finance, developing a clear, well-written and achievable business plan will help make your business more appealing to potential funders. Develop a range of skills At the start business owners have to be the operations, finance and HR manager rolled into one – as well as looking after customers and doing the work. While professional advisers can help, it’s essential you have a good knowledge of each core function to keep your business on the right path. There’s plenty of free support available to help you with these skills. Get your marketing right You need to tell your story to your targets. Create a simple marketing plan, a strong brand and a good website. It needn’t cost the earth. If your customers can’t find you or don’t know about you, you are at a huge disadvantage. Look at the business of tomorrow as well as today As a business takes off, it’s easy to focus only on the short term. However, it’s imperative that you have a longer term view of what success will look like in the future. Creating a growth strategy that has specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely (SMART) objectives will bring focus to your business. Find out more As part of Boost Business Lancashire, Lancashire LEAP delivers a series of boot camps for new businesses which includes marketing, management and finance. To apply for a place on the programme, complete our online form or call 0800 488 0057. Author Tim Smith is a senior consultant for Winning Pitch which helps deliver the Lancashire LEAP programme as part of Boost Business Lancashire.

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