5 things I learned from meeting Business Gateway

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If you are running your own business and have not yet met Business Gateway, I highly recommend it! I spent an hour with them this morning and discovered they really are a wealth of knowledge and very much focused on helping start-ups grow and self-employed individuals flourish.

Here are my 5 take-aways from the meeting:

  1. If you are under 30, you qualify for a grant of £1,000 - this is not a loan and does not have to be repaid - it’s yours to set up the biz with. It’s via Princes’s Trust and you can find out more information here at their web site. The Prince’s Trust also offers a huge amount of support in terms of business plan templates, finance advice, etc and are generally a good resource to start with (even if you’re over 30 - only difference is - no grant :-( ). They also offer loans (which you have to pay back) up to $5,000.

  2. For general business loans they recommend startuploans.co.uk although at 6.2% the annual interest is quite high. This is Government backed and payback is over 5 years.

  3. They have a great amount of networking events going on (generally 2 a week - that’s a lot of people you can get your face in front of!). Find out more information at their web site.

  4. They offer really excellent workshops - it’s better to be on their newsletter list to get advance notice, however they advise me a lot of people sign up then are no-shows so chances are you if you go along you can get in. It’s good to keep an idea on the web site a couple of days before the event for cancellations too. When I say excellent, I mean really excellent - business development, e-commerce, book-keeping & tax, advertising, social media, networking & more!

  5. HMRC also offer a lot of webinars that are very useful to start ups and self employed professionals. These webinars are 50-60 minutes long and cover all sorts of subjects (similar to above but do it from home!) and are live so you can interact with the speakers.

Finally, if you fancy one of the events at Business Gateway and find the Edinburgh branch is fully booked, it’s good to know they also do them in Livingston (West Lothian), Dalkeith (Midlothian) & Musselburgh (East Lothian) - these may work better because a) it’s easy to park and they are accessible by train b) the groups are smaller so you have more opportunity to ask questions and c) they do not tend to book up so quickly!

Hopefully this is helpful, please let us know if you have any questions!

Why should people support small business owners?

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Salon Studios are focussed on helping small business owners get up and running without the normal hassles associated with opening a business. We believe everybody should be empowered to follow their dreams and here’s why we believe small business owners should be the preferred choice for consumers:

  1. Not only are you supporting a small business owner, but you are also supporting the community they operate in. If somebody has chosen to launch their business in your neighbourhood you can tell they want the area to thrive. By supporting the local business you are also putting money back into the community. This makes it special and is a good enough reason on it’s own to support small! Why would you not want to help your community thrive?

  2. You know with a small business that the owner has touched everything. The business is not run by a board or is trying to keep shareholders happy. More often than not the owner is involved in the day to day running of the business and not only listens to but also cares about their customer and want to ensure they are happy. These business are mainly relationship based and will also change based on your feedback - at speed!

  3. Small businesses are the foundation of entrepreneurship. These people have been brave enough to take a step, stick their neck out, put on their big boy/girl pants and take a huge risk. A lot of blood, sweat and tears goes in to stepping away from the security of a paycheck and starting out on your own. This alone deserves recognition!

  4. Personalised, superior service. Small businesses don’t see their clients and customers as a number. They value them as they contribute to their bottom line and cash flow.

  5. You are helping real people improve their lives! Also the appreciation and service they offer you will improve yours!