10 pieces of advice from student and graduate start-ups

Enterprise’ isn’t just for business students. Enterprise is about coming up with ideas and making them happen. Every student will leave University with new skills, knowledge and passions; perhaps you could commercialise these, freelance or even set up a business? We asked students and graduates who have been through the University’s Venture Programme – and actually started-up and made their ideas happen – to share their advice with anyone considering this path.

“I’d say that if you decide to start your own business you need to be honest with yourself. Is this the right step for me? Is this the right time? (It never is) What areas of running a business will I find particularly difficult? However, if you put your heart into what you’re doing and give it the effort it deserves then you will never regret taking this path.”

Nick & Jack, SnapStudies

“Being passionate about your business is really important, you must believe in what you do. We believe that as a company you should be really proud of your success but you must also show humility, and keep yourself grounded and focused. And never be afraid to ask others for help and guidance.”

Louise & Hayley, Haylo Theatre

“Utilise all the free resources around you to help you start a business. You will be surprised how many free courses are on offer and the number of organisations that are willing to offer free advice.”

Hannah & Beki, Half-an-Egg

“Managing finances is probably one of the most important aspects of setting up and running your own business. It is very hard to get access to funds, and it’s often better to do it with as little money as you can. Whichever approach you take though, requires you to know how much money you have in your business, and the amount of profit you make from each product/service you sell.”

Michael, A.M Custom Clothing

“When starting a company, I feel the biggest mistake people make is thinking if they have a great product, the customers will come running. However, it is great marketing that makes a great company; this is the area worth investing the bulk of your time in. I believe this, combined with relentless perseverance and a strong work ethic, will provide you with the best shot of success.”

Alex, Alex Franklin Design

“Firstly, make sure the message of your business is very clear. Secondly, make sure you research your idea fully so you are aware of your competitors in the market. You will also need to make sure you make your brand as strong as possible, with good web design and IT functions.”

Mike, GamePlanUSA

“My advice to anyone thinking of starting up a business is a piece of advice I was once given, and had to put in to practice myself – "It is harder to set up a business with someone who has little, or no interest, than it is to set it up and achieve alone." I will always believe in this. I have been there, done that, and well, got the t-shirt (with my logo on!) Never give up on your dreams, you CAN achieve, you just have to BELIEVE that you can.”

Louise, Flashy Photography

“Tell absolutely everyone that you meet what you are doing/planning to do as you never know who will be interested, has some advice or has a great contact. Contacts and leads sometimes come from the most unexpected of places! Also, don’t be afraid to ask for anything; advice, help, information, no matter how cheeky it seems, it’s true that, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.”

Emma, The Language Guys

“Get tax savvy straight away. It may appear to be the least exciting part of starting-up and creep to the end of your ‘to-do’ list, yet, understanding tax, business expenses and how to keep records of income and expenditure can save you both time and money in the future. Start recording your purchases straight away with a bookkeeping system which works for you and keep all receipts. The HMRC website is a fantastic, free resource to help at the start.”

Kirsty, Make Up by Kirsty Badrock

“Go for it!! In the words of Guy van Zwanenberg, “If it moves, measure it!”

Tom & Josh, TechnoSpark Ltd.

If you have a business idea, or are thinking about freelancing, find out how the University can help you through the Venture Programme.

W: www.chester.ac.uk/careers/entrepreneurship

E: venture

T: 01244 513066

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