So, you’ve got that magic idea for a business. You’ve run through what you’re going to do, what you’re going to need and how you’re going to do it, and you’ve opted to drop your startup in London. London is a vibrant city with a strong startup presence, so you’ll be in good company, and the culture of learning and exploration fostered by this culture is out in force. There are many resources available to startups there, including funding, consultation and workshops, and often the most important tools are those that can offer you valuable information without costing a penny. Luckily, the capital has plenty of these around, which make it an exceptional place to build the skills needed to start a small business. Here are five of the best:
1. THE LONDON SMALL BUSINESS CENTRE
The London Small Business Centre is a leading enterprise agency in the capital, and it provides advice, funding and workspace to small businesses in the area. In addition, it offers face-to-face mentoring and support from business experts, workshops and mixer events. It’s an invaluable tool for learning new skills, getting insight and gaining funding for any small business in London – three of the most vital things to have in starting up. Attending a good lesson, seminar or mixer event could teach you a lot about the business environment in London.
2. STARTUP BRITAIN
Startup Britain, powered by NatWest, is a national enterprise campaign “by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs” offering resources and guidance to start-ups across the country. They organise a touring bus giving advice to businesses across the country, and help with a variety of events including workshops, mixers and summits. The organisation has the full support of the Government and represents entrepreneurs in campaigning for better government policies to stimulate small business development. They give entrepreneurs access to events, meet-ups, workshops, discounts, resources and advice meetings which help them in establishing, managing and launching their startups. Handily, their website also provides a map with all the available local support centres, so you can know what’s close-by when choosing a location. And their StartUp Bus has an annual tour of the country (including London) with advice for startup businesses.
Startups.co.uk is an online platform carrying a variety of tools and resources for developing businesses. It has information about business and finance, various templates for internal and external documentation and meetings, and guides on various aspects of small business like online presence, marketing and funding. You can even read stories from top business entrepreneurs, to see what they feel led to their success.
4. STARTUP DONUT
Startup Donut is a broad online resource with advice and articles about every stage of starting a small business, from finding an idea and setting up, to dealing with tax, financing and business law. It also provides a directory of Startup experts, sorted by region, who can be contacted for help and advice.
Centa offer a variety of free sessions and resources to entrepreneurs in London. For example, they offer up to three business planning meetings with advice on every aspect of starting a business, and also, operate the “Let’s Get Ready for Business” seminar in collaboration with Barclays, which teaches new business owners about tax, registration, competitor and customer analysis, and applying for funding.
Starting up in London is one of the most exciting things a business can do, so it’s important to take advantages of all the tools available, to develop skills and gain advice that will ensure your startup will be a success.