15 February 2018

– Katie Howard, Centre Coordinator Rouen House, Norwich, Norfolk

I decided it was time to go further, to broaden my understanding of what it means to start a business and take a walk in my clients – your – shoes.

If you’ve ever passed through the reception of Rouen House in Norwich – whether you’re a tenant, attending one of our many workshops or looking for the NHS Walk-in Centre that occupies the ground floor – you’ve probably seen my smiley face. If you haven’t, then this is our introduction, so hello. I am the Centre Coordinator for Rouen House and spend many hours managing reception, assisting clients, arranging conferences and events, and helping to support your business needs.

In my role, I deal with numerous start-up clients on a day-to-day basis, giving them guidance and advice when I can from my side of the desk. Last week I decided it was time to go further, to broaden my understanding of what it means to start a business and take a walk in my clients – your – shoes.

First stop, to the Nwes website for ‘Workshops and Events’. Nwes run numerous events specifically for start-ups, from bookkeeping and taxation, to marketing and third sector organisations. I chose 1st Steps to Start-Up; a free two-day workshop covering the foundations of how to start a business. I decided to stay close to home by  choosing an upcoming session at Rouen House. I clicked to register, filled in some basic details on Eventbrite and I was booked on.

The 1st Steps to Start-Up workshop has supported over 5,000 budding entrepreneurs with planning and starting a business, and after attending the two days I can see how. The workshop was very beneficial and incredibly interesting. As a start-up you need to learn so much information before even knowing where to start. I can more than imagine how daunting a task this is. But, by attending the workshop, everything you need to know is divulged in a comfortable and relaxed environment.

Now, I must praise Business Trainer John Clarke who lead my particular course – what a guy! To have someone who can cover every aspect of starting a business while keeping everyone’s interest is a task! John is a great character and has a lot of stories and experience, which really helped us attendees to thoroughly understand the topics he covered.

First Steps, Start-up, John Clarke, Business support, Nwes

John started the workshop with branding and logos. He said some frank words but was honest, ‘if you do them yourself, unless you are in graphic design they are never that great!’. I learnt that it’s just best to let the professionals do their job and make your business’ branding look the bets it can be. John said if you pay for one thing, let it be your branding.

John then went on to talk about market research and how important this is for any business. He gave us vital tips on how to save money and what websites to use when conducting market research. I didn’t truly understand how in depth a business needs to be with their market research before attending the 1st Steps to Start-Up workshop. Simply asking your friends and family for their opinion is not enough, because of course they will be positive as they are your loved ones! Carrying out market research correctly can really affect the longevity of your business – it’s all about building your empire on the strongest foundations possible.

Next – registering your business. You would think this task is hard, but John went through the steps and actually it’s really straight forward and easy. So, no need to panic – something I will certainly be passing on to clients.

Business viability is a really interesting and imperative part of the set-up of any business. John explained how to work out costs and importantly, what you need to be making, yearly, monthly, weekly and daily to be able to pay bills and overheads, plus make a profit and take a wage – which, let’s be honest, is the most important part. If you can’t pay yourself a wage or make a profit, then the business simply isn’t viable.

First Steps, Start-up, John Clarke, Business support, Nwes

There was so much more invaluable start-up advice from John that I could go into, but you’ll just have to attend a workshop to find out for yourself. All I would say is that, starting your own business is an amazingly brave thing to do, but make sure you know all the facts before you go diving in. Sometimes stepping back means you can fully absorb all the information you need and start your business of on the right foot.

Taking a walking in my clients’ shoes has been so eye opening, now it’s your turn to take a step in the right direction and book onto our 1st Steps to Start-Up workshop here. 

Remember you can also follow Nwes on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to stay up to date with all our latest business support and advice.

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