Posted: Wed 3rd Nov 2021
Enterprise Nation’s Next Gen Fest makes its return on Friday 12 November!
If you’re a budding entrepreneur aged 16–30, Next Gen Fest is the perfect opportunity to:
listen to a range of expert speakers
gain valuable insights
network with some of the brightest minds in the country
We're also looking for young talent with big potential. Apply to our Next Gen Fest competition for the chance to pitch your own business idea on the day to our NGF judges:
Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation
Paula Schuh Wagner, business development director at Dell Technologies
Four applicants will be chosen to pitch live on the day, with one lucky winner crowned the champion of Next Gen Fest 2021, winning £3,000, 12-month support from Enterprise Nation and an award-winning Dell Latitude 9420 2-in-1 Laptop provided by Dell Technologies.
Our runner-up will win £2,000, to support their small business dreams becoming a reality!
But how do you start your business on £3,000? Read on to find out.
1) Simplicity is key
When launching your small business, it’s important to start out with one product or service you know incredibly well. If you’re a food-based business, for instance, start out with just a couple of tried-and-tested recipes.
Doing too much, too soon, can lead to issues further down the line, so giving yourself time to test, hone and develop with a limited range to start with can help provide valuable intelligence and experience for when you finally decide to expand.
This is also where customer feedback is key. If you’re a product-based business, consider setting up a stall, perhaps go to a local market. Not only is this cheap advertising, but it can provide you with a wealth of feedback for future endeavours.
The same goes for service-based businesses. Keep a note of every small slice of feedback you receive to ensure your base service is as strong as it can be before looking to upscale in any way.
2) Social media marketing is your friend
Starting a business with £3,000 means you won’t have the luxury of spending lavishly on marketing to begin with, but there are still numerous ways to undertake your initial marketing push smartly and cheaply.
Of course, social media can be a very effective way to market on a budget. It’s an art, of course, to run a great Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or TikTok page, but do it right and you have yourself a wonderful marketing channel.
This also ties into influencer and PR marketing. Consider sending samples of your products to bloggers, business journalists or similar, more established businesses. Benefiting from word-of-mouth marketing from those in a similar industry to you can help building brand awareness over time.
3) Maintain flexibility
Being an entrepreneur is all about adaptation. Not every plan you devise will work out, not every service or product will go down a storm, and in the age of Covid, where uncertainty is at an all-time high for every small business out there, having a degree of flexibility when starting out is crucial.
Starting a small business is an exciting time. It’s an opportunity to try various markets and clients, and if these fail, you can learn and try something totally different. The early days are all about providing a springboard, so undertaking a flexible, adaptive approach is advised.
4) Prioritise, prioritise, prioritise
Starting and running a small business is all about prioritisation and sacrifices, particularly on a budget, so deciding where to invest your cash at first is crucial.
If you’re an IT company, investing in the right software should be the priority. If your business revolves around clothing, you should focus on production facilities. Taking the decisions to invest in whatever pulls those initial sales in should be top of the list.
5) Seek expert advice
It’s all well and good having cash at your disposal (and £3,000 isn’t an insignificant sum!), but sometimes it pays to seek expert advice.
Whether you’re after a fully-fledged marketing mentor, or you simply fancy an initial chat with an expert, take a look through Enterprise Nation’s bank of resources and advisers to see what is out there for you.
6) Create a safety net
Finally, keeping some cash aside to maintain a safety net is paramount.
Unexpected costs, such as breakdowns or hidden bills, can act as major setbacks if not accounted for, so invest in safety before sinking your cash into too much else.