Top tips for budding entrepreneurs

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Nearly four in 10 adults want to start their own business - but are too scared to go it alone.

A poll of 2,000 adults found 49 per cent of these love the idea of being their own boss, with 45 percent becoming more determined to start their own business since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, while 63 per cent have a business idea they think could work well, they are lacking support and know-how to take it to the next level.

More than a third (36 per cent) are being held back by of a fear of failure, while 35 per cent are short on confidence to launch their enterprise.

But despite these apprehensions, one in three have either started putting plans in place or are looking to get underway within the next 12 months.

The research was commissioned to mark the Santander X UK Awards, which gives innovative early-stage start-ups the chance to secure up to £25,000 in equity-free funding, as well as business support and opportunities to network with other entrepreneurs.

Mike Regnier, CEO for the bank, said: “It is clear that many people want to embark on an entrepreneurship journey but are intimidated by the prospect of setting up a business on their own.

“We are committed to supporting entrepreneurship and the vital role it plays in driving growth and productivity.

“The awards offer the most innovative and disruptive early-stage start-ups in the UK the opportunity to network, learn from experts, and potentially win up funding to help their businesses achieve success.

“I look forward to judging what I know will be another excellent set of pitches from some of the UK's most promising new business people."

The study also revealed the business skills those wanting to go it alone want to develop include negotiating (23 per cent) and financial literacy (23 per cent).

One in five (21 per cent) believe they need to enhance their leadership qualities, and 20 per cent want to become more of strategic thinkers.

But to accomplish these professional developments, 44 per cent consider business training and education as an important step on their entrepreneurial journey.

Although, 43 per cent stated access to financing will be the most helpful resource to kick starting their venture. And to secure this, 57 per cent back their ability to pitch for funding.

The research, conducted via OnePoll.com, also revealed 71 per cent of adults admire the tenacious spirit of entrepreneurs, with Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Alan Sugar and Deborah Meaden at the top of the list.

It also emerged 61 per cent believe entrepreneurship is open to everyone - regardless of their background, and 69 per cent think all successful businesses start with a simple idea.

This year, Sam Jones, the founder of Gener8, a browser that helps people turn online data into rewards, and which secured funding on Dragons Den with what has been branded the shows ‘best ever pitch’, is one of the Santander X UK Awards judges.

Finalists in the awards this year include start-ups like Snowball Community, an app which supports the disabled community, Persium, which has created a world first digital twin platform for tackling air pollution, and Scaled, a nature-inspired flexible body armour for sports performance enhancement.

He said: “It's brilliant to see so many aspiring entrepreneurs taking part and pitching in this competition. “This competition is about so much more than securing the cash, it's about equipping entrepreneurs with the resources, knowledge and network to set themselves up for success.

“Pitching in an environment like this is challenging. The entrepreneurs must craft a compelling narrative that captivates investors and aligns their vision with yours."

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Sam Jones’ top tips for budding entrepreneurs:

1. Be focussed: Concentrate on your goal with laser precision.

2. Be determined: It’s not just about passion, because passion fades. Determination is what makes you continue. You must be determined in driving towards your goal.

3. Have a sense of urgency: Don’t wait. Do it now.

4. Keep focused on the end goal and don’t be put off by small set-backs. Maybe others don’t believe in your idea at first, or you encounter a few hiccups along the way. You must back yourself and keep going – use these challenges as an opportunity to learn and grow.

5. Build a strong network: Networking is a cornerstone of successful entrepreneurship. Attend industry events, join entrepreneurial groups, and connect with mentors who can offer guidance based on their own experiences. A strong network can provide advice, open doors to opportunities, and offer emotional support during challenging times.

6. Master your pitch: Practice your pitch rigorously. Be clear, concise, and confident in your delivery. Highlight the unique selling points of your business and anticipate questions investors might ask and have well-thought-out answers.

7. Craft a compelling story: People remember stories more than facts and figures. Develop a compelling narrative around your business – why it exists, the problem it solves, and the impact you aim to make. Your pitch should resonate emotionally, making your audience feel invested in your journey.

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