Kick-starting the economy
If anything highlights the resilience and optimism that defines Lancashire it is the recent figures on new businesses in the county.
Despite all the challenges and problems of the last few months, in June an impressive 1,737 new businesses were registered here.
Andrew Leeming, programme manager at Boost, Lancashire’s business growth hub talks of a “huge appetite” for new business registrations in the county, surpassing that of its larger near neighbours.
Looking at the figures, he says: “That was an increase of 59 per cent on the same period last year, a bigger increase than Manchester and Liverpool over the same period.
“This is testament to the resilience and entrepreneurial culture across Lancashire and a huge vote of confidence for the county as it recovers from coronavirus.”
Andrew says new businesses are choosing to base themselves in Lancashire because of its “brilliant business ecosystem” and the growth opportunities that are available.
He adds: “We have strong, established supply chains across a wide range of industries and excellent universities producing talented young people - the business leaders, employees and entrepreneurs of tomorrow.
The key to making a business succeed is being organised and having a well thought out and detailed plan
“We also have a wide variety of private and public sector funders willing to support businesses at every stage of their growth journey.”
Andrew says that despite having to find new ways of working as a result of coronavirus, the same level of guidance and support is available for new business start-ups.
He says: “In Lancashire, we have a wealth of support available across the county to help all new businesses during their first steps, and as they begin to grow.
“This includes growth programmes offering practical tips on issues including finance and marketing, programmes supporting innovation and many more.
“We also have quality networks to help these new businesses bounce ideas off likeminded peers and meet advisers, potential new customers and partners.”
So, what is driving people to still look to create businesses despite the impact of the pandemic and the uncertainty it brings?
Andrew says: “All great businesses start with a great idea, but the majority of new business leaders are stepping into the unknown in some way.
“Some may be leading a business for the first time and others may be moving into a slightly different market than they have operated in during the past.”
Mark Bradley, partner specialising in services for start-up businesses at the Blackburn office of accountants and business advisors Beever and Struthers, says starting out in business can be daunting – but it doesn’t need to be.
He says: “The key to making a business succeed is being organised and having a well thought out and detailed plan.
“Businesses fail, not because they don’t have a good business model or idea, but because they didn’t foresee that financial hurdle on the horizon in four months’ time or they hadn’t considered all the costs associated with running a business.
“Both of these issues can be easily managed through the preparation of a business plan and cashflow forecast and then regular financial monitoring.
“We are often approached by new start-ups and when you delve into the business it becomes clear that there is an obvious business model and, perhaps, a written plan but all too often they don’t contain any financial data or stop at the gross margin level.
“It’s therefore difficult to estimate what the required sales volumes are to enable the business to be successful.”
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