“I’ve got this idea, but I don’t know where to start…”. Talking about your business ideas out loud for the first time can be very daunting. There are so many questions you want to ask and so much information to unpick.

Jo Mountfort, our business advisor extraordinaire, has worked in the start-up business arena for over a decade. During this time, she has worked with hundreds of clients, supporting them to organise their thoughts and develop their business ideas. We asked her to tell us some of the top questions she’s asked on a daily basis. Here’s what she had to say…

1. “I’ve got this idea, but I don’t know where to start…”

This is probably one of the most common things that clients say to me when we have our first face to face or telephone chat. My response: you’ve taken the first step! Speaking to someone impartial about your idea is really important. Nobody is going to laugh at you. What we will do is help you break it down bit by bit to see if it could work. We can offer 1-2-1 support and a range of training and networking courses to get you thinking.

2. “Do I have to write a business plan?”

No, is the short answer, but you really should! Certain establishments may require to see one – banks, funders etc. But more than that, taking the time out to plan something that could potentially be the biggest step of your life is a no-brainer! A business plan is your handbook to business and is a hugely useful tool. In the start-up research stage it acts as a checklist to all the things you need to think about. There are many different formats that a business plan can take so don’t shy away. The truth is, if you’ve been thinking this idea through then you’ve already started the business plan in your head.

3. “Is there any funding available to help me start?”

Possibly. There are some pots of money available to new businesses but they are often subject to credit and other checks. Some people’s circumstances can make them eligible for financial support but this is something your advisor can support you with. As advisors, we know what funders are looking for so we can do all the correct prep work with you before you submit applications.

4. “I’m going to undercut my competition when I first start-up.”

Don’t do it! Take the time to think about your pricing structure. Don’t just presume that the best way to get customers is have a price cheaper than your competition. Of course, some customers will factor price into their buying habits but not all will. Quality and standard of service will go a long way…

5. “Do you think it’s a good idea?”

This is a really difficult question to answer and it’s not up to us to judge what’s ‘good’ or not. But honestly, I think it’s always down to the individual. You can have two people running exactly the same type of business but running them very differently. Our job is to encourage you to research and think objectively about your idea to help you come to your own conclusion.

Our support is offered via the Enterprise Hub programme which is designed to help explore ideas and develop enterprise skills. We’ve seen and heard it all. So don’t be shy, get in touch and let’s start talking about your business! Or, if you’ve got a friend or a family member who could benefit from an initial chat, tell them to get in touch!

Contact enterprisehub@thewo.org.uk or call 0151 706 8113 for an informal chat.