STARTING and growing a business presents challenges and opportunities in equal measure. There is no one solution that fits every venture and that is why it is important to get the advice that is right for you.
In addition to one-to-one support from a team of experienced local business advisers, a comprehensive online resource and an information service that has access to a wealth of invaluable market and industry intelligence, Business Gateway also offers a free event programme that focuses on the issues that matter to the Shetland's business community.
"Every year we help a number of local businesses to start up and grow," said Neil Henderson of Business Gateway Shetland. "We can help with a range of professional services designed to take your business forward. Everything from business planning and recruitment to market research, exporting, financial planning, and training."
Helping to turn a business idea into reality
If you have a seed of an idea that could be turned into a viable business and you are ready to take the next step, then sign up to Business Gateway's free, two-day Business Start Up Weekend Course.
Taking place over two Saturdays (2 June and 9 June), from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm on both days, the course provides an overview of what is involved in putting together an effective business plan before you get started.
During the workshops, you'll be given an introduction to planning for business, information on market research and marketing as well as up to date information on compliance, intellectual property and legislation. Trading practicalities, financial forecasting and modelling as well as getting prepared to trade will also be covered.
Henderson said: "The workshop will provide participants with a framework they can use to test the viability of their own business proposal and begin to prepare for trading. As well as course material, there will be opportunities to learn from the experiences of the presenters and also from fellow course participants."
To book a space on the course, which takes place in Train Shetland, North Gremista Industrial Estate, ZE1 0PX, visit www.bgateway.com/events or call 01595 707451.
A network of experienced advisers
Once you've completed the course, the next step is to book an appointment with one of Business Gateway's local advisers who can quickly and expertly identify which services will most benefit your core business objectives, tailoring support to meet your needs.
With their in-depth knowledge, the team of local advisers are perfectly placed to link businesses with individuals and organisations within the business community who can help them start-up and grow.
"Our advisers have the skills, practical experience and network of valuable contacts to help new and existing business owners achieve their objectives," continued Henderson.
Former postwoman delivers new cleaning business
For Julie Leith, deciding to swap her postbag of 15 years for a duster allowed her to launch a cleaning company at the start of last year.
Having never ran a business before, she signed up to Business Gateway Shetland's start-up workshops before launching The Shetland Cleaning Crew. The business offers cleaning services to residential, holiday lets, and business properties.
Julie said: "Because I had no clue where to begin I got in touch with Business Gateway. I don't think I'd have got to where I am now if I hadn't gone on their start-up course.
"The tutor was great, taking the time to explain the more complicated parts of business to a complete beginner like me. I also meet with an adviser afterwards to discuss a few things I was unsure about which was a huge help."
Find out how Business Gateway Shetland can help you by calling 01595 707451 or visit www.bgateway.com/shetland