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Business plans

If you’re thinking about setting up your own business, then your first step is to do some research and write a business plan.

A good business plan should keep everything as simple as possible.

You will need a business plan if you are looking to secure any funding to support your start up. Even if you don’t require funding, a business plan is an essential working document to go back to and reflect upon once you have started trading.

You can also find lots of free information on starting and running businesses, including marketing, finance, sales and human resources, on the ‘Start a business’ section of the Entrepreneur Handbook website and on Federation for Small Business website.

There is also another great website called informi. They are a charitable division of AAT - the association of accounting technicians. This site contains hundreds of free step by step guides, ebooks, business templates, self employed tax calculators and much more.

If you want to take your business idea online then have a look at Amazon's small business accelerator programme. Its completely free and provides everything you need to know to start trading online.

Using a business plan

Use your business plan to:

  • Set objectives and show how and when you will measure your performance against those objectives.
  • Consider the steps you need to take to develop your business and what barriers might get in the way.
  • Think about the potential risks and how you will manage those. Do you have a 'plan b'?

You can also get help with writing your business plan by attending a free business start-up course, like the courses suggested on this page.

Head-start - Enterprise Ashfield

This is a business support programme designed to help young entrepreneurs in Kirkby in Ashfield and Sutton in Ashfield acquire the skills and information they need to start-up and grow their businesses. Businesses may be eligible to receive £1000 grant at the end of the programme to help them establish their new venture.

Nottingham urban business support programme 

This programme supports the start-up and growth or development of existing micro, small and medium sized businesses based in Nottingham City, Broxtowe and parts of Gedling, Rushcliffe, and Hucknall in Ashfield. Grants between £1000 and £2500 are available which covers a 25% of your eligible project costs. Minimum spends for any projects to be considered are £4000, but once it’s been approved you can use this grant to purchase services or equipment to help your business expand or diversify. 

Closing date: 30th June 2023

The Prince’s Trust free enterprise programme 

This is for 18 to 30 year old's living in the UK who want to start their own business. There are 4 stages to the programme, including a 4 day workshop, business planning and idea testing with help of a mentor and a business launch stage with access to a low interest business loan of £5000.

Closing date: 30th June 2023

Kick-Off business course 

This is a free online course to help individuals that are interested in becoming self-employed. The course will explore useful topics such as the formalities of setting up, legal requirements and insurances, finance, money, and grants, opportunities and risks, business planning, branding, creating an identity, finding a USP, building a proposition, social media, and marketing. There is no closing date for this course.

The Big House Programme 

This is a free bespoke package of support for creative and digital businesses with the aim of providing tailored mentoring, workshops, and grants to help with pre-start, start-ups or established or growth staged business. This programme works with other business support organisations such as NBV and Nottingham Trent University.

Closing date: 30th June 2023

Skills Bootcamps

Skills Bootcamps are free flexible courses of up to 16 weeks for people looking for a new role or job opportunity. If you’re self-employed, you’ll be able to use the training to seek new opportunities for your business. There are fully funded courses available in many business sectors including: Business administration, Construction, Engineering, Green skills, Digital, HGV driving, & Hospitality.

Visit the website below and find the right course to help you set up your business:

Closing date: 31st March 2025