When and how to branch out and set up your own business

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Amy Lewis
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So, you’ve got a business idea, you can see the scope for it, and you’re planning to say adieu to the 9-5 so you can develop it full time.

But when do you make that jump? How do you gauge the ‘right time’ to put all your efforts behind one idea?

Emma Jones MBE, best-selling author and small business expert, founded Enterprise Nation in 2006 to support people looking for answers to these very questions.

Providing a network for anyone preparing to take the leap, she helps to equip small business owners with the tools, education and confidence they need to get their ideas off the ground.

She’s perfectly placed to help map out when, and how, you should branch out to set up your own enterprise. Here's her five-step plan of action.

1. Define your business idea

While you’re working on fine-tuning your business idea, ask yourself these three questions:

  • Have you spotted a gap in the market?
  • Are you turning a passion, skill or hobby you have into making a living?
  • If somebody is already doing it, can you do it better?

If you’ve got three yeses, it's likely you're onto a winner.

2. Write a plan

A business plan acts as your route map and will guide the business from start-up through to growth. The easy way to include everything you need is to use the acronym I'M OFF.

I - your business idea

M - the market you’re going to serve

O - operations that are required

F - finances you’ll need to get started

F - the friends or support network backing you up

Once you’ve got the business plan nailed, you're ready to get moving - or take the leap.

3. Start making sales

Begin selling or providing your service to friends and family, and grow from there. For retail purposes, established marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon and are a great friend to start-ups, as you can sell on these without any technical knowledge or a big budget. Also consider making sales through markets, pop-ups or by negotiating a shop share.

4. Raise your profile

Become known to the customers you're looking to serve. Create profiles for your business on social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and reach out to the journalists covering your type of trade. Attend and agree to speak at events, and make sure you’re getting out and about to hand business cards and promotional materials to everyone you meet.

5. Repeat as you grow

As your business begins to grow, repeat all of the above steps to keep redefining what you do and how you’re doing it. Very soon you’ll be the boss of a thriving business.

For information about Emma Jones and Enterprise Nation’s StartUp Saturday events, visit


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Amy Lewis

Amy Lewis is a freelance writer and editor, a lover of strong tea, equally strong eyebrows, a collector of facial oils and a cat meme enthusiast. She covers everything from beauty and fashion to feminism and travel.