Starting your own business can be daunting, there are many things you need to think about and organise before you can take the plunge.

Unfortunately, a lot of these usually require meeting other people and are therefore not possible due to the current situation in the UK. However, there are some things you can do to start the process and help is available if you know where to look...

Market research

When you start a new business, or even develop an existing one, market research can help. It's the starting point that will give you a good idea of what people need from your business. Many businesses fail because they don't undertake sufficient market research. Below are a few links to sources of market research information available to you, that you can access digitally:

  • Office for National Statistics - economic, demographic statistics across the UK.
  • Manchester City Council - available online if you have a Manchester Library Membership card. Access to published research on different business sectors, types of business, lists of registered companies, suppliers, 'how to' information via COBRA looking at different businesses. Intellectual property, copyright law etc. Usually available in person at the Business and Intellectual Property Centre, 2nd Floor, Manchester Central Library.
  • Ask About Business - industry guides, available online and usually via Business and Intellectual Property Centre as above.
  • UK Government - important information to help you understand your legal obligations when starting a business. Also free webinars (live and pre-recorded) to help you understand how to start a business, expenses, record keeping, self-assessment and more.
  • Manchester City Council MiVentures - free telephone business advice service available via Manchester City Council.

Business plan

Once your market research is complete, you can begin your business plan. This is your roadmap of where you think your business will go, based on your market research. You'll also need a cash flow forecast to compliment your business plan.

Cash flow forecast

The cash flow forecast provides an idea of the income/sales and expenditure/spend that you anticipate during the first year of trading. The sales figures, pricing policy, set up costs and running costs will come from your research. The research you undertake now will go a long way to help you to know how well your business could do.

Help is available

Not sure where to start? You can also find more information and advice in our self-employment hub. Or, if you'd like to discuss your business idea with an experienced Enterprise Adviser, please contact Wayne Wilson at or 07471 142875. .