View Full Version : Business Link

17-12-2002, 01:11 AM

I had my first meeting with Business Link two weeks ago. When I went to see them, my idea was all in my head, I had written nothing on paper, well just a few notes. They enrolled me on "starting your own business course" in February 03 for 10 weeks. Has anyone done this business course before, what's your opinion please?

We didn't discuss anything much apart from getting my business plan together hence the course in Feb. I was pleased with the overall meeting but at the same time slighlty disappointed to the point, that I feel nothing will be in placed in regards to my business idea until I finish the course.

Have you received any documents/business plan templates following your meeting with busines link?

What's your experience with Business Link/Princess Trust ?
I will be contacting Princess Trust soon.

Regards all xxx

17-12-2002, 10:23 AM
I've been on a similar course. Yours will probably cover research, marketing, products, cash-flow forecast, rasing finance, writing a business plan etc.....If you haven't been on such a course, it will be a great opertunity to learn the basics. Starting a business is complecated and there are probably many things you may have forgotten, particularly if this is your first business.
Don't feel you need the course before starting your business. You may find the course even more useful if you've been up and running for a bit! Starting is not the only challenge

So long as your plan's ok, it's been checked out by the advisor, your bank "relationship manager", you're registered with live-wire and everything, then go for it

If you haven't had a template, you can get one from most banks along with free financial software (very very basic software)

I understand princes advisors have run businesses themselves for a number of years. I'm told they are really helpful in shaping your idea, although I have no actual experience

I hope some of that waffle was helpful
good luck

17-12-2002, 10:23 AM
Business Link should provide templates, if not try your bank or this website, I believe that in one of the packs there is a template.

I notice you haven't been a member for that long so you have probably not seen several posts regarding Business Link. Business Links are a good idea, they give free advice and can point you in the right direction and get you going BUT this is with the good ones, some are nigh on useless unfortunately because they don't have the knowledge and experience of the Business World to help you enough, they've just attended a few presentations or induction courses.
Business Link will obtain more funding by getting people to attend courses so without being cynical that is probably why you have been enrolled because if you have left feeling disappointed then they haven't done a good job. It's a shame that it wasn't a good experience, try Prince's Trust and if they're not helpful try other members of this forum for the advice you require.

17-12-2002, 12:30 PM
Hi guys,

Thank you both for kind advice. I have been working on this business idea I had for few months off and on prior to my meeting with BL, spending hours on the net searching for wholesalers/manufacturers, searching for similar shops/retailers; what products they have to offer, prices etc., reading peoples story of starting up business, the highs and lows, forums to forums, requesting wholesalers brochures and pricelist and also working on a website until I came to "business plan" topic, I was advice to draw out a plan as it is beneficial to the business, perhaps I'm the type of person who can be impatient and just like to do things there and then. I thought if I can find a good suppliers for my products, do my website and have some financial support then I don't need the plan, I'll just go ahead and start trading on the net.

When I went to see the BL advisor I had no business plan written out so he suggested I should enrol for this course for 10 weeks then only I could be taken seriously perhaps. That's how I felt, whereas I thought I was ready to start my business prior to my meeting with them and that my meeting with will help me find local suppliers etc and progress to the next level but it turned out in different direction maybe for the best.

Perhaps as I didn't have anything in the plan so my idea was not taken seriously so I'll see what happens after the course in April.

I receive more advice from this forum than BL, he didn't even seem to be so interested in my idea, we didn't go into details with my idea, it was just right you need a plan so we'll enroll for this course and we'll see you back in April, enough said!

I'll be contacting Princess Trust soon but don't you think I should have a business plan before seeing Princess Trust?

I have received a business template from HSBC, I have never done this before so I'm struggling what to write. BL told me they were sending me a Business Pack/template but I have received nothing as yet.

All the best xxx

18-12-2002, 02:28 PM
I guess you should have gone with your business plan no matter how incomprehensive it is, even if it is just your idea and the research you have done, that would have given BL something to work on. I had my meeting with them just last week and I am quite impressed.
Initially I sent them the business plan I had written, it was checked and a letter was sent to me saying my business plan was too elementary, a dummy guide was included which I used to build on the plan. This was sent to BL again and I was invited for an appointment, during the meeting some concerns were raised and areas needing more research were highlighted but the guy seemed really impressed and said if I could improve on the plan as suggested, then the next step would be funding. No mention of any course, I didn't even know the 10 weeks course existed, I only attended the one day free training for enterprise, I would suggest you attend that and get on with your business plan.

Good luck

18-12-2002, 04:52 PM
Absolutely, despite what I said about Business Link, they were right to advise you about a business plan.

Business plans are an essential cornerstone to any business proposal. It not only gives you focus and direction but shows any third party (e.g. funding providers) that you understand your business and the market in which you operate plus shows how and why they should, for example, lend to you.

For any projects I get involved, with the exception of selling a company, I will prepare a Business Plan and financial projections for my client, unless the client is sophisticated enough to prepare this themselves, which is usually only 25% of the time and only by companies with turnover of >5Million. Unfortunately, depsite people thinking they know how to prepare a business plan, often they don't and need a lot of help. Being able to follow a template and getting the content right are two different things and both are equally as important.

Whatever you do, prepare a business plan.

18-12-2002, 06:59 PM
I have had meetings with both The Prince's Trust and Business Link and both my business advisers were very helpful. I have received funds from The Prince's Trust and have just had a meeting today with the people who provide the funds on behalf of Business Link (so fingers crossed!!).

I originally wrote my plan with the help of a book by The Sunday Times which gives you exercises to complete in relation to your business. A lot of people have commented on how well my plan has been written and I must admit, I do feel very proud as I know I put in a lot of hardwork.

I would recommend that you continue to write your business plan before your course and try to find information from either the banks, internet etc. which will give you a guideline.

Good luck

Natalie Brown
NLB Travel

18-12-2002, 07:35 PM
Originally posted by natalie
I have had meetings with both The Prince's Trust and Business Link and both my business advisers were very helpful. I have received funds from The Prince's Trust and have just had a meeting today with the people who provide the funds on behalf of Business Link (so fingers crossed!!).

I originally wrote my plan with the help of a book by The Sunday Times which gives you exercises to complete in relation to your business....

Natalie Brown

Hey Natalie, 2 questions for you:

1. What's the name of the Sunday Times book?

2. Are the Prince's Trust and BusinessLink grants repayable or are they awards that you don't have to pay back?


19-12-2002, 06:56 PM
Hi Tim,

1. The name of the book which I used is "The Business Plan Workbook" - Colin Barrow, Paul Barrow, Robert Brown (The Sunday Times).

2. The Prince's Trust may offer you a grant which is not repayable. However, this is only in extreme cases whereby you have either been unemployed for a long period of time, you have a disability etc and is for a maximum of around 1500. The loan is repayable over 3 years (I think!).

Funds from Business Link are only a loan and again, they are repayable over a number of years.

The bonus of course by receiving funds from these organisations is that the interest is minimal and you receive help and advice from a mentor on a monthly basis.

Natalie Brown
NLB Travel