Charlotte Parker: Lessons before Launching a Business
Charlotte Parker is the Project Co-ordinator of Shell LiveWIRE UK, Shell’s flagship social investment programme, which supports young entrepreneurial talent in the UK to develop and grow. As Project Co-ordinator, Charlotte works closely with entrepreneurs across a variety of sectors with their applications for Shell LiveWIRE’s Smarter Future Award which grants one young entrepreneur £5,000 in start-up funding each month.
In a bid to learn more about the world of enterprise support, Charlotte attended PNE Enterprise’s 2 Day Intensive Business Course. Delivered in two full-day sessions, the course covered the essentials of business management and strategy including business planning, market research and techniques, law and finance and business sustainability.
Below, Charlottes shares her insight into the 2 Day Intensive Business Course and offers her experience of business start-up support.
What did you hope to get out of the 2 Day course?
The main hope of attending the two-day business course was to get a more thorough understanding of what actually goes into setting up a business. I had a basic idea of the necessities—business idea, funding, marketing etc.—but was surprised to learn about the many stages that go into an idea before you can call it a business. I was also interested to know if I liked the idea of being self-employed any more after taking the course. The idea of going into business for yourself, being your own boss and taking those risks on your own had always been scary to me but whether that was fear of the unknown (or just complete incompatibility with self-employment) was undecided!
What did you find most beneficial about the course?
The way the course was broken down into the main considerations was very useful. I never felt that I was being overloaded with information or that we were moving on to the next part before I understood the last discussion. The combination of groupwork, lecture and a bit of silliness made the days go quickly and the learning stay fresh and interesting.
What impact will the course have on your role/business idea?
The course helped me to see that you don’t have to jump straight into business immediately. In fact, it’s important to take your time with each stage of research and make sure that your idea is pitched just right. This has made me more likely to set up a small business as I don’t feel the pressure of having to do everything at once.
What did you learn about starting a business and the support available?
I learned that there is a ton of support out there! There are events and workshops, often free, where you can go and meet like-minded people or pick the brains of experts who have already been there and done it. Talking to somebody in the business area of the library and at places like PNE Enterprise are free as well and many consultancies offer free advice up to a point. Starting a business is a lot of thinking, planning, worrying so it’s very important to make use of the resources that are available to you.
Why do you think it’s important for pre-starts to attend business workshops?
I think it’s really important for pre-starts to attend business workshops. Even if you already have a fully-formed, fully planned out idea in your head, the likelihood is there’s something you haven’t even considered, and the course leaders are there to help.
Workshops are also a great way to network and make some new contacts so even if you do come away not having learned a lot, you’ve met 10 new people who might come in handy at some point in your business journey.