Jackie: Unemployed? Waiting for a job? Well, why not set up a company and employ yourself?
Richard: It may seem crazy to launch a business during an economic downturn but in fact there are positive points.
Jackie: Yes. The BBC has interviewed many start-up entrepreneurs over the years for their In Business programme. And for this week's podcastsinenglish.com business podcast, we're reporting back on some of their findings. So Richard, what do people who have taken the DIY route say?
Richard: Well, the first thing is actually hard times are good times to start a business. Er… the main reason is that things can only get better as the economic climate improves and of course you will have learned an awful lot in the difficult times that you can utilise in the easier ones. Er… and it's tricky to start a business at any time so not just during a recession.
Jackie: The other thing that they say, if you're starting a business for the first time, one of the things to think about is a need that you have yourself. If you experience a gap in the market, then fill it. One of the fastest growing small companies in the UK at the moment is a fast-food delivery service called Appetise.com. The guy behind the website realised how difficult it was to make a big order for loads of people: talking over the telephone and how to pay for it all, so he simply set up a website where everyone can sit down individually, at a computer, place their order, submit it all in one go er… it all turns up at the same time with an itemised bill.
Richard: Yes, focus on an idea staring you in the face. If you have a problem yourself then probably lots of other people are having it as well, the gap's there in the market, so do it yourself.
Jackie: Now of course that's an online company um… which leads into the third point, Richard.
Richard: Yes… is that you already have the tools you need. Most people have a computer. Um… a little bit of technology you need to… know how to set up a website or to get the tools to set up a website. And of course having your website um… hosted on the Internet is not expensive either. And it also enables the new business to reach er… a worldwide market place at er… minimal cost.
Jackie: Now we're talking about money, that's the fourth most important thing: funding. What did the experts say about funding, Richard, because it's really difficult to get a loan, isn't it?
Richard: Yes. Bank loans [are] difficult nowadays but still most people have a credit card and a lot of people er… borrow on their credit card. A little bit risky, but another way of raising funds.
Jackie: Another example of a company that did use just a credit card loan is a company called A Suit That Fits. The founder of this company went on holiday to Nepal and realised that he could afford to have a tailor-made suit made for him and he thought lots of people in the UK would like to have tailor-made suits, especially business people, but they’re so expensive in the UK so he set up an online company whereby people can have their measurements put online, and then the clothes are made in Nepal. He started off with very little money, partly because he made people pay up front.
Richard: Yes, an advantage of a lot of online companies. You pay first, you get the products afterwards, so that helps with the finance as well.
Jackie: And perhaps the most important thing that a lot of these entrepreneurs were saying, Richard, was 'go for it!'
Richard: Just go for it!