They say the key is to talk to as many people as possible, and to chase all potential sources of funding. It is certainly true that friends can be an inestimable resource, with all their expertise that you never previously understood or bothered to take notice of. A comprehensive business plan is essential, which can be drawn-up with help from specialist services, and should be checked by an accountant (which can often be negotiated for free on the basis of possible future instruction). A successful business plan will depend on market research, or at least its credibility will.
Funding can come from friends, family, banks, business 'angels' or venture capitalists. To professional lenders you are going to have to display thorough research into your market, and communicate quickly and clearly what your proposal is and what the benefits are. Having your business at its optimum state, having added as much value as possible yourself through other sources, means you can sell equity to investors at a higher price.
Venture capital firms are tending to concentrate on their own portfolios, and prefer to leave early stage funding to business angels, concentrating themselves on later stage businesses in these economic times. The British Business Angels Association (see below) lists networks and is the "only trade association dedicated to promoting angel investing and supporting early stage investment in the UK". Sponsored by the Government and a number of names from the early stage industry, it provides guidance and links for both start-ups and investors. Angels are often enthusiasts, there to bring their hands-on expertise and contacts to the table as well as their investment. There are nearly 30 professional networks of angels in the UK.
A good starting point, for reference, is www.businesslink.gov.uk (tel: 0845 600 9 006), a government backed resource providing practical advice for business, including a start-up checklist and advice on everything from business plans, grants and subsidies, protecting a brand or idea, employment issues, taxes, compliance, international trading etc. to buying an selling a business, compiled between the Government and relevant business-support organisations. It has a directory of over 3,000 contacts comprising government departments and agencies, local authorities, business support organisations, professional bodies etc. The British Library Business & IP Centre also provides planning, networking and IP advice.
Also see 'Restaurateur', 'Starting a home business', 'Starting a business online' and 'Alternatives within legal practice - Starting a law firm'.
Perhaps some of the best pointers are provided by those who have already set up on their own. See what ex-lawyers have done under the profiles below.
20 St Thomas Street
Career Changer Profile(s)
Whilst every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of this information at the time of posting, the information is intended as guidance only. It should not be considered as professional or legal advice.