Turn your small business ideas into reality with our top tips


Do you have big ideas for a small business?

New research from Virgin Money shows the pandemic has energized our national entrepreneurial spirit.


Aurelija Meakin’s company balloonista.com was the winner of the SBS in 2019Credit: Unknown, clear with photo office

Driven by a desire to change the way we work, people have collectively submitted 31 million new business ideas since March 2020.

But only 37% of potential entrepreneurs have the ambition to start their own business. If you are one of them, Sunemployment is here to help.

We’ve teamed up with Theo Paphitis from Dragons’ Den, just to get you started.

Today, Birmingham hosts its annual #SBS Small Business Sunday event, which brings together the UK’s best small businesses.

Aurelija Meakin’s company balloonista.com was the winner of the SBS in 2019, delighting the former telecommunications worker.

Aurelija, from Orpington, Kent, said: “Running your own business can be difficult.

“You have to be persistent and resourceful, and not be too hard on yourself.

“If you have a dream, you must achieve it.”

Here are Theo’s tips for budding entrepreneurs.

  • One of the biggest hurdles facing aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners is a lack of confidence. You have to believe in your idea – even more than that, be the one to bore your friends to death about it.
  • Never be afraid to make decisions. Once you have an idea, the confidence to make decisions is crucial to starting and sustaining a business.
  • If you don’t take calculated risks, you stand still. If a decision turns out to be wrong, identify it quickly and address it if you can. Failing that, find someone else who can.
  • It’s normal not to succeed the first time. My experience of making bad decisions is what helped build my confidence, making me who I am today.
  • Never underestimate the power of social media and remember that the internet has leveled the playing field for small businesses.
  • Don’t forget to dream. A machine can’t do that!

Work our way back in

The government’s Living With Covid plan has prompted more companies to call their employees back to the office.

Psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos, from the SmileDirectClub Trust Council, says: “Returning to the office after months or even years of working from home due to the pandemic can seem daunting.”

Here is his advice:

  • Remember that change naturally causes anxiety. However, we only grow and develop when we step out of our comfort zone.
  • Retain the best aspects of working from home. If you were going for lunchtime walks while working from home, try to fit it into your new routine.
  • Have the confidence to ask to work from home if needed. If you want to continue working from home for part of the week, check with your employer.
  • Ask for help. Chances are you’re not the only one feeling anxious about returning to the office. Ask a manager to create a support group.
  • Remember why you are good at your job. Talk to colleagues who inspire you, ask questions, and make it a point to connect with your team. All of this will help you resettle and contribute to your professional growth.


ARE YOU a bright spark? ÉLECTRICITÉ NORD-OUEST needs 30 new apprentices. Hurry – applications close tonight. Head to jobtrain.fr.

BUILD a bright future with BELLWAY. The home builder is hiring 57 apprentices nationwide. Find your ideal position on bellway.co.uk/careers.

That’s all the pay

SALARY has overtaken flexibility as the top priority for job seekers as the cost of living crisis rages.

A new report from recruiters Michael Page reveals that 40% of those looking to move are doing so to earn more money, compared to 30% who want a more flexible working week.

Overall, 28% of employees are actively seeking a new position, compared to 43% of 18-34 year olds.

Doug Rode, MD UK&I at Michael Page, said: “A year ago, flexibility might have topped salary on the checklist of work priorities.

“However, with rising inflation and the cost of living crisis putting pressure on workers across the country, it is clear that the tables have turned again.”

Earn your spurs

INCREASE your net income by scoring a hot new job.

From 10 a.m. to 2.30 p.m. today, Tottenham Hotspur is holding a job fair with 50 top employers, including Google, HSBC, retailer JD Sports, Ikea and the police.

Roles range from entry level, interns and apprenticeships to graduate and management positions. The event, which takes place at Spurs’ spectacular stadium in north London, is open to anyone over the age of 18. No pre-registration is required.

Sarah Ebanja, Chief Executive of the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, said: “We can’t wait to open our doors to people looking for what could be a life-changing opportunity.”

Learn more about tinyurl.com/3rpu8sd8.

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