Fledgling entrepreneurs in Bucks are being offered places on a free online workshop to help get them up and running as the UK emerges from lockdown.

PopUp Business School is running virtual workshops for Bucks residents keen to start their own business from March 8-19.

The online course is aimed at everyone, from those with no cash or business experience to fledgling start-ups that need guidance to keep on track.

PopUp’s events are led by successful entrepreneurs and professionals, and include advice from those who have overcome the ups and downs of business life to succeed.

It previously held live events at The Works and The Front Room in High Wycombe but was forced to move them online because of Covid restrictions.

PopUp Business School co-founder and CEO Simon Paine says he wants to help High Wycombe and the rest of Buckinghamshire “bounce back after a wretched year of restrictions and crises”.

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He said: “We know High Wycombe and Buckinghamshire have been hit hard over the past year with businesses closed and people being ill, or worse.

“But we believe things will get better and want to help people focus on the next chapter of their lives, where they are in control and doing something they love. The country is slowly emerging from lockdown, and it’s going to be a very different world.”

Mr Paine says it is “both possible and desirable” to start a business, even in the wake of a pandemic, and says the legacy of Covid-19 should not stop anyone from doing so.

He added: “Now’s actually the best time to be starting up. Everything has changed, the world has been shaken up and people who get moving can take advantage of the new order.”

Speaking about what the pandemic and virtual workshops has meant for customers, Mr Payne said: “Working online means people are actually better placed to start taking steps forward.

“For instance, we show people how to launch websites for free. Now, people are doing that during the course and sending us the links – it’s really inspiring.”

These are PopUp Business School's top five tips to starting a business

Get stuff for free

Google is free and so is this awesome search. Right now, type in the words: How do I get business cards for free? The results are amazing. There are ways to obtain free business cards, logos, websites and so much more. People advertise free stuff on Facebook and Gumtree all the time and every entrepreneur should check out Weebly. The key here is to believe you can get great stuff without spending a penny.

Borrow whatever you need

Borrow space, borrow equipment, a restaurant, borrow a kitchen, borrow people, borrow whatever you can. We had a songwriter along to a PopUp Business School event in Nottingham, UK, who was about to spend £2000 on recording equipment. After a quick Google search, we discovered her local university had several new recording studios which residents could borrow. Not only that, the university would even throw in a team of student sound engineers, producers and a technician. There are underutilised resources all around. Get creative and borrow what you need.

Barter your skills

Don’t worry, I’m not talking about swapping chickens for vegetables. But, in the modern day, we can swap our skill sets. I gained three years of accountancy services by building someone a website. My co-founder, Alan, offered free training to a marketing agency in return for some free branding. Find someone who has what you need and swap what you have for it. You have incredible skills that other people need. Swap them for what you need to get going.

Sell unwanted items

If you do need to generate some fast cash then there’s no better way than clearing out items that are gathering dust at home. Joanna, a mobile beautician, needed a portable treatment table but couldn’t afford the £120 cost. If she didn’t get a return on the investment, she wouldn’t have enough to cover her bills. So, we encouraged her to sell her underused running machine (only being used as a clothes horse) and spend the cash on the treatment table. We all have unused stuff lying around in our house. Sell it and create your ‘start-up slush fund.’

Get paid in advance

Getting paid in advance is one of the best business practices I can recommend. It means you can use your customer’s money to get moving and is a foundational principle of the PopUp Business School. You might be thinking: ‘Yes, but that wouldn’t work with my business.’ You can make this work with any kind of business, you just have to think differently about how you make it happen.

Pitch your ideas first

Pitch your ideas first, then shape your offering based on the feedback you get from the market. Once you know they are interested, ask them to pay upfront. You might have to incentivise them with a discount.

When we launched the first PopUp Business School, we pitched it to a sponsor in March, got paid in April and delivered it six months later, in October. Getting paid in advance solves cash flow problems in one big swoop.

To book a place on the online workshop, visit popupbusinessschool.co.uk/high-wycombe.