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New businesses that seek advice stand best chance of success

Brian Allen and his sister Noeleen of Aquanauts LtdA business start-up campaign by Business Link is helping budding entrepreneurs and young businesses across Devon and Cornwall increase their chances of surviving the critical early months and growing into profitable businesses.

Last year Business Link provided guidance and advice on raising finance, managing staff and finding customers to nearly 8,000 new business owners and entrepreneurs investigating starting their own businesses. They are now actively seeking more individuals that harbour dreams of starting their own business as research has revealed that 80% of new businesses that take one to one professional advice in the early days are still trading.

It is an encouraging statistic yet research also shows that 25% of all new businesses take no professional advice at all – and it is those individuals Business Link are hoping to reach out to.

Business Link's head of marketing Ian Gent comments: "It is startling that so many people will 'risk' their money, time and effort on trying to start a new business and yet not take any professional advice - whether it is from their bank, accountant or from a Business Link or our Enterprise Agency partners. The campaign was designed to encourage more enterprising individuals to come forward for free professional advice and support."

Those individuals that do come forward will be sent one of two packs – 'starting a business' or 'running a business'. Each pack provides practical help with all the essential business issues and the recipients are also encouraged to call specialists at Business Link to discuss their plans and challenges in more detail. Depending upon the complexity of the business a meeting with a start-up business adviser can be arranged. Once the business is up and running the adviser is available to offer continued advice, encouragement and support over the critical early months.

Local businessman Brian Allen first had the idea for Aquanauts Ltd, his own scuba diving school in Plymouth, eight years ago. Initially Brian signed up for a 'starting a business' course run by the local Enterprise Agency where he learnt how to plan his business and work out the all important finances.

Brian decided to build upon his initial plan and take time out to search for the right premises. He re-approached the Business Advice Centre in Plymouth prior to starting the business in April 2004.

Brian explains: "They were able to help me raise the finances, we raised a third ourselves, the Business Advice Centre sourced match funding and loans and the final third was a bank loan."

Brian has been joined in the business by his sister Noeleen. Business is booming and they are currently employing four other staff. He continues: "Not only has the business been good for us but we estimate our customers from outside the area spend £250,000 on hospitality and accommodation whilst they are diving with us and that has to be good news locally.

"The business has been the best decision I have made - it has given me more stress but with it more personal freedom and it is extremely rewarding. The professional advice I have received has been very valuable, you need to be able to take it all in and then apply what will work for your own business. We find we use the Business Link website as a constant resource for accessing information and advice – it is most helpful."

The Federation of Small Business have undertaken surveys recently that indicate in the South West in 2005, 73% of new businesses had started from scratch as opposed to individuals buying out a going concern or inheriting a business. Research also highlighted a similar percentage of these entrepreneurs have had no experience of running a business - it is reassuring that Business Link and the region's enterprise agencies are on hand to offer free advice and support to ensure these businesses avoid the pitfalls and survive and succeed. For a free 'Starting in Business' pack call 0845 600 9966 or visit

For further information please contact Carolyn Daw on 01566 771863 or email:

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in Business Link through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF).


Editor's notes:

The free information pack, 'If you're thinking of starting a business' contains:

Start-up guide – essential advice and information before you start
Could you run your own business – a reality check to make sure self employment is right for you
Researching your market – a guide on how to make sure you're going to succeed
Pricing your product or service – a guide on how to ensure your get the price right … and make money
Writing a business plan – How you get all the details down in one plan and how it can work for you.
Self employment and tax – advice on the tax implications and requirements of self employment
No-nonsense guide to regulations – full details on important regulations and legislation
Business Information Service – the business information available through our enquiry service
The Business Link service – a full list of all our service that can help you in every aspect of your business

The free information pack, 'If you're running a new business' contains:

Key issues in running your business – a guide of what has to be managed and how to do it
Increasing profitability – how to focus on the issues that will increase your business performance
Planning marketing – the key activity that will ensure you find more customers and sell more
Your money and your business – all the important finance issues and how you manage them
No-nonsense guide to regulations – how you deal with all regulations involved in running a business
Business Tax explained – the tax issues facing new businesses and the support available through HM Revenue & Customs
Business Information Service – the business information available through our enquiry service
The Business Link service – a full list of all our service that can help you in every aspect of your business

Business Link provides a free information and enquiry service via an information gateway on the web and via the telephone on 0845 600 9966 to all businesses and those considering starting a business. Additionally, it provides impartial business advice and support through a network of partner organisations, which it co-ordinates, and a register of independent business practitioners.

Business Link for Devon and Cornwall delivers the national Business Link service to the region under contract from the South West of England Regional Development Agency, which was established by government in 1999 to promote the long-term economic success of the region. It does this by working with others to give people the skills they need, encourage enterprise, improve infrastructure, help communities with regeneration and promote the strengths of the region.

Business Link has received Objective One investment (European Regional Development Fund and EAGGF) to help companies improve performance and grow.


Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

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