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The SIE Blog


A guest blog from the Young Innovators Challenge team


Starting up a business can be a daunting prospect for anyone, especially young people.

Finding a great idea can often be the easy part – it’s knowing how to launch it off the ground that can sometimes prove difficult.

Many young people are bursting with innovative ideas but have no idea where to start in order to develop them into a business.

Hard work, a business plan and funding are all things that spring to mind when thinking about starting a business, but what one is the most important?

At YIC HQ, we have compiled a list of tips from a variety of sources to help you bring your big idea to life. Take a deep breath, read our ten tips and seize the opportunity to become Scotland’s next young business talent.

1. Think Outside the Box
During forward-planning or strategic decision-making, brainstorm at least three approaches to come up with an idea that is unique to you.

2. Time the plunge
The best time to go it alone is often when young. It’s far harder to take the risk of setting up a new business when you have a family or other major commitments. Remember to think of unpaid work placements as experience you can use when setting up a business.

3. Write a business plan
This should include marketing and financial information you can use to raise funding. Remember to review and update this document regularly to keep it fresh.

4. Believe in yourself, but get help from others
Don’t accept professional advice that feels inconsistent with how you want to work. Get advisers, including enterprise bodies, to explain anything you don’t understand – and then make YOUR OWN decision.

5. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is
Think carefully… is an idea valuable and effective long-term, or are you being seduced by the promise of any easy way out of hard work?

6. Do your market research
Family and friends will tell you what you want to hear and that your idea is great, but it is crucial that you go to places like your local shopping centre and do a number of polls to determine if there is a demand for your product or service. Only then can you get serious about taking forward your idea.

7. Don’t just stick with the same old suppliers
Make sure they are aware you’re always looking for a cheaper ways to get products/service.

8. Manage talent
Talented people can be difficult to manage, but give them as much responsibility as you can with clear objectives and they will thrive. Also don’t be afraid to hire people more talented than you, they will help make your business a success.

9. At first avoid borrowing from a bank
Use sources such as zero per cent credit cards, friends, family or crowd-source funding from sites like or Investors will ask for serious equity and you don’t want to give this up.

10. Enter enterprise competitions
It is definitely worth entering competitions like the Young Innovators Challenge which will offer vital seed funding as well as practical guidance.