The Graduate Career Guidebook

2nd Edition

by Steve Rook

Chapters 21 and 22: Becoming an entrepreneur and Getting your business started

Generating ideas

In order to set up your own business, you’ll have to think of something to sell. Don’t feel you have to come up with some amazingly creative new idea – you just need to be able to deliver a good or service that some people will buy instead of (or as well as) the main product on the market. Here are three strategies to get you started:

  • Focus on your skills, study and experience. Businesses generally stand a much greater chance of success when entrepreneurs know what they’re doing and understand the market.
  • Use new technology. Nowadays, most new technologies are connected to IT and communications and numerous opportunities have opened up in these sectors.
  • Look overseas. Anyone who’s travelled will have seen that there are thousands of business ideas that aren’t exploited here in the UK.

Now have a go at coming up with some ideas of your own, using this activity.

Once you’ve generated a few ideas, use this template to come up with a one-page business plan.

Glossary of useful business terms

If you’re going to start a new business or do any further research, you should get a handle on the terms and phrases that are used in the sector, such as:

  • Affiliate: A partner organisation or a business that links to your website for their own marketing benefit.
  • Brand: Either a unique variation of a good/service (for example, Nike is a brand of sportswear) or the specific symbol that identifies a unique variety of a good/service (for example, the Nike ‘tick’ shown on the company’s apparel).
  • Business angels: Private investors in small businesses.
  • Companies House: UK body responsible for forming and dissolving public companies.
  • Content marketing: Content designed to influence views/generate sales (usually on the web or social networks).
  • Direct marketing: Advertising delivered directly to the customer, e.g. texting, emails, fliers, catalogues and promotional letters.
  • Engagement rate: The extent to which users are interacting with your channels.
  • Google analytics: Google’s free service that analyses your web traffic.
  • Influencer: Someone on social networks who has the power to promote your brand.
  • Intellectual property: Any creative endeavour that’s considered to be the property of its creator.
  • Marketing mix: The factors that make up a good marketing strategy, traditionally comprising the four Ps: product, promotion, price and place.
  • Point of sale: Where goods and services are transacted – for example, cash registers, credit/debit card machines, computers and mobile phones.
  • Reach: How far your posts have gained traction in terms of the views they have received (not counting repeated viewings).
  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO): Gaining as much traffic to your website as possible through search engines.
  • Web traffic: The total data sent and received by websites as determined by the number of visitors and pages viewed.
See pages 285-289 of The Graduate Career Guidebook for a full list of common business terms and phrases.

Further resources