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At Outset, we’ve drawn on over a decade of experience and acknowledged best practice to build a programme that anyone with ambition, common sense and a willingness to put in the hours can use to start and grow a business. Over 100 of our own start-up experts have helped create, deliver and develop this great help and guidance: four people build their own business every working day thanks to Outset.

The Outset approach

It’s really important to us that you know self-employment is a big life changer and that if you are going to do it, you should try to do it well and for the long term.

The Outset programme is structured to include a combination of personal and business skills development, with a starting point of ‘possibility’ for every person. Its primary goal is to help support the creation of successful, sustainable new businesses around the country by helping people to pursue self-employment. However, the programme works equally well for people returning to work or traditional employment, or preparing people for education, training or skills development of any kind by giving people a set of core, transferrable skills.

What makes the Outset programme so special is that every piece of content is blended in a way that balances aspects of both personal and enterprise development, because we know that when it comes to starting a new business. As far as we’re concerned, the two go hand in hand.

If you’re starting out for the first time, then you probably need a combination of personal and business skills development plus market research to test the feasibility of your new business idea. We can also support you if you are already self-employed and have been trading for a few years but are struggling – perhaps you need support managing your cash flow, help finding ways to boost your profits, or some guidance reviewing your pricing strategy. It can be easy to start trading without this solid foundation in place!

Outset Online is designed to make your learning experience as smooth and easy as possible. It includes over 140 video tutorials, a range of different downloadable guides and templates, interactive quizzes and activities for putting your learning into practice, user-friendly calculators that take the pain out of financial planning plus a complete online business plan builder – it’s all there. So no matter what stage you’re at, we can help you explore market research techniques and offers tips and techniques for developing a marketing strategy that will work most effectively to support your business model. We can also help you consider promotional strategies to help your business sustain over a long period of time without relying on big budgets.

All you need is access to the internet and you’re all set, working at your own pace, wherever you want.

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What about accessing finance?

Our Outset Finance service helps you apply for a government-backed Start Up Loan once you’ve prepared your business plan and cash-flow forecast, as well as a few other key identification documents. Start Up Loans come at an unbeatable 6.2% APR and are specially designed for those who have been refused (or are likely to be refused) a loan by the banks. They are available to business owners in their first year of trading, though in certain circumstances, businesses in their second year can also apply.

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