Working for yourself in Scotland

The Internet has opened up business opportunities around the world and indeed you are just a key click away from a customer who lives on the other side of the world. Therefore, we have seen more and more people looking to work for themselves in Scotland and to reduce the financial pressure which the economic situation has brought upon many. However, the idea of setting up a business and working for yourself is one which has confused many people who appear ill informed and unaware of the financial assistance available.

Government grants

The UK government and the Scottish government are both very keen to get as many people into employment as possible and as a consequence there are a number of grants available for apprenticeship positions. These are there for the long term training of employees and are strictly regulated to reduce abuse of the system. Historically there have been various companies around the UK who have taken on trainees under this system and then literally thrown them onto the scrapheap when government assistance comes to an end.

If you have a position vacant and you are looking for somebody to assist you in your small business then perhaps it is worth taking a look at the grants available and the financial assistance on offer.

Tax rebates

Over the last few years a number of small businesses across the UK have benefited from various tax rebates and council tax incentives. This ensures that more businesses are given financial assistance at the start of their long journey to profit thereby giving them more chance of being successful. There are many things to consider when working for yourself including direct taxes, indirect taxes and even national insurance payments. Any financial assistance which can be given in the short to medium term is for many people a godsend.

Business loans

There are many small businesses which can be set up overnight and literally hit the ground running but there are also other businesses which depend upon equipment and properties which are often expensive. The current climate in the UK does not encourage banks to lend money to small businesses where there is a significant degree of risk of failure in the first two or three years. Therefore the authorities have put together a band of business loans which can be applied for by anybody across the UK using specific circumstances and criteria. Do you qualify for such assistance?

Business advice

There is no doubt that those who believe that they “know everything about business” are the ones who are most likely to fail because of their inability to accept help. The reality of working for yourself is that you cannot be an expert in every element of business and you cannot be an expert in every element of everyday business life. Have you ever seen anybody who is perfect with accounts and also has a telephone manner which is perfect for talking to customers? Have you seen anybody who can write the best article in the world and can also design the best website?

The reality is that if assistance is required there are a number of business ventures around the UK specifically in place to offer help and practical advice. These are often manned by people who have been there, done it and have the T-shirt thereby they are able to pass on vital and valuable information from their very own experiences. Whatever difficulties you are having setting up your business there is no doubt that others will have had these problems before you and others will have these problems after you. Speaking to somebody who has been there and done it will let you know that you are not suffering alone and you are not stupid!

Business angels

Some people may suggest that the era of entrepreneurship in the UK has long gone and investors are less willing to take a risk on a potential blockbusting venture. However, the reality is that there are many groups of business angels around the UK ready and available to offer advice and funding for business ideas which would normally be frowned upon as too high risk. If you were to read the press you would probably think that such funding was not available but it most certainly is and there is actually an excess of cash waiting to be invested. If you have an idea, if you have a solution to a common problem or you believe you have the next Facebook then why not chance your arm?

Growth, growth, growth

There are many successful small businesses in and around Scotland and many of these have been ongoing for some time now. The ones which have moved from a successful small business to a successful large business are the ones which continue to grow, grow, grow on a regular basis. There is nothing wrong in sitting back having created a business which brings insufficient income to fund your lifestyle but if you are looking to make serious money then you need to have a plan of attack for the future. You need to know your market, you need to know your customers and you need to know your limitations – have an end goal in mind.


The opportunity to set up and run your own business has never been more available to the masses than it is today. The Internet has literally brought customers to just a key click away from your products and from earning some cash. However, while many people would welcome the opportunity to work for themselves and to be their own boss there is still scepticism and confusion.

Thankfully the UK government and the Scottish government are very proactive in the area of Scottish small businesses offering practical advice and cold hard cash. There is also an array of business angels up and down Scotland willing to take a chance on opportunities which may well have been rejected by the banks as high risk. It will be interesting to see how the current crop of small businesses perform bearing in mind the economic downturn and the difficulties facing many people in the UK. Has government assistance been enough?

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