Man sitting outside his cafe

By Northern Munkee

Now is a great time to start up in business. Don’t listen to the Brexiteers and the naysayers. We are in a period of economic uncertainty and instability but that’s the point – it is uncertain so depending on how you fill your glass we could be in a positive or a negative environment.

Now, I’m no Mystic Meg and I genuinely don’t know which way it will fall when we come through trade negotiations but I do know that it doesn’t mean we should give up, go home and shut up shop!

If you’re going to start a food or drink business any time soon, instead of setting up your own commercial kitchen, take a look at licensing a kitchen instead that’s already equipped and ready to move in to, with no long-term contract so you can always get out if Brexit hits you hard…

However if, like me, you err on the side of caution or even go as far as saying you’re risk averse then the current climate may mean that you change your approach to business; and that makes sense to me. Thankfully if you do think like that you’re not alone; help is at hand. This post looks at three examples of business collectives designed to boost small business inception, growth and expansion.

1. Incubate to Accumulate

Business accelerators or incubators offer start-up companies work or office space and direct funding. According to a report published by this year there are currently 205 incubators, 163 accelerators, 11 per-accelerators, 7 virtual accelerators and 4 virtual incubators operating in the UK. Now is a great time to get involved with these start-up platforms as they’re on a rapid growth rate with just over half (54%) the number of incubators operating being created since 2011. Incubators and accelerators may still feel like a fairly new concept but for the foreseeable future they’re here to stay.

2. Sharing is Caring

Another fantastic example for food of using the collective to drive your business is shared commercial kitchens for food companies like FoodStars deliver. It’s a fantastic world where you can license a commercial kitchen and avoid huge, crippling capital expense when you’re starting out. FoodStars are now offering facilities across Bermondsey, Bethnall Green, Vauxhall, Shoreditch and Battersea so if you’re in the Greater London area and you want to start your own Uber Eats Empire or the next big thing in food or drink product development then it’s now really easy to do so!

3. The Power of the Crowd

Crowdfunding has received a lot of bad press in recently and has been portrayed as bad investment which appears to have scared off a lot of serious investors however it’s still a very real, very viable option for start-ups. Crowdfunding has evolved in 2017 and I’m now seeing young businesses pitching for much smaller sums of money attracting city types, small business supporters and genuine fans! What could be better? So instead of giving away huge chunks of your business to ever more demanding portfolio builders, businesses are now using the power of the crowd to create fans, fans that will have a vested interest in evangelising and making your dreams work. Belting!

So that’s it: my guide for small businesses in using the collective to induce business growth, inception and expansion. As an entrepreneur you’re likely to be an independent, self-starter with all the drive in the world to do it on your own but trust me, it’s much easier to work with the collective.

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