Job loss a chance to go it alone

THE number of small businesses emerging in the Illawarra as a result of redundancies is being seen as an opportunity by many.

That is what ETC business co-ordinator Annelies Voorthuis is hearing from many people who have taken a positive spin on their redundancy, seeing it as a chance to turn their business idea into reality. And that provided hope for others.

"It is understandable that if you've been made redundant you've probably experienced the full gamut of emotions, everything from anger and depression to relief and hope," Ms Voorthuis said.

"The upside of redundancy is that after the initial shock it's a perfect opportunity to reassess your circumstances and possibly even reinvent yourself. We're seeing a lot of people who've been made redundant take the opportunity to review different business ideas they've been dreaming about and turn them into reality."

Ms Voorthuis, who heads a team of business advisers in the Illawarra, said starting your own business had many benefits.

"Being your own boss can be an extremely liberating experience, particularly if your business is based on something you are passionate about," she said.

She said there were many tips available for those who did want to give it a go.

Ms Voorthuis said five steps she recommended were to develop a one-page business plan to keep focused on objectives and key action areas, develop a marketing plan to let people know who you are and what you can offer, get advice from as many sources as possible, and engage consultants to manage specialist areas of the business such as accountants, IT professionals, graphic designers and website developers.

Finally she said do not be afraid to ask for help.

Ms Voorthuis invited anyone thinking of starting a business to contact ETC to see if they were eligible to undertake a free business readiness check and/or business health check.

"We are subsidised by the NSW government's Small Biz Connect Program to help start-up and small businesses flourish," she said.

"ETC is new to the Illawarra but has been operating for 25 years throughout regional NSW and during that time has helped more than 36,000 businesses."

Meanwhile Ms Voorthuis said the Small Biz Bus would visit the Woolworths car park at Unanderra on April 23 and W.E. Jackson Park in Thirroul on April 24.

Appointments can be made on 1300 134 359.

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