Barclays is a major global financial services provider. It operates in over 50 countries and employs more than 156,000 people. In 2008, Barclays had an income of £23 billion, generating a profit before tax of just over £6 billion.
In the UK, Barclays has 741,000 business customers. Many of these customers run relatively small enterprises; some are new business start-ups. Barclays offers a dedicated banking service for smaller enterprises called Local Business. This is provided through the bank’s UK retail banking division.
Even during the downturn, many people are choosing to start their own businesses. Barclays estimated that more than 436,000 new businesses started up in England and Wales in 2008. However, the number of businesses that ceased trading also rose in 2008. While the majority of these businesses closed voluntarily, setting up in business also carries risks.
This case study looks at the challenges of setting up a new business. It looks at some of the decisions that must be made by a budding entrepreneur. It outlines some of the services and support that are offered to business start-ups by a financial institution like Barclays.
An obvious starting point is the business idea. Many people think that they might have spotted a business opportunity. Translating that thought into action is another matter. There are many ways of coming up with a bright idea.
Many people are inspired by existing businesses. Tim O’Neil runs T&T Vision, a business that sells spectacles through an online shop on eBay. Tim got the idea for his business in his first year at university. His father bought a pair of reading glasses online. This seemed a good idea for an e-commerce business.
Before setting up a new business, there are important questions to answer. This requires market research to systematically gather, record and analyse data about the market for the planned goods or services. This is an ongoing process as markets are always changing. However, some market research is essential before starting any new business.