Why now is a great time to be your own boss

Why now is a great time to be your own boss

Small business ownership takes grit.

Our community has it, our team has it, and so do you.

So don’t let an economic downturn stop you in your tracks. 

From JD Sports to PC World, the British Business Bank previously shared ten examples of British businesses that started in a recession

Now, as the country prepares for a difficult winter, we’ve borrowed some success stories from our Transmit Startups family: tales to warm your heart and light a fire under your ambitions for 2023! 

We’re big believers that starting and growing your own business is still an option when the economy takes a turn for the worse.

Right now, being your own boss might actually work to your advantage. Here are three reasons (plus real life examples) why it could be the right time for you…

1. You can stop worrying about redundancy

There are a lot of people currently in employment wondering whether they’ll still have a job come January.

Companies that just about made it through the pandemic by shedding staff costs are looking to make cutbacks, as the UK economy continues its downward trend.

In an email to Smarta members, our Commercial Director, Richard Myers, explained how cutting costs can help business owners hold onto valuable employees. But the unfortunate reality is that jobs will be lost to the recession.

When companies stop recruiting and start making redundancies, people still have to find ways to pay their ever-increasing energy bills and feed their families. Self-employment rates jump up out of necessity - a trend that played out during the pandemic.

The UK saw a massive increase in start-ups in 2020.

Between July and September 2020, over 221,020 new businesses were created - the largest Q3 year-on-year increase in nearly a decade.

During the pandemic, many people started side hustles from home to help make ends meet, like Start Up Loan recipients and Smarta course alumni Gillian and Simon who used lockdown to research and develop a brand new business idea.

Their unique trivia game Strong Point is now selling in stores and online.

Gillian said:

“Simon is a self-employed teacher and couldn’t work during the lockdown of 2020. We only had my income from my retail job for months at a time and I dreaded going to work under the circumstances.

Covid had made us realise we needed something to fall back on as the future ahead of us seemed uncertain.”

The couple borrowed £9,000 in the form of a Start Up Loan to get their game into production. 

Gillian described the process of applying for the loan as “quite quick” and said thanks to professional support from Business Advisor, getting set up happened “smoothly”.

Gillian’s advice to others in a similar situation is:

“Don’t think you have to know everything and do everything yourself. There is help out there to make your idea a reality.

By seeking the help of others we’ve felt completely supported over the past seven months. That support is still ongoing from the Smarta business training team. They're helping us to expand our knowledge for what lies ahead.”

Worried about job security and considering starting something of your own? You’re in good company.

Commercial airline pilots Sarah Fitzpatrick and William Findlay saw that job losses could be on the cards when Covid grounded flights. 

During lockdown, the couple used their unexpected free time, and a £50,000 loan from Transmit Startups, to set up Stravaig Motorhome Rental. They now have a fleet of six luxury campervans available for tourists to take on road trips across Scotland.

Business Advisor, Shirley Wilson, supported the couple through the process of applying for their Start Up Loan at a time when Sarah had been furloughed and William was at risk of redundancy.

Shirley said:

“They were professional, proactive and knew exactly what they wanted to achieve, but it was a very uncertain time and they were understandably unsure whether they’d done the right thing.

I could see the demand for rental motorhomes was high, so after working together on cash flow I was happy to put their application through, allowing them to add more campervans to their fleet.”

Read about Sarah and Patrick’s business born in lockdown: Pilots in Covid thought they’d lose their jobs so started a campervan business

“We pride ourselves on being a personable, family-run business and are always available, 24/7, for customers to call if they have any queries or issues while they are out on the road.

Our aim is to maintain that personal touch as we continue to grow, potentially replacing a couple of the older vehicles with fresh new models in the near future.”

Work is as flexible as you make it

When lockdowns meant the closure of thousands of schools and childcare settings, British parents were left in an impossible situation and many had to leave their jobs in order to take care of their little ones.

Employees who were furloughed got a taste of what life would be like if they worked for themselves, and found new ways to fit work around their personal priorities - children or no children.

A flexible pattern

Textiles graduates Nicola and Susan met while studying at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. The friends went on to carve out successful careers working in London for British brands including Christopher Kane and Topshop. Susan worked as a creative pattern cutter and Nicola as a garment technologist.

When they relocated back to the west of Scotland – Nicola to Glasgow and Susan to Helensburgh – they began exploring ways of collaborating and creating a business that could flex around their young families.

With the help of £6,000 from Transmit Startups, Nicola and Susan started Homer + Howells, a sustainable alternative to fast fashion which taps into the growing home sewing trend.

Customers can download digital patterns to create their own stylish and wearable clothes. 

If you have children, other caring responsibilities, or your own health concerns that make maintaining employment tricky, self-employment offers greater flexibility than working for someone else. 

No matter how forward-thinking a company’s HR policies might be, there’s no greater freedom than being your own boss. You can work when you want and rest when you need to (provided your business can keep going without you in it every minute of every day). 

And if you’re feeling close to burnout, now could be the perfect time to tighten up your business plan, apply for a Start Up Loan and make the jump to self-employment, to get some balance back into your life.

Using your free time to build up a side-hustle alongside full or part-time employment? Read our tips on how to run a business outside of business hours.

Do more of what matters to you

If you have a hobby, personal project, of lifelong passion, you’ve probably been wondering how to turn it into a business.

Rachel Jones opened refill store Weighsted in Hebden Bridge to offer her local community “somewhere to buy both basics and treats waste-free and without having to spend a fortune.”

Hebden Bridge is a market town in Yorkshire, where Rachel has lived for 25 years. She has always cared deeply about protecting our planet and believes that good food and ingredients shouldn't cost the earth. Rachel used her loan from Transmit Startups to supply her community with everything they need, without plastic or wasteful packaging. 

Rachel said:

“I visited zero waste and organic shops all over the country to see what worked, what didn't and what shoppers really wanted. I'm proud of what we've created, but we're not done yet! I'm always looking out for lovely new things and we're growing beautifully and sustainably.”

When it comes to personal resilience, Rachel’s got (reusable) bags of it. Her shop suffered considerable flood damage in February 2020, before Covid threatened her business again.

Demonstrating flexibility and adaptability, as well as amazing community spirit, Rachel set up a click and collect service for local customers, plus a delivery service for NHS staff and vulnerable people at home. Describing the changes she implemented during this challenging period, she said:

“I set up a whole new set of working practices which are mostly based on email communication. People (including myself) have adapted well to this and it’s actually improving my sales significantly."

Longing to swap your job for something you really care about? 

All you need to get started is a business plan, a financial forecast and some information about what you’d use a loan for. Templates for all three of these documents can be found here along with guidance on how to fill them in.

Whatever twists and turns our economy is yet to go through, if you’re thinking of starting a business, Smarta’s accessible online learning can help you get prepared. The more knowledge you’ve got about business ownership, the higher your chances of making it work for you.

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Privacy Notice & Cookies Policy

We take your privacy seriously and are committed to maintaining the trust and confidence of our clients, visitors to our website and subscribers to our newsletter. Maintaining the security of your data is critical and we have implemented measures to ensure your privacy rights are respected and applied. We commit to process your data fairly, legally and to be transparent about how we do so.

This notice, which applies whether you use our services or use our website, explains our approach to data integrity and your individual rights.

It does not apply to pages hosted by our referral partners, independent consultants, and associates.

By registering with Smarta you consent to the collection, use and transfer of your information under the terms of this notice.

Put simply, we set out what we are going to do with your data in this Privacy Notice.

  • We ask you to read this Privacy Notice to ensure you are happy with the way that Smarta will process your data.

  • We ask you to confirm that you agree with our Privacy Notice when you confirm your decision to enter into a customer relationship with us.

  • We provide the option to opt into the different marketing options that you prefer.

The processing of personal data is governed by the General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 (GDPR).

The notice may change from time to time so please check for updates.

If you need further details or are unsure in any way, please contact us at  info@transmitstartups.co.uk .

Who are we?

Smarta is a trading name of Transmit Start-Ups Ltd which is a Limited Company registered in England. (referred to as “Smarta” “Transmit”, “we”, “our” or “us” in this notice).

Our registered number is 08702257.

Our registered office is Northern Design Centre, Baltic Business Quarter, Abbott's Hill, Gateshead, NE8 3DF.

What personal information do we collect and process?

We collect and process your data in the following circumstances:

  • When you register to join Smarta

  • When you join the small business directory

  • When you use our website

  • When you sign up for our mailing list

  • When you complete the contact form on our website

  • When you contact us through other means such as email, telephone, or web chat

Smarta may collect the following information about you:

  • Your name, date of birth and gender

  • Your ethnicity, qualification levels and employment status

  • Your contact details: postal address, telephone numbers (including business, personal & mobile numbers) and e-mail address

  • Your device’s IP address

  • Your online browsing activities on the Company website

  • Your communication and marketing preferences

  • Your interests, preferences, feedback, and survey responses

  • Your location

  • Your correspondence and communications with us

  • Other publicly available personal data, including any which you have shared via a public platform (such as a LinkedIn profile, Twitter feed or public Facebook page).

  • Information about your business

This list is not exhaustive, and, in specific instances, we may need to collect additional data for the purposes set out in this notice. Some of the above personal data is collected directly, for example when you engage with us. Other personal data is collected indirectly, for example your browsing activity. We may also collect personal data from third parties who have your consent to pass your details to us, or from publicly available sources.

Why do we collect and process your personal information?

We only collect and process the information needed to effectively provide our services to you, as well as for contact and communication purposes.

We will use your personal information as part of our internal reporting processes.

How is your personal information used?

We use your personal data:

  • To provide services to you

  • To effectively communicate with you

  • To respond to your enquiries

  • To make our website and other social media content available to you

  • To verify your identity

  • For crime and fraud prevention, detection, and related purposes (if mandated by law)

  • To contact you (with your agreement) electronically about promotional offers and services which may interest you

  • For market research purposes and to better understand your needs

  • To enable us to manage service interactions with you

  • To ensure compliance with our contractual obligations, including auditing and reporting, we have in providing our service to you

  • Where we have a legal right or duty to use or disclose your information (for example in relation to an investigation by a public authority or in a legal dispute)

  • Test new systems and check upgrades to existing systems to improve our service delivery

  • Help improve our products and services, for quality control, security, internal record keeping and other business needs

Certain types of personal information, such as gender and ethnicity, are used only as part of our contractual reporting requirements, for the purposes of monitoring and promoting equal opportunities.

The lawful basis for processing your personal information

Legitimate interest

We may collect, hold, and process your personal data on the basis of legitimate interest where it is necessary in order for us to fulfil our needs as a business and to be able to provide you with our services, including, but not limited to:

  • To send you information about your loan

  • To provide details of the benefits available as part of the loan agreement

  • Protecting customers, employees and other individuals and maintaining their safety, health, and welfare

  • Promoting, marketing, and advertising our products and services

  • Understanding our customers’ behaviour, activities, preferences, and needs

  • Improving existing products and services and developing new products and services

  • Complying with our legal and regulatory obligations

  • Preventing, investigating, and detecting crime, fraud or anti-social behaviour and prosecuting offenders, including working with law enforcement agencies

  • Handling customer contacts, queries, complaints, or disputes

  • Protecting Transmit Start-Ups Ltd., its employees, and customers, by taking appropriate legal action against third parties who have committed criminal acts or are in breach of legal obligations to us and our staff

  • Effectively handling any legal claims or regulatory enforcement actions taken against us

  • Fulfilling our duties and obligations to our customers, staff, colleagues, shareholders, and other stakeholders.

Consent

We collect, hold, and process your personal data on the basis that you give us consent when you accept this Privacy Notice.

We will seek your consent to hold and process your data when you sign up to our mailing list or we need to ask for any sensitive data as part of the application process. If you chose not to sign up to our mailing list, we will still communicate with you when necessary as part of our contractual obligations.

You remain in control of the personal data you share with Transmit. You can change your preferences at any time, by choosing whether you want to give consent to your data being processed for specific types of communication and / or communication channels.

Vital interest

We may use your personal information to contact you if we reasonably believe that the processing of your personal data will prevent or reduce any potential harm to you. This type of notification is in your vital interest.

Legal Obligation

We may use and process your personal data to comply with our legal obligations such as HMRC requirements, if it is genuinely needed for law enforcement, to identify you as an individual if you contact us, or to verify the accuracy of your data.

Who we share your personal information with

Our service providers and suppliers

In order to make certain services available to you, we may need to share your personal data with some of our service partners. These include HMRC, cloud storage and IT providers.

Transmit only allows its service providers to handle your personal data when we have confirmed that they apply appropriate data protection and security controls. We also impose contractual obligations on service providers relating to data protection and security, which mean they can only use your data to provide services to Transmit and to you, and for no other purposes.

Where your personal information is stored

Your information is stored on dedicated hardware used by Transmit Startups and all data is held and backed up within the UK or EU or is covered by the  EU-US Privacy Shield Framework .

The data is stored within a MariaDB database in a secure hosting environment. The only way to access the database is via a server console or via SSH. 

User data is also synced into Hubspot – a cloud-based Customer Relationship Management system.

Images & Assets are securely hosted on a service called S3 - which is an Amazon Web Service (AWS) service. Only authenticated users within the site have access to push files to this location. 

Where you communicate with us by email, we may store copies of the emails. Our email service is provided through  Google G Suite .

How we keep your personal information secure

We are committed to keeping your personal data safe and secure.

Our security measures include:

  • Encryption of sensitive data

  • Back up of data

  • Password management

  • Implementing risk management and data impact assessment analysis

  • Regular cyber security assessments of all service providers who may handle your personal data

  • Security controls which protect our IT infrastructure from external attack and unauthorised access

  • Internal policies setting out our data security approach and training for staff.

Only authorised and trained personnel can access your personal information if required to do so as part of their legitimate job role.

How long we keep your personal information

We will not retain your data for longer than necessary for the purposes set out in this notice. As long as you wish to be a customer of Smarta or be displayed in our directory we will retain your data for that purpose.

Your personal data stored in the website’s database will be automatically deleted from here after five years. You can request the amendment or deletion of your data at any time.

Automated decision making, including profiling

We may retain some data for reporting and statistical purposes however this will only occur after removing all personal information that would allow an individual to be identified. This is called anonymisation.

Transmit do not engage in any profiling activity.

When do we collect your information?

Website forms

Our website has forms built-in to allow the user to create an account and interact with the site via the submission of data. When you use our forms, the information submitted is securely stored in the website’s database. Your personal data stored in the website’s database will be automatically deleted from here after five years. Your personal data is encrypted by the website.

The website is built using a framework called Laravel (it is an open-source PHP MVC framework for bespoke platform development). 

The forms are built within this stack using VueJS, form data is submitted via Axios (AJAX HTTP requests) to a controller that parsers the data and stores in within a data store. 

Sensitive data and passwords are encrypted using OpenSSL and the AES-256-CBC cipher. 

Mailing list

If you opt-in to our newsletter when registering we collect your email address and name so that we can correspond with you. Your personal data will be stored on the website and Hubspot, which we use to send our newsletters. You can request to be removed anytime by clicking ‘unsubscribe’ in any newsletter/mailout or by contacting us.

Online data management (analytics and security)

When someone visits our website, we use a third-party service, Google Analytics, to collect standard internet log information and details of visitor behaviour patterns.

We collect information about your computer and about your visits to and use of this website (including your IP address, geographical location, browser type, referral source, length of visit, entry and exit points and the number of page views).

We do this to find out things such as the number of visitors to the various parts of the site.

This information is only processed in a way which does not identify anyone.

We do not make and do not permit Google to make, any attempt to find out the identities of those visiting our website.

If we do ever want to collect personally identifiable information through our website, we will be upfront about this. We will make it clear when we collect personal information and will explain what we intend to do with it.

Website security and backups

Our website has HTTPS encryption via a Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate to ensure any data passed between your browser and the web server (where this website is hosted) is encrypted. When you are on a secure page, a lock icon will appear on the bottom of web browsers such as Microsoft Internet Explorer.

This website and its database are automatically backed up every day via our hosting provider AWS (Amazon Web Services). Backups are stored for 90 days in the EU Region.

Links to Other Web Sites

This Privacy Notice does not cover the links within our site linking to other websites. Those sites are not governed by this Privacy Notice, and if you have questions about how a site uses your information, you will need to check that site’s privacy information.

Cookies

Like most websites, the Smarta website uses cookies to collect information. Cookies are small data files which store information on your browser, your computer, or other connected devices (such as smart phones or tablets). Cookies allow us to recognise that you have visited our website previously.

Cookies are essential for the effective operation of our website; they make it easier for you to maintain your preferences on our website and improve your web browsing experience.

The cookies stored on your browser, computer, or other device when you access our websites are designed by Smarta, or on behalf of us, and are necessary to improve your use of our site.

Some cookies collect information about browsing behaviour when you access this website via the same browser, computer, or device. This includes information about pages viewed and your journey around a website. We do not use cookies to collect or record information on your name, address or other contact details.

A cookie often includes a randomly generated number which is stored on your device. Many cookies are automatically deleted after you finish using the website.

Use of Cookies

This website does not store any information that would, on its own, allow us to identify individual users of this service without their permission. Any cookies that may be used on this website are used either solely on a per session basis or to maintain user preferences. Cookies are not shared with any third parties.

The main purposes for which cookies are used are:

  • For technical purposes essential to effective operation of our websites, particularly in relation to site navigation.

  • To enable us to collect information about your browsing patterns, including to monitor the success of conveying our information to you.

Types of cookies that may be used during your visit to the website are listed below:

Cookie Name

Expiration Time

What It Does

smartabusinessdirectory_session

1 Day

Session cookies are a way of storing the user information across multiple user requests via secure encrypted cookies. This cookie will be deleted after the current session is finished.

XSRF-TOKEN

1 Day

CSRF "token" for each active user session managed by the application. This token is used to verify that the authenticated user is the one making the requests to the application.

_ga

2 Years

Registers a unique ID that is used to generate statistical data on how the visitor uses the website.

_gid

1 Day

Registers a unique ID that is used to generate statistical data on how the visitor uses the website.

_gat

1 Day

Used by Google Analytics to throttle request rate.

_fbp

3 Months

This cookie is used to measure, track, and retarget with Facebook ads.

How do I disable cookies?

Most browsers allow you to reject all cookies, whilst some browsers allow you to reject just third-party cookies. For example, in Chrome, you can block or allow all cookies by default. On your computer, open Chrome. At the top right, click ‘More Settings’, then under 'Privacy and security', click Cookies and other site data and select an option.

How you can do this will depend on the browser you use. Further details on how to disable cookies for the most popular browsers are set out below. Please be aware that blocking all cookies will, however, have a negative impact upon the usability of many websites, including ours.

Microsoft Internet Explorer
1. From the Tools menu, select Internet Options.
2. Click on the Privacy tab.
3. Select the appropriate settings.

Google Chrome
1. Choose Settings> Advanced
2. Under “Privacy and security,” click “Content settings”.
3. Click “Cookies”

Safari
1. Choose Preferences > Privacy
2. Click on “Remove all Website Data”

Mozilla Firefox
1. Choose the menu “tools” then “Options”
2. Click on the icon “privacy”
3. Find the menu “cookie” and select the relevant options

Opera 6.0 and further
1. Choose the menu Files”> “Preferences”
2. Privacy

International transfers

To deliver a full range of services to you, it may be necessary for us to share your data outside of the European Economic Area. This will typically occur when service providers are located outside the EEA or if you are based outside the EEA. These transfers are subject to special rules under GDPR.

If this happens, we will ensure that the transfer will be compliant with data protection law and all personal data will be secure. Our standard practice will be to use ‘standard data protection clauses’ which have been approved by the European Commission for such transfers. Those clauses can be accessed on the  European Commission website.

How you can help protect your personal information

If you are using a computing device in a public location, we recommend that you always log out and close the website browser when you complete an online session.

In addition, we recommend that you take the following security measures to enhance your online safety:

  • Keep your account passwords private. Remember, anybody who knows your password may be able to access your account.

  • When creating a password, use at least 10 characters. A combination of letters, symbols and numbers is best. Try not to use easy to guess words, your name, email address, or other personal data that can be easily obtained. We also recommend that you frequently change your passwords.

  • Avoid using the same password for multiple online accounts.

Your rights in respect of the personal information we hold

We fully support and facilitate the ability of people to exercise their rights in respect of the personal information supplied to others. See our Privacy Policy -  https://transmitgroup.co.uk/privacy-policy/

If you wish to correct, complain, object, or otherwise control the data we hold please contact us and we will respond accordingly.

Please contact us if you have any questions about how your personal information is being used or if you are unhappy about our service or anything we do. We will do our best to resolve the issue.

An overview of your different rights

You have the right to request:

  • Access to the personal information we hold about you, free of charge.

  • The correction of your personal information when incorrect, out of date or incomplete.

  • For example, when you withdraw consent, or object and we have no legitimate overriding interest, or once the purpose for which we hold the personal information has come to an end.

  • That we stop using your personal information for direct marketing (either through specific channels, or all channels).

  • That we stop any consent-based processing of your personal information after you withdraw that consent.

Your right to withdraw consent

Whenever you have given us your consent to use your personal information, you have the right to change your mind at any time and withdraw that consent.

Where we rely on our legitimate interest

In cases where we are processing your personal information based on our legitimate interest, you can ask us to stop for reasons connected to your individual situation. We must then do so unless we believe we have a legitimate overriding reason to continue processing your personal information.

Direct marketing

You have the right to stop the use of your personal information for direct marketing activity through all channels, or selected channels. We must always comply with your request.

How you can access the personal information we hold

You can access a copy of the personal information we hold by submitting a Subject Access Request to us using the contact details below.

We will respond to as soon as possible, and in any event, within one month of verifying the request. Our Subject Access Request policy can be provided on request.

To protect the confidentiality of your personal information, we will ask you to verify your identity before proceeding with any request you make under this Privacy Notice. If you have authorised a third party to submit a request on your behalf, we will ask them to prove they have your permission to act.

Getting in touch with Smarta

We can be contacted at:

Smarta,

Northern Design Centre,

Baltic Business Quarter,

Abbott's Hill,

Gateshead,

NE8 3DF

Phone: 0333 355 4886

Email:  info@transmitstartups.co.uk

The Supervisory Authority in the UK

The Supervisory Authority in the UK is the Information Commissioners Office (ICO).

Transmit Start-Ups Ltd can be found on the Data Protection Register. The registration number is ZA047144.

Complaints

If you would like to make a complaint about the way your personal data has been handled by Smarta, you can contact us using the details given above. Our complaints policy can also be provided on request.

Alternatively, you can refer your complaint to the ICO -  https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/