With Douglas Creighton, 42, from Maida Vale, the military was part of his life. Born into a military family of several generations, with a father who had been a major in the Army, Douglas grew up travelling abroad before settling in the UK.
Having experienced the army through his father’s career and spent a couple of years in the Territorial Army, Douglas decided that the full-time military lifestyle was not for him. He pursued a different path in his career and worked in the private sector. Last year, he decided that he had acquired enough experience and sufficient contacts to set up on his own, meaning that the rewards for his work would go to him rather than an employer.
At this stage, he sought X-Forces Enterprise (XFE) support with getting a startup loan and attended a training course where he acquired the necessary start up skills, including how to deal with taxes and insurance.
“The course was very useful for giving me the skills I did not have. If I could go and re-do those early days, I would advise myself to plan and carry out adequate research. Most importantly, to spend time looking into VAT options and structures of operation.”
He has faced a number of challenges setting the company up. He received good advice during the training course on how to get the company registered with Companies House and how to invoice large companies.
As he said, “I wish I knew in the early days that I could backdate VAT registration to when the company was incorporated –this would have allowed me to reclaim some of my start-up costs.”
Douglas is now working on his company – a print and graphic design consultancy. He loves the control he has on his life and work. He is making good connections, building a network of associates to help him in his work and strengthening relationships he has had since his previous employment. He knows he is building a strong future for himself. His plans to develop and expand his business include looking into the events promotion industry, potentially acquiring larger premises, and working with larger clients.
“I will look to XFE for more support, especially as I will need advice on scaling up and taking in more staff in the future. I will definitely look to attend more XFE events in the future.”
So what advice would Douglas give to others thinking of setting up a business?
“My top advice would be to get your documents together before applying and include as much information in the first draft of your business plan as possible. Also I would recommend attending XFE business events as they are very helpful!”
Find out more about LONDON SANS Ltd via the links below:
If you’re considering self-employment like Douglas, we run a series of free Self-Employment Discovery Workshops with ABF The Soldiers’ Charity!
Find out more via http://bit.ly/xfevents