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Working in a shared work space - an interview with Christine James from Blick Studios

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by Startacus Admin

Blick Studios is a social enterprise established with the aim of bringing together creative professionals from varied backgrounds to form a cross discipline, supportive organisation for small and start-up businesses within Northern Ireland. Blick provides business growth support to help incubate start-ups and small businesses from digital and creative industries, and provide affordable work space and meeting and event facilities. Startacus spoke to Managing Director Christine James about the space, some insight into the startup 'scene' and some handy tips that might help wannabe self starters going forward...

If you can start by talking generally about the startup scene in NI and Ireland at the moment, how positive are you about the entrepreneurial community at the moment?Blick Studio
I think the entrepreneurial community at the minute is thriving. Lack of employment and career opportunities has given many people the push they needed to be entrepreneurial and create opportunities for themselves.

What's the biggest barrier for a creative person from becoming a self starter and taking their ideas forward?
The biggest barrier I think many creative people face when taking their ideas forward is a lack of business skills and knowledge, understanding their market, building a brand, developing a business model, pricing their work, dealing with customers and having the sales skills to confidently sell their products.

In terms of someone developing that idea - what are some of the most common mistakes that people then make?

Putting things off because they are waiting for things to happen or fall into place before they get started, or turning down opportunities because they don’t fit exactly with their plans. You need to be constantly pushing to get involved with things and get yourself in front of the right people and just go for it and create your own opportunities

Blick StudioWorking in a shared work space - what would you see are the main advantages for a new business to cohabit with other businesses?
The main advantages of shared workspace are getting to work alongside other like minded people and businesses at a similar stage who understand the issues of staring a creative business, the time commitment, the lack of money, the responsibilities and the passion you have for your business. You also get to find out about lots of opportunities, there are plenty of other people to collaborate with and if you need help with anything, design, marketing, pr, finance etc there is either someone in house who can help you, or someone will be able to signpost you in the right direction. Working alongside other people helps you to stay motivated and push your business forward and sharing utilities, broadband etc also saves you money. Working away from the home also helps you to achieve a better work life balance, you can separate your work and personal life, know that you are putting in the hours and really feel you can relax when you get home in the evening.

I bet in your time, you have heard some poor business names being born! Give us a quick tip, on how someone can create a business name worthy of their business!
I don’t think a name really matters, it’s the brand and values behind a business that people buy into. I think it’s best not to spend too long thinking about it, it’s one of those things people can get hung up on that delays them from actually starting their business. Though it’s definitely worth checking you can get an available domain to suit your business name and if it’s going to be a limited company you need to check name availability with Companies House.

Startacus has a good idea and doesn't know what to do next - what's the next step?!
Just go for it, there is never a good time, break it down into manageable pieces and get started, one step at a time, think positive and ask for help if you need it!

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Published on: 9th September 2012

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