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NEIS Program participant learns the fundamental skills of small business

After graduating from university with a Master’s Degree in Architecture, Mark had no idea how unready he was to tackle the challenges of starting his own small business.

“I felt that there was a cone of silence around the business insights needed to run a creative business,” said Mark.

He explained that he was trained in Architecture, not small business, and felt that he was missing the fundamental skills to get his business off the ground.

“Architects are notorious for poor strategic planning, especially those in smaller businesses – they know where they want to end up, but can’t plot a path to get there. We may talk about projects and design ideas, but we do not talk about business – or client relationships, fees, office processes and marketing,” he continued.

“I knew what needed doing, on what projects, and in what order, but I had no conception of short cycle planning, and of how to line up tasks each month to achieve a setlist of goals – this essentially meant that we had no tools to help us achieve consistent cash flow,” Mark explained.

This pushed Mark to sign up with ETC’s New Business Assistance with NEIS Program (now known as the Self-Employment Assistance program as of 1 July 2022) for assistance.

Starting the NEIS Program

The NEIS Program provides personalised support to help those wanting to become a self-employed business owner.

ETC NEIS Team Leader Kim was able to help in this department, going over those topics, and much more throughout the accredited small business training Mark received.

Kim taught the class about sustainable business growth – and how it effects profitability in the short and long term.

“We were taught about goals-oriented planning, and it was as if we had emerged for the first time from Plato’s cave, dazzled by the sun!” said Mark.

“We also discussed fee setting, and how to get the number right when you’re just starting out,” he continued.

During the Program, participants were taught the difference between a business plan and strategic plan, and Mark learnt why one was potentially more useful for his business, Storyhouse. 

“Firstly, it’s important to create a clear vision and mission statement that articulates the business brand,” said Kim.

“We then looked at the business’ goals and objectives, in relation to the business plan, and how Mark could achieve them,” she said.

Mark is now successfully running Storyhouse and is very grateful for to the support provided to him from ETC and the NEIS Program.

“I want to say thank you to Kim and the team at ETC for all of the very useful, very inspiring business insights and tools, as well as your generosity and candour,” said Mark.

Have you ever considered starting your own business?

Self-Employment Assistance helps eligible job seekers to start and run their own business. Find out more about Self-Employment Assistance >



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