The Black Country has long been known as an area that drives economic development through business innovation and continues to be at the centre for entrepreneurs from all sectors seeking opportunities to develop new and exciting business ideas.

From networking opportunities to one-to-one business advice, marketing support and savings on essential business tools, the Black Country Chamber’s Start-Up Business Club, set up in 2018, helps take small businesses to the next level.

“Economic growth is driven by new business and this region has always been a hub for individuals and organisations looking to develop new ideas,” said Alison Trinder, the driving force behind the Start-Up Business Club.

“Small businesses are the beating heart of the UK economy, bringing in around half of the turnover in our country's private sector, the Office for National Statistics states that small and micro-businesses make up 99% of UK firms,” said Alison.

The popularity of small businesses reflects Britain's entrepreneurial spirit. More than 1,800 businesses were opened each day during the 2018-19 tax year and according to the Centre for Entrepreneurs, there were nearly 10,000 start-up businesses launched in the Black Country during 2019.

With a huge range of support, grants and funding available locally for those looking to start new businesses, including the services on offer from the Black Country Growth Hub, the Start-Up Club is a place for those taking their first steps at being their own boss who has been trading for less than two years to plan for the future.

But what happens once you’re all set up and ready to take your business to the next level?

The Start-Up Business Club

The Black Country Chamber of Commerce has been supporting businesses for more than 200 years. 

Launched in 2018 and supported by Higgs and Sons Solicitors, the already successful and well established Start-Up Business Club, has already helped over 200 start-ups to take their business to the next level.

A one-stop-shop for business advice from protection for your business to personal development training and marketing support, the club offers a vibrant networking community to meet like-minded entrepreneurs who are at the same stage of business growth, share ideas and best practice, meet with experts and learn new skills.


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Meet Alison Trinder

The driving force behind the Start-Up Business Club is the highly experienced Business Relationship Manager, Alison Trinder, who has worked as part of the Chamber membership team for 16 years. 

Alison has more than 30 years of experience in establishing and maintaining strong business relationships. She often works closely with the Black Country local authorities on joint projects to support start-ups across the region.

Using her decades of expertise to devise and launch the Start-Up Business Club, Alison has helped countless entrepreneurs on their journey offering support, advice and guidance.

"We find that new business start-ups and entrepreneurs tell us that they felt very lonely and isolated working on their own," Alison said.

"Many want to belong to a group where they can share their problems and challenges, talk to other start-up owners and keep motivated to achieve their goals in business."

Alison's inspirational presence has attracted hundreds of businesses to the Club.

One of its recent success stories is TPSquared, a design, print and digital studio based in Wolverhampton.

"I can't thank Alison enough for all support and advice she has provided me and the TPSquared team during our first year," managing director Carolyn Smith said.

"I feel that I can reach out to Alison for anything. She is always willing and wants to help new businesses to be successful. Being Chamber members has really helped raise our profile and presence in the Black Country business community."

How to start out in business in 2021

Is starting a business on the cards for 2021? 

It could mark the start of a new chapter. 

We asked Alison Trinder for her top tips on the steps to starting your own business.

“The good news is that the world is your oyster,” said Alison, anyone can start a business – it doesn’t take a fancy degree or a pot of gold! But what you do need is a plan and a drive to succeed.

“While starting a business is easier than ever thanks to the internet and technology, there is still a lot of work to be done to get your business off the ground.”

Shape Your Idea

Coming up with the right idea is one of the most difficult things about starting a business, but it’s also one of the most important. You could have an idea for a new product or service that solves a problem, something that improves upon an existing idea, you could identify a gap in the market for something new or even turn a hobby into a business.


Many people work on multiple business ideas at once, hoping one will turn into the money maker and many dream about running their own business.

The right business idea can take a long time to form, but once you’ve had the ‘eureka!’ moment, things will start falling into place.

Put Your Business Plan Together

A business plan allows you to refine your business idea and think about some of the practicalities. It gives you a chance to think about your target market and conduct some careful market research.

Your business plan should help you fill in some of the gaps in your business idea.  

Work Out the Financial Side

You’ll need to spend time working out how much money your business will need to get started. Your budget should include everything from premises and equipment costs through to your marketing budget and even taking on staff.


By working out your start-up costs, you can then establish if you have enough to get started or if you’re going to need to secure some funds to make it happen.

Get to Work

Now is when the hard work really begins, and your business starts to take shape. From hiring suppliers and staff to setting up a website, there are a lot of things you’ll need to do to get your business ready to launch.


This is when you’ll start to learn key business and marketing terms, maybe even turn to your fellow entrepreneurs for advice to develop further knowledge about running a business.

Be prepared for a lot of sacrifices and long hours at this stage, but it will all be worth it by the time you’re ready to launch your business to the world.

Build a Brand for Your Business

Branding is a key component of any successful business. It helps create an identity for your business, creating something that people will recognise. Branding includes elements such as a logo, font, tone of voice, colours, taglines and more. You might wish to hire a brand manager or a graphic designer to help you form your brand.

Spend time developing a brand that reflects your values, reputation, business and how you want it to be seen by others. You’ll need something strong and eye-catching that stands out from your competition.

Develop an Effective Marketing Strategy

An effective marketing strategy is vital for making people aware of your business. From your website to a social media presence, there are several tools at your disposal to help you promote your business to your target audience. There are also options for paid promotion, helping you advertise your business locally or nationally, using both online and offline methods.

Many new businesses will work with a marketing agency to help develop a strategy and execute campaigns. As your business grows, it’s likely you’ll bring your marketing in-house to continue to promote your business activities.

Grow Your Business

Launching your business is only one part of the journey. Once you’ve had your launch and started making sales, it’s time to focus on ways you can grow your business. An ongoing marketing strategy will help you access new customers, while also encouraging your existing customers to make repeat purchases.

As your business grows, you’ll need to adapt and make changes. This can include hiring additional employees, outsourcing different parts of your business, finding larger locations and expanding into other countries. Consistently setting new goals and objectives will help you take your business further and further.

Any new business can encounter challenges, but it’s part of your job as a business owner to overcome them and steer your venture to success. Starting a business can be an exciting new chapter...

Remember, even Elon Musk had to start somewhere, and his six secrets to business success include:

  • It isn't about the money.

  • Pursue your passions

  • Don't be afraid to think big

  • Be ready to take risks

  • Ignore the critics

  • And enjoy yourself

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