How I started a business in Liverpool

Liverpool is a former European Capital of Culture, and a city with a long and vibrant history that stretches back hundreds of years. It's no wonder then that it's home to some really exciting businesses. But what's it like to start a business there? We ask a Virgin StartUp business to share their top tips.

Psst - if you'd like to start a business in Liverpool, why not come to our Liverpool VSU Live event?

Jason Neal of CoverStar Experiences

CoverStar Experiences allow you to live out the dream of being a popstar for a day - you can have fun performing and recording a track, whether alone or with friends. You can even record your own music video, or have celebrity-ready photographs taken by a professional.

Who did you speak to in Liverpool for advice, and how did they help you?

I've had numerous business advisors over the last few years to help with planning, but ultimately I decided to approach Virgin because of the philosophy of the company. I needed to discover a way to launch the business from an expert that could take me to another level.

Did you go to any networking events in Liverpool? What were they, and were they any good?

I have, but I've found that none have been very helpful. I think our product is very specific and bespoke, so it’s not something that other businesses would be interested in. I need to go to more bespoke networking opportunities, but I can’t seem to find the right ones!

Why is Liverpool a good place to do business?

The people are great to deal with and the customers are pleasant. It can be difficult though as businesses don't always deliver what they promise, and it can take quite a lot just to get an honest “No, sorry we can’t do that”. However, Liverpudlians are a friendly bunch and there's a great local community.

Where in Liverpool is your shop and why did you base it there?

We're located behind Hope Street in the centre of the Georgian Quarter near to both cathedrals. We based ourselves here as it's a lovely part of Liverpool, around good local businesses. We want our customers to be near enough to town and the main attractions so it's accessible for them, but far enough away so that they feel comfortable and away from the crowds. They can also visit other lovely local businesses for food and drink very close to the studio.

What advice would you give to other people looking to start a business in Liverpool?

Do your research to see if there is a demand, look at others doing it ,and don’t just go for any local advisor. Consult businesses that have done well and ask who advised them - generally they'll be better connected and can give you some initial names to start your own connections.

Is it expensive to start a business in Liverpool?

No - it’s actually really reasonably priced to both live in and work. Ideal!

What types of businesses do well in Liverpool?

Those run by creatives, and those with wacky ideas! There seem to be a lot of cafes and bars with American themes springing up at the moment.

Can you explain what your business does in a few sentences?

Recording studio and singing experiences for anyone!

Tell us how you came up with the idea.

As a studio it can be difficult to make ends meet, so we hit upon this idea to provide an extra arm of the business - but then it developed into passion to provide great entertainment, value, and personalised activities for anyone. We specifically focused on hen parties and made sure that they were being looked after, gave them local knowledge of the area, and ensured therefore that they had a great all-round experience of their time in Liverpool.

To find out more about CoverStar Experiences check out their website, or connect on Twitter and Facebook. CoverStar Experiences received their Virgin StartUp loan after working with BBV, one of our Virgin StartUp delivery partners.
Image credit: Flickr Creative Commons