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Katie Bulmer-Cooke: There has never been a better time to start a business

Businesswoman and former Apprentice candidate, Katie Bulmer-Cooke.
Businesswoman and former Apprentice candidate, Katie Bulmer-Cooke.

I was glued to the first episode of The Apprentice last week. The candidates were flown off to Malta to do the ‘find the items’ task.

I was pretty surprised that this was the first task as it’s such a tough one … they were definitely thrown in at the deep end.

Back in 2014, this was task nine, and by that point we were all working together so much more efficiently, so I can’t imagine how challenging it must have been trying to make a success of this task with so many people who have only just met!

I always enjoy a little scroll through Twitter while the show is on to see who everyone is lining up as their front runners and who they think will be fired.

It’s also very interesting to read people’s opinions on how they would have completed the task.

Some would have negotiated harder, some would have split the teams differently and some would have spent more time planning.

It’s very easy to judge from the outside looking in.

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In the mix of tweets and comments, it’s always pleasing to see that the show inspires some viewers to start their own businesses.

Perhaps it’s through the frustration of seeing candidates do crazy things, creating a sense of, ‘I could do that better’, with the viewer?

But whatever the catalyst for the decision, it puts a big smile on my face to see so many people decide to take the leap and bring their business ideas to fruition.

The reality is, that there has never been a better time to start a business and to spread the word about what you do, whether it be a product or service based business, online or offline.

Back before the gifts that are social media and search engines, if you wanted to launch a business, you needed big money to pay for advertising, but now the opportunity is greater and the cost is smaller.

I may not be Facebook’s biggest fan as a personal user, but goodness me, it’s incredible for business.

Never before have businesses been able to target consumers so directly, and with such clear and measurable return on investment.

It doesn’t stop at Facebook either. The same opportunities exist on Instagram, Twitter and Google, and the best part is, it is cheap.

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We are in such an exciting time, but who knows how long it will last? Who knows if Mark Zuckerberg will decide to change everything tomorrow? So if you’ve got an idea, a plan and want to branch out on your own, then do it!

There are lots of people in the world with an endless list of great ideas, but the difference between those people and the people who experience success (even if they have to fail first), is that they get up, get out there, and make things happen.

There is no need to wait until January 1 to make big changes. If you want to start your own business, even if it’s just a little hustle on the side, then today is as good of a day as any to start and Sunderland is as good a place as any to do it.