Robin Birch on business finance and his first lecture at the NDA

I just thought I’d introduce myself and say hello. I’m Robin Birch and I’ve just joined the NDA as its Finance Director. Well, I’ve been in post just a couple of weeks now, so I’m still very much the newbie!

I was a bit puzzled when James (NDA Private Clients Practice Manager) and Natasha (Tutor) sidled up to my desk the other week – ordinarily creative folk keep well away from the finance director’s office unless they want to buy something [smiley]  But hey, pleasant surprise they wanted me to take a slot in the commercial workshop which ran on the 15th Feb. I’m happy to share my commercial experience, just hope students are happy to listen!

Well, I think it went ok. The students were very attentive, despite it being close to lunchtime.  The theme was ‘setting up your own business’. There’s a lot of info on the web about whether you set up as ‘self employed’, in partnership or as a limited company and there are pluses and minuses to each which you can look up. The discussions we had were along the lines of:

  • only go into business if you really, really want to.  Remember, as an employee it’s someone else’s responsibility to find the cash to pay salaries and the other bills.
  • in the early days of your business avoid fixed costs – these have to be paid regardless of your income.
  • be aware of the risks – use the standard form of contract, get stage payments if you can.
  • prepare a business plan and cash flow. It’s not that complicated.
  • remember the mantra – to fail to plan is to plan to fail.

For more information about setting up your own interior design practice, or the range of courses and workshops The National Design Academy offer, visit or call 0115 91234 12


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Filed under business, help & support, new career, News, small businesses, The National Design Academy, workshops,

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