Women’s entrepreneurship was the focus at Manchester University last week where I had the pleasure of speaking, proudly sponsored by Soap & Glory. A full line up of fantastic speakers included Rachel Bridge in-conversation with Sarah Hiscox, founder of The Braid Bar, Aneeqa Khan of Eporta, Jane Field of Jonny’s sister and Wendy Shand of Tots to Travel plus Sandy Mayo, CEO of Soap & Glory.
The event was attended by a broad range of female entrepreneurs who were either in the early stages of starting their own journey or those who already had an established business. My workshops were to help inspire, motivate and present those key skills and tools needed to start a business, with many ready to start their career in entrepreneurship.
No doubt you will agree, there is no manual when it comes to starting a business and you’ll definitely learn from your mistakes, here’s my top tips:
Research and learn
Identify who your potential clients are, talk to them about your idea and get as much feedback as you can. Look at potential competitors already established in the marketplace, what can you learn from them? Learn new technologies that will allow you and your business to flourish. Look to other entrepreneurs who inspire you and try contacting them through social media. I’m sure they’ll be happy to offer advice.
Don’t be afraid to ask for advice
Don’t pretend to know it all because you never will and I certainly didn’t and I still don’t know it all. I decided after a long time to establish a relationship with a mentor but you could ask a friend, in order to bounce ideas off. My mentor has enabled me to see the bigger picture and show me where I need to improve, as so often I can’t see the bigger picture. Above all, I get encouragement and strong advice when the going gets tough. I wish I’d had a mentor years ago.
Don’t listen to statistics
People love to throw around the statistic that 95% of business fail! Don’t listen – it’s an excuse to make you feel comfortable about giving up, even before you’ve started. If that number is even correct, it’s because most people don’t commit or they don’t follow their idea through to reality, which can take years. Don’t let people tell you that you can’t!
Write up a business plan
As an entrepreneur I never wrote a business plan but wish I did. Having key objectives and ideas written down makes them seem more real achievable. Detail should include the results of your customer and competitor research and explain how you can turn your idea into viable business.
Two heads are better than one
Collaborate with other businesses that will help move your business to an innovative position. Building good partnerships with other entrepreneurs which offer products or services which enhance your offering can only help to boost your bottom-line, whilst also offering your customers much more choice and flexibility. Workplace environments where you are able to hot desk with other small businesses is a great way to build those relationships
Charge for what you ARE worth
This video explains this scenario perfectly and is a very emotive subject which was discussed at length. Many entrepreneurs especially in the service sector, don’t always feeling confident in charging for what they feel they ARE worth. It’s all about choices; if you give your prospects choices, they can focus on the value you offer rather than the amount of time you have spent. Your rates can then reflect this value – have confidence in pitching your prices…because you are worth it!
Enjoy your journey through entrepreneurship, it’s a real adventure and something to embrace, the very best of luck!
By Ann Davies, Director