The highs and lows of starting a business

I had pretty much the same feelings towards the induction with the Prince’s Trust as I had with my first Enterprise Advisor meeting. I imagined it was going to be like an interview to introduce my business idea and experience etc but was pleasantly surprised to find it was more for the trust to find out who was eligible for the next course they were running.

During the meeting we introduced ourselves and our business idea and were given a brief outline of how the course was run and what we were going to cover. We were given the option of two course start dates and asked which we would prefer to attend and that was about it to be honest… Can’t wait to start! Jxx

First things first, I’m really sorry to everyone following this blog! The last few weeks have been so hectic with illness and the Royal Jubilee etc, this is the first chance I’ve had to get to my computer! I haven’t had much of a chance to make anything new and exciting but finished an enterprise course with the Prince’s Trust today – more on that to come! Hope everyone is happy and well! Jxx

All businesses start up from a common point – an idea. You may have dreamed of starting your own business for years, or inspiration may have hit you unexpectantly. Regardless of the source, the first step of starting your own business is coming up with a business idea. 

I will be making a wide variety of handmade goods to sell to individuals and local shops. These will include:-

  • Sock Monsters
  • Jewellery
  • Cushions
  • Bunting
  • Key-rings
  • Badge Making

I intend to continue adding to my portfolio of crafts on an ongoing basis. Jxx

During the Pre Employment Training course we had to research our chosen employment options and create a group project. Through research we came across a list of business start up activities that cover all the bases to creating a successful small business. I’m hoping that referring to this throughout my start up journey will give me a better idea of how far I am in the process.

*DISCLAIMER*:  I did not write this start up plan myself so am not taking any credit what-so-ever for the text in BOLD contained within this category! Jxx

I didn’t feel so flustered abut this meeting but was a little down hearted because during the week I discovered a few other people who are supplying products similar to my own.

During the meeting Leigh sent my details off to her contact within The Prince’s Trust and we started looking at my business plan. Luckily for me she has a blank template because I would have no idea what was required otherwise!

So far we have filled in the following sections:-

  • Personal details
  • My products or services
  • Legal structure of business

This meeting absolutely flew by and within what felt like no time at all I was being set my next homework challenge. Carrying on with the business plan I need to fill in:-

  • Business objectives for the next 5 years
  • SWOT Analysis

I also need to start looking at competitors and think about how I can overcome local competition.

The next meeting I have with Leigh will be a group session with other people who are in my situation. I can’t wait! Jxx

The build up to the first official meeting with my Enterprise Advisor was very scary! I tried to put as many designs down on paper as possible so when I turned up that morning I felt like a pack mule! I had no idea what to expect or what she wanted to see so I literally took everything! I had examples of products, cash books, design sheets, the lot!

During the meeting we went through a brief background of circumstances so she knew where I was at and I showed her my ideas and what Who-Ray had suggested I expand on to. So far so good!

The outcome was decided that I will finish my Pre Employment Training as it is doing wonders for my confidence and self esteem. Once this is over we are going to work out a business plan to approach The Prince’s Trust with. I will be referred onto their enterprise start up programme and hopefully look at funding to assist with start up costs.

I’ve been set 3 tasks as homework between now and our next meeting. They are:-

  • Put my products on Ebay
  • Take new product designs to Who-Ray to see if they are interested
  • Make a list of other potential shops who might be interested in my work

I don’t think any of this has sunk in yet! Jxx

I first met the owners of Who-Ray about a year ago. I was running a ‘Books For Free’ shop in Stockton for Healthy Planet (a London-based charity that I volunteer for) and one of the guys was a regular. On one of his visits he mentioned that he ran a Doctor Who themed shop that was located just around the corner from where I was based.

On my first visit there I completely fell in love with the place. As you walk in you’re met with a gorgeous aromatherapy smell and relaxation music. On one side of the shop is the ‘girly’ products, homely gifts, incense etc. The other side hosts film and TV memorabilia; bags, figures, mugs, general merchandise. It’s one of those places that you feel instantly welcome, at home in and that you’ve known for years.

I’d visited Martin and Brian a few times before I became a supplier. We were discussing handmade products and I mentioned that I enjoyed knitting and crocheting soft toys. Martin said he would love a basket full of something similar on the counter but all the patterns I follow are from books so due to copyright I didn’t feel right selling these items. I also showed him a photo of my sock monsters which again he loved!

Since becoming a supplier I feel that I have developed a very strong relationship with both Martin and Brian. We frequently work together on how best to serve the current demands and they are fantastic on pointing out how to get a more professional edge that I need.

To Martin and Brian, thank you so much for your help and support so far! I wouldn’t be where I am without you! 🙂 Jxx

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