Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to be asked to asked to speak at the RBS conference for Women in Business about the story of Mama Tea and my experience of how to start a business.
RBS are being very proactive in addressing the issues of trying to get more females starting up businesses with this initiative. They have a network of Women in Business Ambassadors throughout the UK who are there to assist female entrepreneurs. Isn’t that fantastic? I believe they are rolling out this initiative on a much wider scale and I applaud it fully!
I spoke about how to start a business – looking at one of the first hurdles – the business plan. This is traditionally seen as a bit of a pain to do but really, it is YOUR plan of what you want your business to look like, not some template. Also, if you are thinking of starting a business, you really need to research your market, competition, pricing, product, USP’s very carefully! You should know the answers to all these questions; there are some great resources out there and a lot of them are FREE!!! Here in Edinburgh, I used the National Library of Scotland. They have a fantastic business resource centre, so you can look up all the business research reports and research competitors etc. Also, go and do some of the FREE courses at your local Business Gateway. They have access to over 200 videos, tutorials etc for you to use and the website is fantastic.
Start with your idea and break it down. Why is it unique? What are the Unique Selling Points (USP’s)? What does the Market look like? Is there a demand for your product or service? What can you sell it for – is there a good profit margin in the product or is it a high volume/low margin product? How will you market your product or services?
Other companies and banks also have resources that you can use for free – RBS has an excellent business planning tool - http://www.rbs.co.uk/business/banking/g2/planning.ashx
Over the next month, I am going to break down each part of the Business Plan into manageable chunks and include a checklist at the end of each blog, so that any aspiring female entrepreneurs can actually take practical steps to getting a great plan in place and then get going!