By: Farah Khan
How many times have you heard someone complaining about their job? How many times have you heard someone fantasize about starting a business from home? Who wants to grow old full of regrets about their career choices? No one! Do you have what it takes to turn your hobby or passion into an actual full-time job? Having the guts, motivation and foresight where the building block to success is your own talent and hard work is not as hard as you may think, thousands of people do this successfully every year……If this has piqued your interest read on!
The first thing that people don’t often realise about a new start up is the importance of a good idea, one that you haven’t copied from someone else and isn’t already been done hundreds of times. And if it’s been done many times before how many people do it well? and to a consistently high standard? For Example, to make this more relatable, and easier to understand I will give you an example of my friend Amina, who wants to start a catering samosas, kebabs and spring roll business from home. This case study can be our learning example.
Before, anything can be sold Amina has to make sure she researches what the customer needs. She should invite her family or friends over and cook the kebabs for them and get honest feedback. This is called market research and is key in developing the best version of her food. If five people don’t like the spring rolls, she needs to go back to kitchen and continually and improve on her recipe. This stage is called development. Most people give up at this stage beaten down by the constant failures that might arise. This is the hardest part of the process. If you can power through the research and develop a winning formula you are half way there. You know who you are! Read on if you want to learn how to live the dream life.
Now for the boring (but essential) bit! Stay focused….
Amina needs to do a SWOT Test, this stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats. Every aspect needs to be thoroughly explored before, so she is prepared.
She needs to know what her strengths are: Food is very mouth-watering and tasty as her kebabs have a secret ingredient. She has developed a wide spread reputation for being an excellent cook. She enjoys the cooking process and isn’t getting frustrated developing recipes, if you know what you enjoy what you do and are good at it, YOUR talents become the building blocks for your own success. If you don’t enjoy cooking, you will end up frustrated and giving up and your competitors who put in more time will succeed.
She should keep a folder of her proudest moments.
She has no clients, she has no money for promotion no formal cookery qualification or food hygiene qualifications. She isn’t on social media and has no idea how to use it for free promotion.
Starting up costs money. You may need to buy tools, products, promotional material, cover living expenses. Funding can come from various sources including personal savings, bank loans and government grants.
New Enterprise Allowance - if you are unemployed you might qualify for this scheme. For Lone parents anyone on Jobseekers or Income Support it’s a whopping £1274 ! What are you waiting for?
Sources of Finance for Starting a Business - Cobra guide explaining different funding options.
Finance and Support for your Business – Find government-backed support and finance for business and self-employment.
mygov.scot – search for business funding or advice – Search for business funding, grant and loan options available in Scotland.
The meat used as part of her ingredients is expensive as she still needs to source wholesale halal poultry farm instead of buying it in shops. She has no space in her family fridge. Does she need a food license to run a business and sell to the public? Or some form of public insurance? These are all practical concerns that she needs to address. There is an extensive range of e-learning products available from HMRC to help customers as they face key business life events, including starting in business, taking on an employee, registering for VAT, importing/exporting and incorporation. New courses are added regularly.
She loves her work and spends all her free time happily developing her recipes she won’t give up as easily as someone who hates cooking. When people love their jobs they naturally work happier and harder. Asking for a wholesale discount from a stranger might be embarrassing and make her cringe inwardly but chooses courage over fear.
The right mindset for success is very important. First, she will need to find a mentor whom she turns to for honest advice. She will need to see her failures as learning opportunities and not become fed up and frustrated easily. Believe in herself and maintain a positive attitude. Most new business people work much longer hours than employed people and don’t make much in the first year. It takes committed determination.
A new kebab shop has just opened down the road and you can buy ready-made frozen ones cheaper. Someone said there was a hair in her kebab, as she hasn’t done the food hygiene course she didn’t realise her hair should be tied up! She should look to get training in her field.
These are all points Amina will have to consider starting her own business. Filling in her inland revenue self-assessment forms and learning to keep a record of all her expenses and sales. Learn how to open a business bank account and write a viable business plan so she can apply for funding and plan any long term and short-term time bound achievable goals for her new venture.
If you have made it to the bottom of this blog, congratulations, you may have achieved some of the vital ingredient to starting your own business…passion and resilience. Email me, Farah if you want help, support, advice or a mentor on how to spread your wings and fly: Farah@mwrc.org.uk