Tag Archives: Business

Busyness, Business and Being Boring.

Gosh my blog is dull. Go see this, laugh your socks off, and then come back:  http://ikeepgettingbit.blogspot.com/

That sister of mine is an odd one and is certainly have a much different Summer to the one I’m having!

In business news: We made our first sale!!! Wahooooo! Only 99 or so more to go! Got to start somewhere I suppose. Got a very busy day tomorrow starting with a meeting at 7.30, then calling people throughout the morning, then a meeting in Port Talbot with some graphic designers, more calling and finally work in St. Thomas youth club! Early night tonight then! Looking forward to the weekend already; we’re going to David’s house in Berkshire so hopefully we can chill out a bit then!

In baking news: I found the best ever chocolate chip cookie recipe! http://annies-eats.com/2008/09/08/thick-and-chewy-chocolate-chip-cookies/   The recipe made about 24, and luckily we gave away half of them as Dave and I pretty much inhaled the rest of them. I put chocolate buttons and chopped up milkybar in them and I would definitely do that again!

So thats pretty much my life at the moment, business and baking. See? Boring!

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Another week gone…

Its Friday once again and nearly the end of a rather busy week! The business course has been extremely useful and we’ve now got a business mentor, who we’ll be meeting with occasionally and will help us with paperwork/applications for grants/business plans and the like. He’s also going to try and help us get onto the Graduate Start Up Scheme offered by the Welsh Assembly which, if we were successful, could see us getting about £6000 each. Yes please! We’re also looking at applying to the Local Investment Fund for West Wales to see if they can help with start up costs. All very useful indeed.

The business itself has actually gone pretty well this week too. I’ve been approaching lots more people and had fairly positive feedback on the whole, and a few who are definitely interested. Its difficult trying to sell our product when we’ve never done it before. Businesses are obviously going to be wary and we’ve had to do our best to be as confident in our product as we possibly can be and hopefully we’ll convince people that it WILL work!

I’m currently trying to come up with justification for going to the beach this afternoon…what do you mean the beach isn’t an appropriate office? Fine, work now, maaaaybe beach for a bit, then more work later. The presenters on the course weren’t kidding this week when they said to say goodbye to your weekends!

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Business Courses and Clean Houses

David and I have just returned from the University as we’ve been taking part in the Business and Enterprise Week that they’ve been holding there. Its a free course funded by the Welsh Assembly and is mostly general business advice. Its been pretty useful so far! Yesterday was info on starting a business and today we’ve been looking at marketing. Tomorrow we’re doing costing and pricing and the day after, financial administration. For a free course you can’t really complain, and we’ve already made a few contacts with it. We’ve had two people who would be interesting in working with us and a whole range of advice from the mentors and fellow students. We were a bit wary about giving too much away about the business in the group (of about 20) but we’ve been able to talk about it and get some good feedback as well as lots of suggestions which we would never have thought of. We also get a one to one meeting with a mentor on Friday morning and can work with them on applying for a scheme called GSS (Graduate Start Up Scheme – I think!) where we can apply for individual funding and they provide lots of support for your business in its early stages.

Obviously the course isn’t entirely free; the time we spend in the classes could be spent selling and working on our own business. We think its worth it now, especially as we’ve gained contacts and advice – plus we get free lunch 😉

Our meeting last Wednesday went very well! We’ll almost definitely be working with them and they’re giving us some of their contacts who they think will be interested too! All in all very positive! Tomorrow I’m going to call back some of the people who I just sent information to, to see what they think.

We’ve been having a look at what funding we can get as young people and graduates starting a business. People had told me that there was plenty out there, you just have to find it! Just in case you fancy starting a business here are some of the things I’ve found:

  • Go Wales – They offer a Graduate Training Scheme and will pay up to £1,500 to cover 50% of your training costs.
  • http://www.stridingout.co.uk – This is where I found the best compilation of funding on offer.
  • O2 Think Big – Haven’t looked at this properly yet but its for young people looking to fund projects that help their community.
  • Shell LiveWIRE – This is more of a competition for innovative businesses, if you get selected you have to make a video about your business.
  • http://www.minimogul.co.uk – I don’t quite get what this is all about yet but I am definitely applying. From what I can see its an apprentice/dragons den style show and they send you on a ‘business bootcamp’ before putting you on a stage to pitch your idea.
  • Other useful websites for start ups which may or may not have info on funding:
  1. http://www.startups.co.uk
  2. http://www.bigchallenge.org.uk
  3. http://www.businesslaunchpad.org

I’ve been told good things about the Princes Trust and their funding opportunities but I’m being either blind or stupid and can’t find the info on their website other than a fund for up to £500. But they still offer business support, their website is  www.princes-trust.org.uk/.

We spent Sunday evening and part of this morning cleaning and reorganising the house. Two of Daves housemates left this week so there has been much to do. We’ve gone through all of our own things and cleared and organised in preparation for when we leave in a few months. I can’t wait to move house, I’m so excited to not live in a student house! At least for the mean time we can make this house nice!

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What is this? Progress?!

Oh man. This is hard. I’m completely full of doubts and am rapidly losing confidence. I know its only the first day of trying to sell stuff and I was never going to have success straight away but I think a small part of me was really hoping that people would buy as soon as they heard what it was! I know this is silly and in reality I really haven’t done too badly. I’ve emailed lots of information packs to people and got some to send out. We’ve got a meeting organised for this evening with someone who sounded fairly keen and said they would even be able to give us some of their contacts who would be interested. In fact I’ve only had one ‘No’ and even that wasn’t an outright no, more of a ‘our budget is too small and we don’t control it’ sort of no.

So yes. Positiveness. Not a bad start. Honest. Fingers crossed this gets easier and this time next year Rodders, we’ll be millionaires!

…or not.

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Friday?

How is it Friday already? So much for a having a few productive days this week! My body is still being very annoying and won’t get better and is leaving me in no state to start calling people trying to sell things. Fingers crossed I get better over the weekend, or at least the croaky voice disappears so I don’t sound so scary for a fresh start on Monday!

People are slowly starting to leave Swansea for the summer, and in many cases leaving Swansea for good now that they’ve finished uni. It feels very strange to be staying behind whilst everyone packs up and goes, this Summer is going to be rather quiet. Knowing that a lot of our friends won’t be returning is also quite sad, as much as I’m looking forward to the changes that will happen this year, I’ve had such a great 3 years in Swansea with all of these people and its odd knowing that it won’t be the same ever again.

We finally opened our business account yesterday! Things are slowly becoming official! All I need is to do that first phonecall selling and I might allow myself to believe we really are doing this. So far its been a bit like we’re playing along at starting a business, I can’t imagine what it will feel like when we actually start making money! Today I think I’m going to try and order our business cards, no idea where to get them from though, will have to do a bit of research and make one of my famous lists! I’ve already got about 6 purely in starting up plans and ideas! Its essential to write everything down though, we’ve got so many ideas that as soon as you think of something new you forget the last 3 things you thought of!

Its similar to how I approached my writing; I got a story in my head and then proceeded to write about 100 pages in my notebook purely on the facts/characters/plotline! Thats been particularly handy after 9 months off from writing it, I’ve been able to go back and remember exactly what I wanted to do and the reasons for writing particular things. I’ve been rereading everything I previously wrote and although I think that some of it is DIRE, its nice to have it down. I wrote 30,000 words originally and can’t wait to get more written. I am fully aware that I’ll probably delete the majority of what I’ve written in the end but there we go! Can’t get better without practice!

Heres hoping I manage to design the business card without completely falling asleep at my laptop!

x

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Slow moving…

The last few days have been the sort of days where nothing really gets done quickly. This might have something to do with David finishing his exams, the ensuing celebrations and since then the recovery! They took up Thursday and Friday and this weekend Dave headed home for a few days of cricket. Being on my own has not spurred me to do any inspired work. If anything I’m feeling more stuck for what to do! Anyway, David will be back tomorrow and then Tuesday we get down to the nitty gritty stuff. We were supposed to be actively be putting the business into action as of Tuesday but it looks like we’re going to have to postpone that for a few more days as we just aren’t ready. There’s still so much to do!

I got a few more quotes in for our main business cost, so I’ve got a good idea now of what we want and how much we’re going to have to pay. It was mad how much the prices varied, my lowest was around £1800 and the most expensive being nearly £6000! The other thing I encountered with it was the differences in the customer service with the people that I spoke to. Most were very helpful, some more than I could have asked for and these have made me seriously consider going with them even if it means paying slightly more (plus it means I won’t feel quite as bad calling them up when I don’t have a clue what I’m doing!). Unfortunately some people I spoke to were the opposite of helpful; one man I spoke to told me that if I was shopping around for prices he couldn’t help me, that if I’d been recommended by a friend that he could give me a good price, but as I wasn’t he couldn’t help me. I mean what?! He didn’t even try and sell himself to me! Another one told me that my business was unrealistic and unachievable…without even knowing what the business was!

These differing interactions with people have taught me more than the possible prices I’ll need to pay. I know it seems obvious, but being nice to people really helps. One guy I sat chatting to for several minutes as he even gave me advice on the business. He hasn’t got back to me with a quote yet but I will be more than willing to consider it properly when I get it. One guy I sent an email to sent me an extremely condescending reply and unless they give me an insanely good offer there’s no way I would want to work with them.

So yes, my lesson from this is to be nice. It doesn’t take much effort and people respond so much better to it. You would think it was common sense, but as I have seen in the past few days, it evidently isn’t. Luckily, I don’t think I’ll have too much difficulty with this goal, I can be annoyingly positive. If anything, I’ll need to make sure I don’t go over the top!

As I said earlier, things are a at a bit of a standstill until Tuesday morning. I’ve got a few things to be getting on with, creating documents for the business, like order forms and stuff like that. However, I feel this afternoon may be consumed by baking. I’m thinking either toffee apple cupcakes with maple icing or vanilla cupcakes with raspberry jam swirled through with raspberry butter icing. Decisions decisions! I had a similar problem on Friday evening, and ended up making both Marshmallow Cupcakes and Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes! They were both from the Hummingbird Bakery book, and they were both ridiculously tasty. Fortunately for my waistline (but unfortunately for my greediness) the mix only made 9, not the 12 it promised, so after being shared between me and Davids housemates there weren’t many leftover! James requested I make my apple cake again for when he and David get back tomorrow, its not my favourite and I like trying out new things so I might compromise with the toffee apple cupcakes. Win all around!

I’ve got to go and figure out how to back up my computer without having an external hard drive. I’m taking my laptop into the Apple shop in Cardiff for repair tomorrow and they recommend backing up before leaving it with them. Fun stuff!

Right, thats enough rambling for now. And remember: Be nice!

x

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Should I learn to expect this?

Week 2 in the setting up a business is coming along nicely!

Apart from the fact that people seem to have a problem with saying they’ll get back to you, and then not actually getting back to you. There are several things that I can’t do until I have certain information and no one will give it to me! Actually I lie, one person got back to me, out of about 8. However they rang me back with a quote and it was *expensive*. Its a necessary cost to the business and we’re lucky we don’t have all that many start up costs, but still, ouch! Luckily thats not something  we have to pay for another few months, so plenty of time to actually make that money first!

Talking of money, actually making some should start as of Monday, according to my plan! This might mean that I need to work some stuff out, like prices to charge, you know just casual sort of stuff…!

Oh my goodness! I just checked my university email and there was one there saying the results for one of my modules are in! Argh! I’m so scared! I worked really hard on this particular one, it was a policy report and an essay on the Welsh Assembly, and I’m fairly certain it was a great big pile of very smelly stuff. It was just a really difficult module and I chose one of the hardest topics for my report. I did it on economics for goodness sake! I don’t know what came over me! Right. Going to stop stressing and just find out how I did. Back in a bit…

Eek, not so great. Actually did better on the economics bit than I did on the general essay! Whoops! I got 55 overall, which pulls down my average a little bit, to just under a 2:1. Still got an essay and a presentation mark to come back so fingers crossed they pull me back into 2:1 territory!

Having said this, I suppose my politics degree isn’t really going to help me set up a business and thats what is more important at the moment!

I’ve had another email with a quote, this time for £1000 less! Nice! Definitely need to shop around a bit if this is the difference in prices! I need to know this cost so I can work out how much to charge. Our aims for this year are mainly to be successful. We’re aware that we might not make much money this year, especially as profits will be split between two of us, but the hope is that if it works, we’ll be able to live off it soon enough.

Right, I’m off to get more quotes and to forget about the Welsh Assembly (damn you essay! *shakes fist*).

x

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