Friday, January 29, 2016

What is a Social Enterprise? Which Business Structure fits my Social Objectives?

One of the most common questions I get asked by my clients as a business adviser is ‘what is a social enterprise?’  Many of us support the idea of starting a Social Enterprise but are unsure exactly what a Social Enterprise is and if their business idea meets the criteria of that title. In fact according to a report published in 2015, three quarters of the British public are unsure of what a social enterprise is, so you aren't alone. 

The short answer to this is that social enterprise, unlike a charity, does not have a legal definition or a prescribed legal set up. However, generally speaking, it is widely agreed that a social enterprise is a business set up with a purpose to tackle a social or environmental need and will achieve this like any other business making goods or providing services to make a profit. The key difference is that social enterprises reinvest their profits into the business to do more good, rather than distribute them amongst shareholders for individual benefit.

Unlike a charity set up, social enterprises are not reliant on grant funding and donations, although there may be opportunities for social enterprises on occasion to apply for grant funding for a particular activity. Grant funding is not an integral feature of social enterprises, they will operate a more self-sustaining model.

Social Enterprises can use a wide variety of legal set up forms
The most common legal sets ups are listed below:

Community Interest Company (CIC) 
A CIC is a relatively new type of limited company, created specifically to provide a legal form for enterprises which aim to provide benefit to the community or to trade with a “social purpose,” rather than to make a profit for individuals. A feature of the CIC is the ‘Asset lock’ which ensures the social enterprise’s assets are preserved for social benefit.
CIC’s  present a brand for social enterprise as they are visibly distinguished by the suffix CIC/Community Interest Company, rather than Ltd displayed after the company name

Company Limited By Guarantee
A Company Limited by Guarantee is a limited company without shares. Individuals have limited liability which means that in the event of liquidation they will not be liable personally for any debts, as long a company law has been followed. This structure is not unique to social enterprise, but can be used by businesses looking to fulfill social aims. 

Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies (formally known as Industrial and provident society - IPS) 
A co-operative society is run for the mutual benefit of members who use its services. This is based upon the common economic, social and cultural needs or interests of the members.

A community benefit society is run primarily for the benefit of the community at large, rather than just for members of the society. An applicant enterprise must also have a special reason for being a community benefit society rather than a company, such as wanting to have democratic decision-making built into its structure.  More on these options can be found here.

The choice of which legal form is important as it has a significant bearing on what you can/can’t do with your money and assets. A business adviser can talk your through this in more detail and assist you to set your social enterprise with  the most appropriate format.

If you are a woman based in Merseyside and are considering setting up a social enterprise, contact our team to make an appointment to talk through the options in more detail.  We can support you in building a business plan for your social enterprise and getting the right structure for you. Get in touch with The Women's Organisation via 0151 706 8111 or

by Janine Hyland, Senior Business Adviser, The Women's Organisation

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Nisha Katona, Founder of Mowgli, Announced As Keynote Speaker for #WIBA16

Downtown Liverpool in Business, in association with The Women’s Organisation has some exciting news to announce! This year’s #WIBAs, The Women in Business Awards, which celebrates female entrepreneurs and business owners across Merseyside… Will include a keynote speech from Nisha Katona!

The Women In Business Awards will take place on Friday 4th March 2016 at the Crowne Plaza Liverpool 

Nisha Katona, founder of Mowgli, one of the most exciting new restaurants of 2015 will be the keynote speaker of The Women in Business Awards 2016. Nisha’s background is as varied and exciting as the food that is dished up in Mowgli, and we can’t wait to hear Nisha speak at the event!

Before launching Mowgli, Nisha was a practising barrister for many years in Liverpool before changing her life completely and opening her first restaurant in 2014. Mowgli has taken the city by storm and is unlike any other restaurant in the city, serving Indian street food and tiffin with an incredible array of flavours. Nisha is also a digital and social media whizz, with over 25,000 followers on Twitter, and subscribers who follow her diligently for tips and tricks on Indian cooking.

The Women’s Organisation were lucky enough to host Nisha at our Digital Mastermind events as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week in November 2014 along with an all-star panel of Digital whizzes, including Judith O’Brien of Bold Online Marketing, Ngunan Adamu of BBC Radio Merseyside and the Liverpool Girl Geeks.

We know that Nisha Katona is an excellent addition to an already excellent event in the calendar. The Women in Business Awards celebrate female success in all its glory, highlight the incredible and important work that female entrepreneurs and business owners are doing across Merseyside, and recognise their achievements and contribution to the economic growth of our city.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Quiz Yourself to Ensure You are Choosing the Right Business Idea

Setting up a new business is, potentially, a life-changing decision and can be an exciting step. Many new businesses, however, don’t manage to survive the first few years and it is important to understand why that can happen to give your idea a fighting chance. 

The ones that do both survive and then prosper tend to be those who have identified both a market need for a particular product or service and those who have the honed their skills and ability to provide their range of products or services. In order to assess if you have the right combination, try asking yourself the following questions:-

1. Do I have the necessary skills? 
You need to be able to offer a high quality of goods and or services and that usually requires some level of skill. If not, be honest with yourself and consider taking up training before embarking on your business start-up. 

2. Can I identify an opportunity from my current work or occupation? 
Demand from some customers may not be being met, so an opportunity has arisen.  What is missing from the service offering? Where is the gap?

3. Could I join with others to offer a wider range of services? 
For example, someone skilled in electrics could join forces with a plumber and offer a more comprehensive service to estate agents and landlords, a hair dresser could link with a beautician to offer a full pampering package. Who do you know who has skills that compliment yours?

4. Could I turn my hobby into a business? 
Skills do not have to be work related, they can come from a hobby or personal interest.  Have people started to take an interest in what you are doing as a hobby? Would they be prepared to pay for it?

5. Could I run my business from home? 
This keeps costs low and may enable a business to become established before taking on specialist or costly premises.  If not, what premises would I need and do I have the finances to take them on?

6. Is there a local demand for my offering? 
It is essential that you undertake market research before diving into business.  It is the best way to understand your competition, customers and place in the market.  

7. Are there any local incentives to support new businesses? 
It is always useful to be able to access advice and training when setting up a new business (The Women’s Organisation offer some courses and one to one advice to women in Merseyside as part of the Enterprise Hub programme).  Getting support can help you understand your key responsibilities when setting up a business and can help you to find out about routes to finance. 

8. Have I tried out my ideas with friends and family? 
This is a good way of ‘testing the market’ before ‘taking the plunge’. Ask them for brutal feedback though, as people who love you will want to encourage you and might not be as harsh as those you don't know. Once you have their feedback branch out and look for additional feedback elsewhere. 

9. Can I provide something ‘natural’ or ‘eco-friendly’? 
This is an area that is currently growing in popularity so it could be a good opportunity.

10. What about finance? 
It is important to be realistic about the costs involved in starting your business. Do you have savings you can use to finance your start?  If not then you will need to look at your finance options.  Lenders will want to see a robust business plan, so it is worth getting some advice on what finance options are available and how to create a business plan that ticks all the boxes for the financier. 

Running your own business takes a lot of drive and commitment to make it a success. If you would like some support to evaluate the viability of your idea, develop a business plan and understand how to market your service then get in touch with The Women's Organisation.  Contact our team on 0151 706 8111 or to make an appointment with one of our business advisers who can guide you through the process of starting a business.

by John Jones, Business Growth Adviser

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Women Inspired By Mia From PAO! And Kate Williams Photography At Start-Up Conference

Our first Women's Business Start-up conference of 2016 kicked off today with the news that it is our 20th birthday year! As it was the first conference of The Women's Organisation's 20th anniversary year, we felt it only right and proper to take a celebratory selfie to start the event.

#WOStartUp2016 Selfie

Jo Austin from The Women's Organisation encouraged the women that they were "trailblazers" just by attending and recognising that they do have the opportunity to be business leaders.  Women are still greatly under represented in enterprise and business leadership, so Jo explained that The Women's Organisation exists to tackle that inequality through inspiring enterprise and supporting women's economic development.

Sue Chambers from MSIF with Abi Inglis from The Women's Organisation

Sue Chambers from event partners MSIF gave the good news that there are finance options out there for start-up businesses and that MSIF help to fill the gap for those who weren't eligible for finance from the banks for any reason.  

Inspiration came in buckets when we invited Kate Williams of Kate Williams Photography and Mia Tagg of PAO! to talk about how they went about starting a business.

Kate Williams Photography

Kate was honest sharing that it was a massive "leap of faith" deciding to set up in business and took stepping out of her comfort zone. Mia told us that conversely she "loves the uncertainty" a new business venture brings and finds that challenge only brings out the best in her.

Mia tagg from PAO!

Following a quick break to stuff our faces with pastries and a cuppa (and network of course) we were back at it looking at the reality of starting a business. 

"Self-employment isn't the easy option and we aren't here to tell you it is" confessed Jo with nods from Mia and Kate, but as the discussion went on to the positives of setting up your own business - the energy in the room rose with women shouting out their hopes for self-employment from "Not having to answer to anyone else" to "flexible working hours". 

The morning finished with good news that support is available FREE for those in Merseyside looking to start their own business via the new Enterprise Hub programme.  The Women's Organisation can help women directly through Enterprise Hub with one to one business advice and training around business planning and the tools needed to run a business. 

Feedback from the women who came along included:

"The speakers were very interesting and inspirational"
"Loved it thank you"
"Great help, glad I came. Thank you"
"Very useful to decide if you'd like to start a business"
"Well presented and useful"
"Great alkers, very personal and helpful"
"Brilliant, thank you"
"Today's conference was informative"
"It was a very relaxed, easy going session which has inspired me"

The women attending also walked away with a brilliant 'digital tools' handbook that gave them some ideas for apps, sites and tools they can use to make their business smarter from the outset.  One key tool highlighted at the event was the Envision platform which budding entrepreneurs can use from the outset to help plan their business. 

A massive thank you to our brilliant speakers Mia and Kate, and to our event partners MSIF for their support in making the conference happen. 

If you missed out on our business start-up conference, but would like to link into the Enterprise Hub support to start your business you can contact our team on 0151 706 8113 or  

Monday, January 25, 2016

Vicky Powell Carden Created The Perfect Job For Herself With Retail Business Queen...

Vicky Powell-Carden is the Retail Business Queen, that’s her business name and it’s a name that so totally encompasses everything that Vicky is about, she’s passionate, knowledgeable and has years of experience in the retail industry, and we were delighted to get the chance to sit down with Merseyside’s official Retail Business Queen.

Vicky has worked in retail for numerous years, getting her first retail job as a Buyer’s Assistant when she was only 23 and has worked for Matalan, Pound Stretcher, Home Bargains (TJ Morris) and many others over the years, most recently working as the Head of Buying & Merchandising for Liverpool Football Club, always in one retail capacity or another. She says; ‘I’ve always worked for other people and other businesses, I loved my work and have travelled all over the world with it, from China to Indonesia, the USA and Europe. I had a great career but came to the conclusions that I wasn’t happy working for someone else and I had this burning desire to start my own business, except I didn’t know exactly what that business was going to be.’

So with only the idea of wanting to start a business, Vicky came to The Women’s Organisation and was paired up with Business Adviser Jo Mountfort, and together they began to brainstorm and think about how Vicky’s skill set could be turned into a viable business. ‘I originally came to The Women’s Organisation and spoke to Jo about starting up an online retail shop, but we soon realised that this was not going to get me to the level of income that I really wanted.’ 

It wasn’t only this reason, but also the fact that Vicky was missing certain aspects of her previous roles as a buyer for big organisations. ‘I missed the whole buzz of it really, I missed talking to suppliers, I missed getting excited about product development. Jo told me that I had a solid set of skills and a lot of experience and told me that there would be people interested in hiring my services as a buyer, either on a contract or project basis. Or I could consider offering training workshops… And that’s where it started really.’

Vicky’s business, RBQ Consultancy Ltd (Retail Business Queen) offers services to businesses such as Supplier and Cost Price Evaluation, Buyer Project Work and Retail Operations Planning and training. Vicky started the business in 2015 and it seems like she’s found the perfect fit for her! ‘Since I started my business, I’m evolving as a business owner and my business model is able to move constantly. I’ve had lots of different clients and I’ve got many more different directions that I would like to go in, in the future.’

For us, here at The Women’s Organisation, where we interact with female business owners on a daily basis, it’s clear to see how needed Vicky’s skill set is for those starting or growing their retail businesses. We’ve heard countless stories of business owners purchasing goods from overseas at, what seems to be at first, great prices, before being hit with a big bill on delivery and taxes! Vicky, through her connections and experience, is able to alleviate this stress and help business owners avoid nasty surprises like these big bills!

Vicky says; ‘There’s so many potential pitfalls in retail, there’s quality issues, packaging, labelling, compliance to name but a few, and people can get themselves in a bit of a mess! If you’re bringing something into the country, you are liable and responsible for anything to do with it. So for things like electrical or children’s products, everything has to be completely water tight and comply to British and European regulations.’

As well as using her experience and knowledge to help businesses buy their products properly, Vicky says she there are also more diverse angles to Retail Business Queen that she is enjoying exploring. ‘I was approached by a student property company, they are a new business and they supply the student accommodation sites with items like beds, bedding, pots and pans, cutlery and even wine glasses. I worked with them on a tight deadline last year and drew on my buying skills so I was able to save them huge amounts of money from smarter sourcing, as well as making sure they have the quality products that they want. I saved them over £50,000’

Although, of course, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing for Vicky, like all start-ups, Vicky has had her challenges. ‘To get everything off the ground is always going to be a little tough. I’ve got to divide my time between so many different things; doing a bit of PR, meeting new clients, invoicing, quoting, as well as doing some actual work!’ As well as this, Vicky is juggling her new business with looking after her two children and developing her skills in areas like Social Media. ‘I’ve always worked in huge organisations where we had whole departments to look after our website, Social Media and SEO, so this has been a great learning curve for me.’

Matt & Vicky At 'Should I Wholesale?'

And there are more plans in the pipeline for the future of RBQ Consultancy Ltd such as workshops, drop-in surgeries and clinics aimed at giving business owners fast, great advice when they need it. Back last year Vicky took part in an event we held here at The Women’s Organisation, Should I Wholesale? Where she sat on a panel with Matt Bell, Founder of Revolver Retail and the REX Concept Store, and answered questions and queries on wholesaling; ‘It was the first time I’d ever done anything like that before and I really enjoyed it, it’s something I would like to develop further. I’m passionate about the sector and being able to break difficult topics down for a business owner is something I really enjoy doing.’ 

But most of all, Vicky relishes the variety of work that RBQ Consultancy allows her, from working with large organisations to working one on one with start-ups, speaking to suppliers or sourcing the best products for a client.

And what advice does Vicky have for anyone thinking about starting their own business; ‘Well. It sounds cheesey, but do come down to The Women’s Organisation or any other support service and talk your idea through! Your friends and family can be quite biased so talk to those who are surrounded by business start-ups and they can come at it from a different angle. By speaking to Jo, I was able to see my business idea from a different perspective and it gave me the confidence and the push that I needed…’

If you would like to find out more about Vicky and her business RBQ Consultancy Ltd. Get in touch with her using the contact details below!

Phone Number: 07767 870977
Social Media: Facebook: RetailQueen
Twitter: @RBQConsult

And if you are interested in finding out how The Women’s Organisation can support you and your business idea, then get in touch with us! You can ring us on 0151 706 8111 or email

Thursday, January 21, 2016

WICED Panel Member Professor Patricia Greene Wins Award for Women's Research

Babson College Professor Patricia Greene has received an award for her ‘Outstanding Contributions in Women’s Research’ from the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship® (USASBE) and its Special Interest Group – Minority and Women Entrepreneurship. 

This news came as no surprise to The Women's Organisation who have benefitted directly from Patti Greene's expertise as part of our WICED Expert Panel.  The WICED panel was established as part of the WICED development project at 54 St James Street, drawing together the expertise of academics from across the globe to conduct research around women's economic development. 

Professor Greene's ongoing research focuses on the identification, acquisition, and combination of entrepreneurial resources, particularly by women and minority entrepreneurs.  Of her many roles at Babson College college, Greene is known for holding the Paul T. Babson Chair in Entrepreneurial Studies, for her many achievements as Academic Director of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses and 10,000 Women programs, and as a founding member of the Diana Project – a research group focusing on women and the venture capital industry.
The Women's Organisation would like to offer our heartfelt congratulations to Professor Patricia Greene on this fabulous achievement. As our motto says 'When a woman is empowered, women are empowered. Each new achievement reinforces us all'.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

54 St James Street - Tenant of the Month - Dobson Welch Ltd - Our 200th Tenant!

So, Tenant of the Month is back! Each month we will be publishing an interview with one of our lovely tenants in the building, asking them what they like about the building and finding out what their business is all about!

Last month we spoke to our onsite cafe and caterers, Siren Ltd, and this month we got to sit down and speak to Clare Tagg, founder of Dobson Welch Ltd. to find out what her business is, and what she likes best about calling 54 St James Street her business home! 

What makes Clare even more special, is the fact that her moving into the building which happened in December last year, marked our 200th tenant in the building! 

So, what does Clare have to say about 54 St James Street?

What is your business name and what do you do?

Dobson Welch Ltd Recruitment Agency specialising in the Commercial Sector.

What did you do prior to setting up your own business?

Worked for a number of different agencies in Liverpool, London and Manchester

What made you decide to set up in business?

I wanted to build something really special, I love building relationships with clients and providing them with a first class service. I am all about excellent relationships and reputation so decided to start something I can be proud of.

Where have you been working from previously?

What made you decide to move to 54 St James Street?

The location is perfect, the facilities are great and more importantly there is a great sense of community with some really interesting businesses around you.

How have you been working with The Women’s Organisation?

The Women’s Org helped me to set up my business and gave me the confidence I needed to go it alone.

What is it that you like the most about 54 St James Street?

The atmosphere is great and everyone is very supportive of each other.

We are delighted to have Clare join us at 54 St James Street and wish her all the best for her business in 2016!

If you are interested in basing your building at 54 St James Street, you can find out more information over on the website, or email us on or ring us on 0151 706 8111

And if you're already a tenant and would like to be profiled as Tenant of the Month, then get in touch on 

Clare's business details can be found below! 

Twitter @DobsonWelch
Business Contact Details: 0333 323 0960

Monday, January 18, 2016

Networking At The Women’s Org – We Started 2016 With A Strategy & @Bold_Online Marketing!

2016 started for us, with our first Business Club networking event of the year! The Women’s Organisation Business Club runs monthly networking events, and January 14th marked the first of the year. It was ‘Start The Year With A Strategy’ and we hope everyone who attended came away feeling refreshed, re-energised and ready to start their business year, the right way!
We were joined firstly by Geoffrey McKay from the Central Liverpool Credit Union who enlightened us on how a Credit Union can be a great and effective way of putting away money for a rainy day, but also a way of helping others in the community.

Central Liverpool Credit Union are a non-profit making, financial co-operative that exists solely for the benefits of its members. Their mission is to provide their members with affordable loans encourage regular savings and provide financial assistance as required.

We particularly liked the sound of the Christmas Club, where you can decide to put away a little bit of money each month, which is locked by the Credit Union until November! Just in time for all the Christmas shopping we know we leave until the last minute!

If you’d like to find out more about the Central Liverpool Credit Union, how you can save with them, speak to them about their business accounts or anything else, follow the links here!

Next up, we heard from Judith O’Brien, founder of Bold Online Marketing and sponsor for this Business Club event. Now, we’re not afraid to admit this – we have a BIG soft spot for Judith, and think she is just marvellous! If you’ve never seen her speak, we’re afraid you’re really missing out! Judith, the self-titled ‘Queen of the Slideshow’ kept us entertained throughout her presentation on why having a strategy for your digital is so important.

With tips like focussing on the forums and platforms that work best for you to email marketing being one of the top responsive tools, by the end of the presentation everyone felt pretty clued up on digital.

Now the challenge was to go away, sit down and start writing the all-important strategy! But we’d prepared for that too! To take away, our lovely attendees were given a booklet from The Women’s Organisation outlining our best app recommendations for productivity, a One-HR Software hand out, outlining all the great benefits to having One-HR Software, and Judith followed up by sending over handy templates to everyone who attended!

So! Did you join us at Start The Year With A Strategy? Let us know if you did, and if it helped you start 2016 right!

As always, we would like to thank your Business Club sponsors, Mitchell Charlesworth for their support of Business Club. 

Mitchell Charlesworth, Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers offer a locally based complete financial and accounting solution for businesses and individuals. They have offices across the North West with a presence in Liverpool, Chester, Manchester, Warrington and Widnes. 

If you would like to find out more about Mitchell Charles worth, you can check out their website...

The Cost Of Starting Your Own Business

So you have finally decided to take the plunge and plan for that business idea you have been thinking about for a while. As you work through the list of things to consider before you start (aka a Business Plan), there is one vital thing that needs careful consideration and thought to help you understand the viability of your idea. – Financial Planning. And more specifically, Start Up Costs.

When planning for your business it is essential to do that number crunching at the start. The start up costs required for businesses vary massively and depend on many different factors, mainly your type of business.

Here are some typical start up costs to consider when starting up:

Stock – if you are making or selling a product, you may need to buy a supply of stock to help you get going. For retail businesses, more consideration needs to be given to shop stock in order to fill shelves/rails and present a fresh option for returning customers.
Rent: If you require premises for your business you will need to consider the first month (or two months) rent and possibly a deposit and admin fee. You will also have energy bills and additional costs to consider.
Rates: You may be required to pay business rates to the local authority – 
Business Insurance: This is arguably one of the most important things to research when starting a business. The type of business you are starting will determine the  type and level of insurance needed. Shop round for a range of quotes. 
Marketing and Advertising: Give careful consideration to your marketing plan as you start out in business. Where possible (and appropriate) use free tools such as social media to promote yourself. Business cards, websites, leaflets and design can all vary massively in price and the impact of your tools must be considered before spending huge amounts budget on them.
Telephone and Internet: If you are using a separate phone for your business you will need to take into account additional bills/connection fees. This will also apply to internet packages.                                                                                          
Postage: if you run an online business ensure that you factor in your postage costs. Not accounting for postage costs can seriously eat into your profits to it’s important to consider this from the outset.
It is crucial to be realistic about these costs from the outset as underfunding can often be the downfall of new start up businesses.

You may want to start with a ‘wish list’ and work backwards from there and you should always consider when your income from sales will come into the business (Cashflow) as you might need to plan for the first few months costs initially.

A carefully thought out financial plan combined with positive market research indications, can be a great recipe for startup success.

Friday, January 15, 2016

@MSIFunding Sponsor January Women's Business Start Up Conference

January and a New Year is a great time for goal setting and new starts, so January 2016 The Women's Organisation are pleased to welcome local women to come and explore the idea of starting a new business at our Women's Business Start Up Conference.

We hope you will be inspired as local businesses will be joining the conference to share their story of how they got started and lessons they have learned along the way.  You will also be invited to join in workshop activites to help you to evaluate whether self-employment is right for you and to guide you on how to take your ideas forward. 

The Women's Organisation are delighted to announce that MSIF will be sponsors of the event with information about how they can help start-up businesses to access finance available on the day. 

The conference will take place on Tuesday 26th January 10am-1pm at The Women's Organisation's 54 St James Street centre and is free to attend for any women living in Merseyside.

If you are a woman who has an idea for a business, why not come along to explore the possibilities and meet with other women who are feeling the same nervous excitement.

For tickets and more information click here

Friday, January 8, 2016

Top Tips For Creating A Great Plan For Your Business

So you want to start your own business? Before you do anything, a business plan needs to happen! Sitting down to write a business plan might sound like something you don't want to do, when you just want to crack on with starting the business. But believe us, it will be worth it in the long run.

Writing a Business Plan ensures you are on track, have a clear idea and a clear method to carrying out your idea. As part of the #IAmEnterprising competition, you'll need to complete a short Business Plan to be invited along to our Business Bootcamp where you'll hear from experts on how to better your Business Plan. 

But, in the meantime, get your Business Plan started with our top tips! If you need assistance with it, then give us a shout, we're on hand to help out, you can email us on or ring us on 0151 706 8111, or visit Melanie Williams in the Learning Exchange Centre who is on hand for helping you with your Business Plan! 

So, here are #IAmEnterprising's Top Tips for your Business Plan!

Be Organised and Focused

Okay, we're sorry to break it to you, but having a great business idea does not mean you have a great business. To get ahead, you'll need to write a business plan to encourage yourself to evaluate your idea in detail. 

You can use the #IAmEnterprising Business Plan Brief to keep yourself in track and construct your business idea.

Understand your customer
Researching the market that you are thinking of entering is absolutely essential. Talk to your potential customers and get an idea of how they would react to your product or service. How much they expect to pay for your products and services? 

Can you describe your potential customers’ characteristics accurately in terms of their geographic and demographic profile, their employment status, profession, special interests and membership of clubs. Business customers may be located in a specific area or in a particular sector etc.

Understand your competition

Market research also enables you to get to grips with your competition. What other products and services like yours are out there already? 

Not all businesses stem from a revolutionary idea and many successful businesses are born out of an improvement to an old concept. 

Did you look at your competitors? Do you know their strength and weakness? How your competitors promote their business?  How could you compete with your competitors? What makes you different from them? Would you be able to offer customers something noticeably better, cheaper, easier than what they are used to if you are going to draw them away from the familiar.

Be realistic

Once you know your customer and competition you will be able to define your marketing plan where you lay out the products and services you are going to offer, how much you are going to charge, how you would promote your business, would the business operate from online or a venue? How are you going to brand your business i.e. business name and logo?

The final part of the business plan will be focus on the start-up cost and projection of income. You will need to consider all the costs of setting up and be realistic. Projected sale is used to set out realistic targets you would like to achieve in the first 12 month.

And if you want to find out more, get in touch by emailing or ringing us on 0151 706 8111