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The Sarnie Business day 8 – The business advisor

Emma Jones, founder of small business advice and growth organisation Enterprise Nation, has a wealth of experience helping small businesses to develop and prosper. She had some tips for Lauren (@LaurenDouglin) and Scott (@ScottHudson) and The Sarnie Business.

Emma Jones, small business expert and founder of Enterprise Nation

Know your market (1. The sarnie bootcamp)

Lauren and Scott’s original plan was rejected by the sarnie supremo (Suzanne Cullen of Gustatus said filled rolls would take too long) and this highlights the importance of doing market research. Starting a business is no joke and needs to be done after careful research to find out if you have a market of customers, and what those customers want.

But while it’s important to listen to the experts, you’ve also got to listen to your gut. If you’ve done your market research and feel convinced there’s a market for what you want to offer, don’t let others deter you from moving ahead.

 

 

 

Brand vs sales (2. The birds and the bikes)

The vintage bikes seemed like a good branding idea, even though they turned out to be rather impractical. But once you start your business, I’d put making sales as more important than building a brand as, without sales, you’re not in business. That said, brand building is something you should develop as you go. As the bike exercise shows, it doesn’t take much money to raise profile and get people talking about you – but it does require imagination and ingenuity.

 

Social media matters (2. The birds and the bikes)

Social media is key for every business. It’s a no or low-cost way to reach customers, raise profile and make sales. My top tip is to spend a little time on all the major platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube) to figure out the platform that best works for you ie the platform where your customers are spending their time. Then invest more time and energy into perfecting your place on that platform. Promote what you’re doing but also be helpful and engage with others too.

 

Protect yourself (3. The winds of change)

Things will almost certainly go wrong at some point so it’s important to protect yourself. Insurance can help in the event of things going wrong. If you’re taking on a stand or popup stall for instance, it’s public liability insurance you’re after and if your business is more about advising people, then you’ll need professional indemnity.

 

Consider compliance – even if you’re a one-man band (4. A sarnie slip-up)

The Sarnie Business being threatened with a lawsuit shows the importance of getting support from those who’ve been there and done it. Any business opening a new site will need to take health and safety into account – this even needs to be considered if you’re running the business from home and have clients coming to call. Get free advice from the Health and Safety Executive website and make the most of low-cost legal documents for download at clickdocs.co.uk.

 

Get advice (5. A visit from the King)

When business is booming, keep perfecting what works and get advice on how you can do it better. My tip is to focus on what you do best and outsource the rest. So concentrate on the element of business that you most enjoy – that may be making the product or selling it – and then surround yourself with experts and do-ers who are happy to work on the items that aren’t your strong suit.

This sarnie duo got a staged feel for running a business and over a space of two weeks. Entrepreneurs who are in it for the long haul spend days, months and years working on customer service, marketing, finance, hiring and perfecting the product. It’s a journey, and advice and support is critical at every stage.

 

Tomorrow

The Sarnie Business gets a new shop. But it comes with new problems.

 

 

Read more about The Sarnie Business

Watch all 5 Sarnie Business videos

 

Enterprise Nation launched in 2005 and has since helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder Emma Jones MBE, it’s also a leading campaigning voice for small business with the Government.

O2 Business customer? Want expert business support free for 12 months? Sign up free to Enterprise Nation

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