Emma Jones, founder of small business support network Enterprise Nation is working with Avon to inspire 50,000 new digital entrepreneurs throughout the UK. She shares her tips to get started in business here: ‘Business is all about taking lots of little steps towards your goal. The first, which is the decision to become your own boss, is the most important. Base a business on doing what you love and it will never really feel like work.
‘My top tips for anyone thinking of starting a business are as follows:
Have a plan
When starting a new business, it’s good to have a plan. Think of a business plan as your route map; it will guide you from a business idea to being up and running with sales and satisfied customers. In your plan include details of your market (customers), any kit you’ll need to get going (which with My Avon Store is minimal), a cash-flow forecast showing what you hope to earn, less costs, and include details of your support network ie experts to whom you can turn on topics that aren’t your strong suit.
Make sales and raise profile
With My Avon Store, the sales process comes built-in. The store is your window to the world so all you have to do is tell everyone you meet to visit and buy! Carry promotion cards with you at all times, reach out to local media to tell them your story, and consider partnerships with groups and clubs that are home to your type of customers. Embrace social media to reach new customers and interact with existing ones – all this activity will drive traffic to your store and so increase sales.
You’re likely to start and grow the business from home, which is the very best place, as you keep office costs and commute time low and run the business round your family. Create dedicated space in the house so you have a division between what’s work and what’s not. When you’re in that space, others know you’re working, and you can close the door at the end of the working day.
Manage the money
With sales coming in, manage your money with the help of an accountant or accounting software such as Xero. The basics of business are to earn more than you spend. Keep on top of this by always knowing how much is owed to you – and how much you owe to others. Open a business bank account as soon as you can so you can separate business income from personal income.
Surround yourself with the support required to grow your business. Avon can help by connecting you with other Avon representatives so you can share tips and advice. Get involved in local business networks and make the most of online support at Enterprise Nation where there’s access to experts and advisers in topics from sales to social media, tax and technology.
Keep repeating these steps of making sales, raising profile and managing the money to keep customers coming back. You’ll be on your way to growing a strong and successful business.’