Small Business Coaching, Advice and Mentoring
Three years ago, I was preparing to leave EE, my corporate job, my monthly salary security. I had a few weeks left so was on wind down from EE work. But I was on wind-up for Mrs Mummypenny. It was all stations go-go and I was preparing as best I could for self-employed life.
I used the two months after I left to plan, plan again and plan some more. I met with advisors and mentors who have made millions from their own businesses to check I was on the right path. That I had everything covered.
The Government Helped Me Alot
One of the things that helped me out incredibly well was the government, yes you heard me correctly! I took redundancy (the best gift ever!) from EE, so I immediately signed on for unemployment benefit. I was always going to apply for every penny of help that I was due. During my interview I told my case worker all about my plans for Mrs Mummypenny. They were ever so supportive, and I was put forward for the National Enterprise Allowance (NEA).
There was paperwork and waiting times to go through of course. In the meantime, I claimed for my unemployment benefit. I had my first appointment with my NEA advisor and presented my rough business plan, along with some financials. He loved my idea and sent me off with an official business plan and cash flow forecast to complete.
A Business Plan is Essential
I had two weeks to pull together an official business plan, covering everything, SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis, PEST (Political, Economic, socio-cultural and technological) analysis, financials. I was in my element as I learnt about these models during my A-levels and in my degree!!
Writing the business plan was essential to taking my business seriously. And it helped me focus on what I needed to organise and do in the early days and beyond. The cash flow forecast was also incredibly useful in knowing where my income was coming from and controlling my business expenses.
After all cash is king. The most valuable piece of advice I was given by one of my mentors, maximise your income and spend as little as possible. It stood strong then and still stands strong now. And my cash flow forecast helped me to focus on this goal.
National Enterprise Allowance
I returned to meet my advisor with my sparkly business plan and my business was signed off and I moved from unemployment benefit to NEA, this was £66 per week for 13 weeks, and then £33 per week for the next 13 weeks. A tax-free allowance paid to me by the government to help with the start of my business. Every little helps.
The power of the Mentor
I have a few mentors whom I meet up with maybe once a year. Each has a different perspective on business and life. Funnily enough they are all men, for a feminist like me! Three are men I worked with at EE, one my boss from my EE digital days, a corporate role model, and a great business coach. Two were external business partners in my last role at EE, both very success self-employed entrepreneurs. The last one is a fellow internet success story who runs a very successful finance brand.
Each has a different perspective, but also share a lot of the same ethics and drive. All are so willing to give their time and advice in exchange for a coffee or a lunch actually more than often they buy me lunch! I leave each meeting brimming with ideas and with a plan to can some ideas! And they help me with contacts. Its not what you know it’s who you know.
Wenta Business Advice
My NEA advisor recommended Wenta, the next stage of business advice. Again, government funded and free, there is so much business advice available out there for free, you just need to know where to look. I have my own business mentor Charles, whom I meet with again once a year for an update. I met with Charles this week to talk about my strategy, my feelings of overwhelm. We had a great two-hour meeting and went through everything. Financials, growth, a five-year plan, stress, financial planning, family support, end goals, literally everything.
Wenta can also arrange finance and grants for you. There are start-up grants and growth grants depending on what stage your business is at. I am at growth stage, so if I was to spend £6,000 on an asset to help grow my business Wenta will fund £3,000 of this.
Wenta also offers tons of free courses and networking sessions. Legal surgeries, social media, finances, plus many more, so much support is available all for free. Wenta is a business support service covering Herts, Beds and Enfield. Have a look at whom your local business support provider is.
I have had so much advice, guidance and mentorship and I wouldn’t be where I am today without it. This is a huge thank you to everyone mentioned for your support with Mrs Mummypenny and its continued growth. This time next year I’ll be a millionaire (I totally wrote that in my leaving email from EE)
And if you are at the beginning of a small business journey or in the growth stage this will help you to know where to turn for help and financial support. We all need a helping hand, and no woman/man is an island.
A post from the heart. I.e. not sponsored!