Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Entrepreneurial Spark Update

I can hardly believe that I've been part of Entrepreneurial Spark for 5 weeks!  The time has flown in and there has been so much happening it's like a whirlwind!

I have learned a lot through various speakers especially Professor Les Charm from Babson College and through working with fellow chiclets.

More importantly I have had the chance to take 'time out' and look at my business under the microscope.  I have looked at my pitch in a new light and can see it taking shape.  I have practised over and over but not just in front of my bathroom mirror but in front of a variety of audiences - my fellow chiclets - and then a rethink.  I have been practising when visitors come to my studio.  I also gave a talk to a women's group and used the format plus a bit more (they wanted some funny stories too).

On Tuesday night I delivered my new and improved pitch at the West Coach Hatchery and was delighted to receive such positive feedback.  I had taken on board the various constructive comments I had received and reshaped the pitch to my liking.  The added touch of actually displaying my products proved very successful too.

As far as my business is concerned I feel that the motivation from being at the Hatchery has accelerated many aspects - since being at the Hatchery I now have 3 outlets where I am selling my work.  I am examining how I can 'scale up' my business as I individually handcraft each item.  After researching the possibilities I am currently creating a collection in silver which can be cast and reproduced to the same quality and finish by a company that I can trust within the United Kingdom.  This also produces a profitable margin.

I have also met with 2 separate mentors who have provided me with invaluable information and advice.  I have found that Karine, Jim and Brian in their individual ways, have supported and inspired me to 'go do'.

Within 5 weeks I have designed and created the first piece in my silver collection.  It is now ready to be cast and then I will be 'on the road' delivering my pitch to those specially selected venues.  I can't wait!

Free PR

I contacted the local paper - The Irvine Herald and by emailing an interesting story I got free editorial in the the paper 2 weeks ago.

By using Facebook to advertise I  held an event within my studio last Sunday which I organised by collaborating with other Companies.  I invited them along to provide free hair and make up trials for brides to be and I provided jewellery and accessory advice.  We all gained orders - a good team effort! I will also have an edited video of the Event coming soon as the Videographer was happy to do this at no cost also.We all gained orders - a good team effort!

I am sponsoring the Ayrshire's Top Model Event organised through Butterfly Events for a small fee and as a result I am getting lots of publicity.  I will donate a sterling silver pendant as a gift which will promote my business further.

Finally today I was at the Hatchery and there was a group of VIP's from South Ayrshire Council.  I was asked to deliver my 60 second pitch and was delighted to do so.  It was interesting that all of the women asked for my business card but the men didn't ask.  The group then met with a few other chiclets but I noticed that some returned to the meeting room while others were having coffee.  I decided to approach one of the women and suggested she might pass on some of my cards to the men in the group saying 'many men like to purchase surprise gifts for women too'.  This approach was happily received and she took my cards back into the meeting room.

Sometimes it's better to just 'go for it' if you feel the time is right!  That's how I felt about applying for the Hatchery and I have never looked back!  Roll on the next few weeks and the excitement of not knowing what possibilities are out there!