Your target market

So you have got your feedback on your product/service (your business), made any adjustments and changes and you are ready to take the next step.

You now need to find your target market. In this instance the phrase ‘target market’ refers to four external factors that will affect your business and need to be considered.

These are the foundations for any business and must be explored and identified for your business to succeed.

A good way to address these area is by using a marketing tool call the ‘7 P’s. This method has been used for many years, increasing the ‘P’s over the years as other aspects have been added. There are another couple of ‘P’s but you need to work on the first 7 before looking at the last two.

So what are the ‘7 P’s?

They are Product, Price, Promotion, Place, Packaging, Positioning and People.

Mostly they are self explanatory and you can work through them yourself. I will create some additional posts to address these in more detail over the next couple of weeks.

If you would like the information quicker! Drop me an email and I will send you details by return.

You have a great idea, what to do with it!

Honest feedback is very important

Week 1 – Your idea

You have an idea but what do you do with it?

We often feel we have a good idea but is it something that others feel the same way about?

First step is to ask family and friends. Try to ask people who will give you honest feedback. Often people agree with your idea and say your product is great because they do not want to be negative or put you off.

This is not helpful as it could be causing you a lot of extra work that will not produce anything – instead of working on other ideas or making the changes needed to make it right.

Be sure to tell who you ask that it has to be honest feedback, explain that by pointing out the flaws or negatives (as well as the positives) is helping you, not putting you off. Once you get this right, the feedback is very helpful in knowing if you are ready to take the next step or if you need to make changes before moving forward.

A good example of this was when my daughter was looking at creating a handmade soap business. She created the soap, gave samples to our family to try and they all said they were great. They liked the presentation, the moisturising aspects were spot on etc. She then gave some samples to someone who didn’t know her and asked for honest feedback. She found that the soap was a good size, packaging was lovely, moisturising property was great but they found that the scent was disappointing and lather was not what they expected! This feedback was by far more helpful because it made her consider her target market, branding message and with some small adjustment to the scent content, her next trial was far more successful.

So please make sure you do not just ask people you are likely to get a ‘oh that is great’ response from – it will not help you! It will most likely cost you a lot of time, cost and make you feel negative further into your journey.

Have you got what it takes? Don’t be boxed in!

You can feel boxed in!

Having a small business is both mentally and financially difficult.

No matter how much research, costings, checking the finer details you do for your business – there will likely be setbacks, challenges and some tough times before you get to the finish line.

Do not underestimate the emotional, mental and financial challenges starting a business, or growing a business, will take.

It helps to have a support system in place so that when you hit that brick wall, feel boxed in – you will have somewhere to turn to talk through these things and come up with a plan to get past the issue/challenge.

If you do not have that support, let us help you. I work with Jigsaw Homes to offer free support to small businesses and new start-ups. Sometimes all it takes is to have someone to sit and listen, other times you need help putting a plan together and other times it is specialist support that we can either offer or connect with one of our supporting partners to help you. Get in touch and lets look at what we can do to help.

Like the idea of owning your own business?

The idea of owning your own business is exciting and whilst some acknowledge it will be hard work – few are really prepared for the intensity of starting a business.

Before you start on this journey it is important you are totally honest with yourself and ask yourself some very important questions.

I will be posting a series of blogs, asking you the questions you need to be asking yourself. I will post these weekly to give you time to think about them before you move onto the next one.

I know this might seem a little silly, but to be successful in any business you must take the time to create a solid foundation to carry you forward to success.

So here is the first question.

Are you truly committed to making your business a success?

Is your business idea something that you daydream about when you have a quiet moment or a bad day?

Or is it on your mind constantly – the the point of being an obsession?

To succeed, it helps if you have a burning desire and passion for your product and to make it work, not matter what! Starting and running any business (large or small) is exceptionally hard work and if you don’t have have drive to keep going, then consider if it is really what you want.

Starting your own business is very rewarding but can be a lonely stressful journey, so be prepared. Make sure you have that passion – it also helps if you find someone who will be there to talk things through with. They don’t have to be business minded but you often find the answer yourself just by talking it through out load.

Well done – you have taken the first step. Think this through over the next few days and see what the next question will be!

Start 2020 with a plan!

So many people have an idea which they would love to turn into a business but keep putting it off for one reason or another.

Why not make 2020 the year you take your first step – who knows where it will take you?

I will help you take your first step and support you with your next one – all free of charge. Supported by Jigsaw Homes, this is a service available to anyone who would like support to consider if your idea is viable, starting their own business or you have a business you want to develop further. We are here to help, just give me a call and take your first step.

Start of a new journey

Helping others is the one of the most rewarding things I do.

For some time I have been working with Jigsaw Homes, offering support to new start-ups and small businesses.

It has been very rewarding and our support network has grown during this time.

I have thought about what I want my website to offer, should it be selling my services or promoting other services? – these just didn’t feel right for me.

So I have decide what does feel right for me is to start a series of blogs, offering advise and support to the small businesses and new start-ups that I passionately want to help.

The one to one support service is still readily available, if you would like to chat through ideas or get some help moving forward I would be happy to help. Just get in touch and we will arrange to meet up.

Moving forward I will try and put a post up every other week, weekly if I can get them done in time. I will try and make them straight forward and with important information – not sales speak!

I hope these blogs will help you on your journey.

Is there grants around in Tameside?

When working with new start-ups and small businesses, one of the most asked questions is ‘are there any grants I can apply for?’

There really is no grants around in the Tameside area.  To finance a business it has to be with money raised y yourself via savings, a personal or business loan.

Jigsaw have a partnership with a company who specialise in Social Enterprise organisations and offer a small amount of funds for people who have a direct impact on the local community.  If your business is a social enterprise, get in touch and we can put you in touch with the right people to help you.

We also have a partnership with other organisations that offer specific support in securing financial support who we are happy to connect you with, again just give us a call.

If we link you with one of our partners, it does not stop you having support from the SUSSED IT project in other areas of your business.


Moving forward


Today I am a guest speaker at Tameside Enterprise Club.

This is a new thing for me, I have spoken to groups before but in an employed capacity.  It feels totally different preparing this time, mainly because I am putting myself forward (selling myself) rather than representing a company I work for.

But you know what, I am also really excited. If I can help a person or a company move forward to achieve their desired outcome, it is worth it.  The sense of achievement outweighs any nerves I have and I would encourage anyone who is starting up or putting themselves forward to be confident in themselves.  If you are not passionate about what you do, then maybe you are not doing what you should be doing.  Passion for a business is really important, especially when you are starting up – if you don’t feel passionate, why would anyone else.

A current client comes to mind when I think ‘am I really offering something worth while?’ – which I am sure so many people do!  Gail is the proud owner of a Beauty Salon in Chadderton and is concerned that they are only really busy on a Saturday and wanted to get people in during the week.  Gail and her staff are really lovely people and when you go into the salon you are greeted with a big smile and such warmth.  She asked me if I could help her with her quest for more clients.  I had a look around the salon, discussed her end objectives, what she is happy with etc.  I then made some suggestions regarding the salon itself (which is freshly painted and looks amazing).  From there we are now working on her ’email marketing campaign’ which will generate a target audience to entice into the salon.  I gave Gail a list of things to do and she has been working incredibily hard to get everything completed.  Here is what she put at the bottom of her last email.

‘Other than all this I just wanted to show I value your input and hope you are pleased with my achievements… I will continue with more and will post asap… come soon xxx I feel I can hand all this over and you can fix it xxx much regards gail xx

Ps obviously this is all a work in progress and I will continue to work on stuff, updating you as i go…’
This is what motivates me to keep working for myself so that I can help businesses when they need it without breaking the bank!
Before I decided to make the move, my perception of a ‘Consultant’ was they come into your business, have a wonder round, chat to some staff and ask question that sometimes seem irrelevant!  They then go away and produce a report telling you what you are doing wrong and not really giving you a way to change it, or giving generic responses such as ‘change the method of finance you use’. I also found that their understanding of ‘what is wrong’ may not be factual as each business is unique.  And to add insult to injury they charge thousands of pounds.
I wanted to be very different from this style of Consultant.  I pride myself in taking the time to understand what the business is about, what the aspirations of individuals and the company are, what their needs are (not what I want them to be).  This is where the ‘7 Step Program’ was inspired and created from.  I wanted to get clients to know what they wanted, make sure it fit with who they are and work towards meeting these expectations in a structured way that is not all consuming.  ‘Recognising Your Unique Business Genius’ helps clients on their way to understanding where they are on the journey. To get a copy of this please email me and I will send you a copy.
So I am ready to go, got all my sales stuff together and an general idea of what I want to say – don’t really like to prepare a speech, I know what I do and am confident in expressing this.  Will let you know how it goes.
If you need help with your business, please get in touch and I will work with you.


Crazy Days


Portrait of young redhead Caucasian woman sitting in chair.

Over the years I found myself thinking about what it would be like working from home. Dreaming of getting up in a morning, not having to think about getting dressed or commuting to the office.  It had a certain amount of appeal.  The thought of no distractions from the general noise and activity that a manufacturing environment has – BLISS.

Well, in January I got the opportunity to work for myself from home.  I couldn’t wait to churn through my workload, have an hour for lunch and still have time for my hobbies.  The reality is not what I imaged it would be.

It is great working from home, being your own boss, prioritising your own workload and day.  Even getting up and not having to leave the house is great.   But there is also a down side, for me anyway.  At first I found it very difficult to not get distracted  – I’d settle down to work, after 15 minutes I’d be hoovering or putting a wash load in, oh I can just get the beds changed quickly, you get the idea.  So by the time 5 o’clock came around I had hardly done any actual work!  It was so alien to me because I have always worked really hard, put extra hours in when needed and got through tonnes of work.  How is this not happening now, without the distractions?

Some of my friends tell me ‘think of the money’ and you will be motivated to get on with it.  The problem is I have never been motivated by money – it has always been pride in the work I do.  So whilst I have to earn enough to pay the bills, it’s not giving me that focus I need.

So after the first week of distractions, I decided to make sure my day was structured.  I started each day checking my emails, social media sites and posting any interesting articles I came across.  Then I did any domestic stuff that I knew would distract me.  I set my alarm for 8am, once the alarm went off I made myself sit down and work solid for 1 hour with no distractions.  I had a break while I had my cuppa and breakfast for about 15 minutes, then back to work and I worked this way throughout the day.  Whilst I was less distracted I still didn’t feel I was actually achieving enough for the hours of work I put in.

I was getting increasingly frustrated (which is not like me), while I was chatting with my husband about my frustrations (others would maybe call it whining!), it came to me that when I work with clients I tell them to have a ‘to do list’ written at the end of each day so that when they start the next day they have a clear objective.  Always starting with the job they don’t want to do first.  Kind of silly that I didn’t follow my own advise really…..

Week 3 – much better.  I plan my day in advanced, book my client visits around my best telephone time when possible and by 5 o’clock I feel content that I have achieve my daily goals and enjoyed the benefits of working from home.  It is now a set routine that gives me the structure I need but with some flexibility.

Worse part of working from home is you can’t call in and say ‘it’s snowing, I can’t get in today’.  But for me the benefits far out weight the negatives.  So my advise to you would be try and have a structured day, get rid of the distractions before you start work and keep to your schedule where you can.

Good luck if you are also giving it a go working from home and let me know how you have got on.

Sales & Marketing go hand in hand

Sales marketing

Sales and Marketing Strategies

If there was a ‘one fits all’ option for sales and marketing then the big companies would save a fortune!  But no one knows which medium works best because we humans are  so varied, so the best policy is cover them all.

Social media is the main focus for a lot of businesses, which is not a bad thing, but so many ignore the more traditional ways to reach customers and in doing so miss a huge opportunity.

How many leaflets do you get through your door each week?  How many email promotions do you get in your inbox everyday? If they didn’t work companies would not use them, they get enough converted customers to make it viable. Take this into consideration when you are looking at your sales and marketing strategies.

Before you start hitting every thinkable way of reaching customers, you need to make sure that you are getting the right message over.  If you know what your Unique Selling Point (USP) is, great – make it the centre of your campaigns.  If you do not know what it is, then sit back and think what you offer that no one else does, or what you do better than anyone else.  Sometime speaking to someone outside your business can help with this information as it is sometimes hard to be objective when you are so emotionally invested (it’s normal to believe you are the best company ever!).

Keep your campaign consistent, the same message across all mediums, so your customers know what you are offering.   Having good content is also important, you will have better results if you offer some information to your customers – be the expert in your field.

If you would like any more details on the above or need assistance getting your sales and marketing campaign off to a good start, please give me a call, email or complete the form below and I will get back to you straight away.   You can have a successful sales and marketing campaign without spending a fortune.