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Reader Treats Just For You!

Win £2000 to kickstart your business dreams

Have a brilliant business that needs a helping hand? We’ve teamed up with business banking alternative, Tide, to offer a whopping two grand (yes, you read it right) to give you the boost you need. Competition now closed.

woman shop open sign

Have you vowed that 2020 is the year you’ll finally launch your side hustle or turbo-charge your existing business into something bigger? Then this one is for you because I’m offering one very lucky entrepreneur a £2000 windfall to spend on their company. We could all do with that kind of money in January, right?

I’m passionate about supporting small, local businesses on Muddy – not least because until very recently, I was one! I know how hard it is when you’re starting out on your own, plonked at the kitchen table with no one but the cat for company.

So I’m cock-a-hoop to be partnering with online business current account provider Tide (over 100,000 members since their 2017 launch and counting), who are on a real mission to support female entrepreneurs. For the chance to win that big bundle of cash, all you need to do is open an account with them, but before you roll your eyes at the potential faff, let me tell you this – I have an account myself, and it took me precisely 3 minutes 30 seconds and a couple of clicks to open it. Honestly. I couldn’t even nail a glass of wine that quickly (or could I?!).

Once you’re set up, you’ll be in heaven – there are loads of easy online tools like accounting integrations, invoicing and receipt management that are a total dream for small businesses.

Click here to set up your Tide business account in minutes and be in with an excellent chance of winning £2000.* Competition now closed.

Still wavering on making the leap? Inspiration incoming – I’ve picked the brains of some of the UK’s top female entrepreneurs below for their expert advice on how to make your business fly. Now all you have to do is go for it!

 

Step back

Alex Polizzi, TV presenter and hotelier

Alex Polizzi

The main thing I believe – and it is advice I have given time and again – is to work on the business rather than in the business.  Strategy is the clever bit and the thing that makes a business fly.  It is very easy to get bogged down spending long hours on mundane tasks.  It is really important to step back and work out where you want to get to and how you are going to get there.

 

Hiring staff is an imperfect art

Sisters Clare Hopkins (left) and Rebecca Hopkins (right), founders of beauty brand Balance Me

Clare Hopkins (left) and Rebecca Hopkins (right)

Clare: I don’t think you ever know someone’s ‘right’ until they’re in your business, but we’ve really tried to learn from that. One of the big things is we have joined a Chief Exec group where they give you advice – when you join you realise every business has the same problems. As a small business, a couple of wrong people can throw you but it’s about getting the culture right.

Rebecca: Some good advice I was given by a fellow female entrepreneur on hiring staff was to think whether you could go on a train journey for two hours with that person and enjoy it. It actually works!

 

Keep your expectations realistic

Liz Houghton, co-founder of Mint Velvet

liz houghton

It’s really common when you have a great business idea to get carried away with its imagined success and not plan for more difficult times. It may well be that ultimately it will be wildly successful,  but my advice is always to have really low expectations on delivery! Half what you think you’ll make in sales – that way you protect yourself and the business. When I started out with Mint Velvet I did everything as cheap as I possibly could – I remember thinking, ‘can I do my first shoot for no money’? ‘What if I make no money in my first year?’ It makes you think carefully about your decisions. Everything is more expensive than you think, and there are so many hidden costs – licensing, insurance, getting legal advice to set businesses up. Having a great business idea is the easy part, it’s actually delivering it and making it profitable and sustainable that takes the effort. Do that right and everything else will follow.

 

Be a solution – think: what is the problem that I am solving?
Kim Winser, founder of fashion label Winser London

kim winser

I regularly give advice to start-up entrepreneurs and find that distraction from the core business model is a constant challenge that many experience. It can lead to failure, as the distractions are expensive, time-consuming and sometimes exhausting and demoralising.

Your vision is your reason for existing in business – remember to serve it with energy, passion and focus every day. It must drive your strategic plans and be the thought behind every hire, investment and logistical move you make as you launch and grow.

 


Know what you’re talking about

Hero Brown, Muddy Stilettos’ founder and editor-in-chief

Hero Brown

Did you see the guy on The Apprentice whose business idea was to create a travel firm specialising in taking people to Croatia? As it turned out, he’d never even been to Croatia – ever! – and didn’t even know where to find it on a map. It seems ridiculous, but that kind of naive enthusiasm is more common than you think.

If you’re starting a business, my advice would be to make sure you have real past experience, or if that’s not possible, at least immerse yourself fully in research (look up Croatia on a map, right?!).

I was a journalist for nearly 20 years before I made the leap to start Muddy Stilettos, and I really believe its success is down to those tough, fast-paced years on weekly newspapers and lifestyle mags – learning, failing, working fast, and finally, when the time was right, spotting a gap in the market that I knew from experience how to fill.

Er, what are you still waiting for? Click HERE to set up your Tide business account in a jiffy – and be in with an excellent chance of winning £2000. Good luck! *Competition now closed*

 

*Valid for new customers only. Subject to approval. Users will be entered into the prize draw only after their application is approved. Application for an account must be made between 22/01/2020 and 24/02/2020. Winner will be randomly selected up to 30 days after the promotion ends. It can take a subsequent 6-8 weeks for this to be validated and the reward to be transferred. Limited to 1 entry per customer. Customers must provide their email address in the form on tide.co/offers/muddy-stilettos/ and apply for an account with the same address to be eligible. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. We reserve the right to modify or withdraw this offer.

 

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