I was delighted to be invited by BBC Radio 5 Live to mentor an unemployed mother, Danielle Devlin as I am a champion of women within my own business...

I know the pitfalls and challenges of running your own business and this is an opportunity to pass on my knowledge to Danielle and the wider audience. Danielle meets RosemaryLike Danielle I wanted to run a business around the children when they were young. I was a waitress, a cleaner, a bar maid and sold cosmetics and skin care at house parties as I brought up my children on state benefits.  My personal experience led to my business championing the Secretarial/Personal Assistant profession through membership, career advice, academic research and management training. I acknowledge Danielle’s courage in taking the entrepreneurial route and with guidance and support I am sure she will succeed. Danielle’s business ‘All Kinds of Murals’ painting children’s walls with cartoon characters is an example of the creativity of women!

Danielle is using the National Enterprise Allowance Scheme and is supported for up to 26 weeks, initially 13 weeks at £65 per week and then another 13 weeks at £33 per week.  In my view it’s a ‘tall order’ to expect someone to start a business and turn it around into providing an income in only 26 weeks. Danielle and I discussed her next steps now her website ‘All Kinds of Murals’ is ready and her promotional cards printed. My Top Tips: Business Plan (no more than 2 pages) focused on:

  • Current Situation
  • Full product details and any unique selling point (USP)
  • Who will buy her product?
  • Size of her market
  • Pricing of her murals vs. labour and material costs
  • Analysis of Competitors
  • How many sales in March, April and May?
  • Sales from May to December?
  • Marketing Plan:
    • how many daily/weekly promotions?
    • maintain a record of all calls and contacts

You don’t need a perfect business plan, it’s more about getting out there and doing it!  The business plan is a focus and reminder of goals and gives the confidence and self belief in what you have created. Danielle’s goal is a first sale by end of March by:

  • Follow up warm leads. e.g. painting the wall of the local community centre
  • Handout promotional cards to Mums/Teachers at the school gate
  • Visit local nurseries and place cards on notice boards
  • At car boot sale have a display board
  • Visit baby and toy shops
  • In Easter Holidays organise a local community children’s painting session

Mentors and Coaches can play a valuable role in supporting start up businesses succeed and Danielle has the positive attributes of entrepreneurship, commitment and determination to do well. If every small business had access to a coach or mentor that could make the difference between success and failure. Danielle’s experience will I hope inspire other women, particularly mothers to ‘have a go’ at starting their own business. Rosemary Parr, Founder, Global PA Network www.globalpanetwork.com

This is a guest post from Rosemary Parr who took part in the 'NOISE Young & Jobless' radio documentary series, broadcast over 4 months on BBC 5Live in 2012. The programme followed four unemployed young people as they looked for work, hooking them up with mentors and advice on their journey. For more information about this project, the participants and mentors--See Here--