FUNDING WITHOUT THE FAFF.
I have been invited to speak at the British Small Business Summit this month, which is yet another surprise as I travel through my bread adventure. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that I would be invited to speak about my own small business at such a prestigious event.
While writing (and rewriting and rewriting) my presentation, it got me thinking about the numerous small business owners, particularly in bakery, that I have met along the way. The common factor in all of them is passion. Passion for their beautiful products, passion to make their business work in a way that suits them, and a passion about the people they are baking for. Many are women, who have all started from their own home kitchens while working full time. Gradually the bake days increase, bigger bags of flour are bought, more customers want to enjoy their delicious, handcrafted foods and the full time job role changes. And also the women change. They become confident, proud, more tired but more happy. I love hanging out with my fellow Bread Angels as we understand the issues of running a small business, but we also fire each other up with our enthusiasm, as we talk endlessly about bread.
It’s great that there is now brilliant financial support for growing small businesses out there too. Not a great big, slow bank, but a quick and easy way to get help to grow the passion. I’ve been hearing about Funding Circle (https://www.fundingcircle.com/uk/) for a while now, as it has helped thousands of small businesses take that next big step, be it premises, equipment or staff. Funding Circle is all about people investing in people. Decisions are made quickly, there isn’t lots of form filling, it’s all done online, and so no dressing up to impress suited bank managers!
Michaela at the Arapina Bakery in East London (http://arapina.co.uk) has grown her beautiful bakery business through Funding Circle. She has been able to refurbish her Deptford site, and is now looking to open a second outlet where more people can enjoy her delicious Mediterranean style treats. She is passionate about baking, but also passionate about supporting women in business. So pleased to see Michaela growing her business in what is a male dominated sector! You go girl!
More and more women are pushing business boundaries, but I think we do it differently to men. We look before we leap and we want to get it right before we leap. But when we do leap, we do it well. Really well. Places like Funding Circle also help women. It is not an intimidating way of getting funding and it is quick. What appeals to me most though, is that it is about people who want to invest in your business, because they see the potential in you.
So, my advice for anyone considering starting their own business is to find something you are passionate about, and be the absolute best that you can be. Listen and learn from others all the time, you will never know it all. And eat real bread! Use Flour Power!
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