My Story - Chapter 2 - Making the Plan!
When you have been used to working at a hundred miles an hour in a busy working environment, being at home through the day in silence, was deafening. I was used to company. I decided I needed a dog and that dog has become my best friend - a rescued Lurcher - Sam. He has brainstormed more ideas, listened to my worries and loved unconditionally.
I would sit at my dining room table for hours, researching potential suppliers of fabrics, looking for design inspiration from International Catwalks and trying to get a bank to open an account for me so I could trade. All banks except the Co-op, ignored my desperate cry of help, they offered me a bank account, a massive break through, which would allow me to trade!
The Business Plan.
The financial objectives of Simply Bows and Chair Covers were simple.
- Pay my mortgage
- Put food on the table
- Fund itself
I needed to clear £30,000 profit in my first year to save my house.
I set about writing a business plan on how I wanted the business to run, why I would be better than my competitors etc and I turned to Business Link, who at the time offered grant funding to new business start ups who needed financial help.
During my presentation to them I broke down in tears, quite hysterically if I recall, but I got the grant to pay for a website, to make product samples and towards a van. I’m not sure if that was out of sympathy or belief in my plan!!
This would be the break through I so desperately needed.
Next... Creating the Brand
"Sarah is everything a successful entrepreneur should be, creative, tenacious with a clear vision on how to develop her business. She never ceases to impress me with her energy, attention to detail and most importantly, is always comfortable leading from the front with her hands on management style..."
Nick Holmes - Former MD at Rockliffe Hall, Non Executive Director positions at Gisborough Hall, Swinton Estate and Ramside Hall
"Having set up my business when I was 23, Sarah's advice and experiences in the wedding industry were a vital part in the success of my Simply Bows and Chair Covers franchise. As a franchisor, Sarah has always been on the other end of the phone to help me with my dilemmas and pass on her experience and business advice..."
Joanne Smith - Simply Bows and Chair Covers Lancashire
"Sarah was asked to support the wedding product here. Right from the first meeting she was professional, personable and down to earth. She found out as much information as possible, including attending events to get a feel for our product first hand and give her the best insight..."
Ruairidh Taylor - Hotel Manager, Gisborough Hall Hotel
"I hope our paths cross again before too long because I think you’re a brilliant example to budding doubters like me and a flipping great individual too! Thanks again for the inspiration you are and always be aware that folks like me, who’ve had the good fortune to meet you, are better for it..."
Alan Green - Corporate Photographer
"Sarah is an extremely good listener and will look at projects from all angles and give help and advice from her perspective.
I would have no hesitation in recommending Sarah as a mentor and indeed will be back in touch with her soon with regards to my next business venture..."
"I was so inspired by Sarah’s story, where she had been, what she had endured and the phenomenal success she made Simply Bows and Chair Covers I just knew I had to be a part of this great business model.
I have now been running my franchise for the last 4 years and I love it. Sarah is very supportive, knowledgeable and I know if I need advice she will always be there..."
Adele - Simply Bows & Chair Covers, South Wales
"I joined the team at Simply Bows & Chair Covers Northumberland in 2015, this was a big step for me but Sarah gave me some good advice and lots of support. This was the best move I made and I have not looked back. Thanks to Sarah's guidance and time that she has invested in me, I feel stronger and more confident not only in my work but in life in general..."
Debbie - Simply Bows & Chair Covers, Northumberland