Have you ever watched the TV show, Dragon’s Den? In it, budding entrepreneurs pitch their business plans on camera to leading industrialists in the hope of attracting some financial backing or some mentorship from a successful business leader.
But how hard can it really be? Do you think you have what it takes to be an excellent entrepreneur? You’re an AQUILAnaut, of course you do!
• Make sure that the enterprise you are going to launch will serve a useful purpose and/or meet a need. For example, it’s a summer heatwave and you see people passing your house looking parched. Could you make some ice lollies to sell from your front garden? (Supervised by a responsible grown-up, of course). Or how about creating a Christmas craft stall so people can buy unique gifts for their friends and family?
• Do you need to raise capital first to help finance it? Donated items will improve profit margins. Have you got any spare cash you could invest in your venture; or do you have a generous family member willing to invest? Remember that will probably come at a price!
• When and where will the event be held or, if an on-going sales venture, over what period of time will it run? Some locations may need to be booked in advance. How many people will be involved? How will tasks be allocated and who will be best suited for each job? Who will take part in the decision-making process?
• Will single items be sold or a range of different products? Will items need to be ready-made, will they need producing or will they be donated? If items are ready-made, buying in bulk may prove cheaper.
• The cost of any raw materials that are needed will have to be factored into prices charged and profit margins intended.
• Consider what kind of packaging may be needed, if any, as this will also need to be included in production costs.
• If you need to use packaging, think about how necessary it is and how you could make it as eco-friendly as possible.
• Make the best use possible of locally sourced products.
• Check the labels of any items used that are coming from further afield, especially commodities like coffee, tea, cocoa and fruit. Are Fairtrade systems in operation for these goods so traders are getting the best deal?
• Decide on a marketing strategy. Maximise the power of advertising. Set up a poster campaign and study examples of radio/television advertising for ideas. Or perhaps the grown-ups in your life could help you promote your business safely online?
• If a venue is being used for a one-off event make sure you allow enough time beforehand to set things up professionally. If people are helping, delegate tasks beforehand so things run smoothly.
• Display items being sold in an attractive way. Make them appealing to customers.
• Make sure your products have price labels.
• Decide how transactions will take place. If it’s to be cash only, you’ll need an initial float (a set amount of money in smaller values) so that accurate amounts of change are given. Will some kind of card system operate? Ready reckoners will ease calculations for large buys.
How did your mini enterprise go? Check your profit margins. Did you sell things at a price that was reasonable for your customer but that also gave you a net profit (money left once you have paid for any outgoings – the products, staff, room hire etc)?
Did the amount of effort put into your enterprise prove to be worthwhile? What were the high points of the experience? What did not work well? If the venture is to be repeated, what changes would need to be made?
We would love to hear about your mini enterprise. You can email us via the AQUILAnauts’ page of the AQUILA website!
Did you enjoy this inspiring entrepreneurial activity? Then you’ll absolutely love AQUILA magazine. Click here, to subscribe!
Why not test out your newfound money-making skills by making an eye-catching vendor’s tray which you can find our blog post for here.
Words: John Davis