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Sarah Parham Queen of Rings SVP Jewellery

How I changed career in my mid-forties. Part two.

By SVP

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How I went from a simple idea to setting up my company – SVP Jewellery.

For those that want to know how I found ‘my thing’ the idea behind SVP please pop over and read Part 1 here

After many years of trying out different ideas I finally had an idea that I believed in. This I felt really could be the beginning of my new adventure.

How to get money for nothing.

That was my first google search, not joking! I now had an idea but no money to make it happen and I also didn’t know how to set up a business. My search ended up being really fruitful. At the time the Government was running a scheme that assigned a business mentor to an entrepreneur. It was called the Accelerator scheme.

With nothing to lose and everything to gain, I applied.  Two days later an email popped up saying I was to be interviewed. I can remember thinking, who is going to give me money? I only had a rough plan of the idea, how I wanted the business to be and a sort of idea on how to get there – no detail at all, no figures, no margins, no cost plan, no range plan and not much of anything really.

Passion can get you places.

I did however, have energy, passion and I believed in my idea – rings that could fit everyone. I knew I didn’t want to create the rings myself, I knew I wanted a supply chain and I knew I needed to sell in volume if I was to pay myself, give other people opportunities and I also knew I wanted to grow a kind generous brand.

I sat down and thought about what I needed help with, how I wanted to build the company and most importantly what was the idea in 6 words so I could articulate it to people quickly.

The interview.

Nervous, scared and a little apprehensive – I was all of those things. I had two people visit me at home and as soon as I started to talk, my idea started to come to life. The could see how determined I was, and honest – I feely admitted I had everything to learn and this is why I needed their help to get there. It’s a shame to let a good idea go to waste, right?

A day of strategy.

I got a yes – I was now onto the next stage of getting some funding for a business mentor. The day was great, I has run and ben at these kind of days before when I worked in advertising so I felt comfortable, but, I found it so much harder with SVP than when I did for other clients in my old career. When it’s your business, it’s very difficult to get a helicopter view of your company and vision.

We did everything from stress testing the idea of adjustable rings to SWOT analysis and a strategy for the next stage, as well as rough numbers so I could see what I needed to do to get to build the business. It was great being in a room with other people all building their ‘thing’ from all different backgrounds. Many who were starting from scratch or diversifying in their 40’s – it was nice to know I wasn’t alone.

I treated it as kind as if I was going back to college to start again.

Hello, new start.

A week later I received a formal letter through the post saying I had been accepted. I was able to choose a business mentor, we were given around 5 to choose from. I chose Si Conroy who runs Scarlett Monday

This was the first part of a major change in my business and my life. Si and I worked together for over a year, when my Accelerator Scheme came to an end I applied successfully for match funding. I learnt everything for SKU codes and how they are constructed to margins, cashflows, strategy, 100 day plans, you name it, I sped learnt everything so I could start to understand how the business could work.

The work with Si was invaluable and took me to the next stage of my business.

Scarlett Monday’s Mission.

Scarlet’s mission is to make people in business more successful leaders by making management consultancy, coaching and mentoring understandable/safe/open and accessible to them. There is too much fear of what it is, how much it costs and what you get for it. Scarlet exists because of a belief that most leaders can be brilliant – they just don’t know how. We use a proven framework and a careful blend of traditional and non-traditional methodologies to deliver results as quickly as possible.

Keep it simple.

I always think every idea should be straight forward and simple. It helps keep you on track. When setting up a business it is easy to get overwhelmed and sidetracked with lots of other ideas and feeling like you are drowning which makes you feel paralysed and then nothing gets done or achieved. Have an end goal – do you want to sell our company? Is our company more of a hobby? Do you want to be a D to C brand (direct to consumer) or do you want to only wholesale or a mix of both? When your end plan is sorted, you need a year plan so you have something easier to work towards, I have year turnover goal and each month I want to exceed what the business earnt the month before. I also want to ensure we have the best service in the industry, not just with customers but with our suppliers too. I create a plan for how from a service and sales point of view.

Know your brand in six words.

In order to keep everything simple you need to distill your business idea down into 5 or 6 words, this should be your elevator lift or your positing or strap line, those words sum up our point of difference in the marketplace – these 5 or 6 words can take weeks to crack. The words will keep you on track and ensure you keep things simple.

The six words for SVP Jewellery are:

Adjustable rings that fit every finger.

It says exactly what we do and what the SVP Jewellery point of difference is. It keeps us on track and ensures we keep things simple.

Don’t believe everything everyone tells you.

When I first started out I gathered tons of information from as many places as I could, I read books to help build my knowledge and I started to network. I had so much advice I felt overwhelmed – I stopped, went back to my 6 words and looked at my overall vision and then decided what I was going to do an achieve in that next week. Slowly the business was starting to form.

Don’t follow, lead.

Never worry about what other people are doing or have done. I heard a lot of well, this is how it works in this industry, you won’t get anywhere doing it like that, you don’t know anything, why would you want to change what works? I had everything thrown at me, but I thought just because an industry has always worked in one way it doesn’t have to be my way. I wanted to disrupt the industry and keep inventing, changing and creating new exciting ways of achieving and delivering my adjustable rings.

Shop SVP Jewellery here

Next time – trying to get a supply chain to work my way.

 

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