Zina Mir was our guest speaker this week and her visit attracted an Ilford Recorder photographer! She ahs recently set up Handmade by Zina.
Zina surprised some start-ups by saying that it took her 2 and a half years to find her customers and the right product. The long haul is just about going out there and seeing what people think about your product and taking on the feedback – not taking it personally. And although Zina has found a niche in baby clothes and in running classes, she is always testing and checking whether she needs to change direction.
At the point of finding a product and a customer base, Zina produced a business plan and Volunteer Time bank broker role and profile managed to get a loan from the East London Small business Centre. She could not have managed without this loan and also benefits from a Business Manager.
Start-ups and Zina shared their knowledge of twitter, facebook, pinterest and Linked In. Laptops and tablets were passed round to show each other sites, profiles, pages etc. Someone recommended a website to get basic off-the-peg legal documents for small businesses for a reasonable fee: www,simply-doc.com. And this is how the session went – Zina shared some bits, others chipped in.
Zina ended by saying that her aim is to get a contract with John Lewis and give sessional work to the people she has been training. And if this does not happen, then she wants a community cafe space, and an arty/crafty space…. the community cafe space has come up many times, and it is a dream of mine too!