BOSSING It columnist Karren Brady is here to solve all your burning careers questions.
Today she helps out a woman who wants to start her own baking business now her kids are at school and gives her expertise on getting a pay rise.
I love baking and all my friends and family tell me how good my cakes are. So now my two young children are at school, I’d love to open a small cake business. Where should I start?
Sara, via email
Lots of people start a business from their home and grow it into a big success. Look at Jo Malone, who started making her candles and fragrances in her kitchen. First, be prepared to work hard.
As a small business owner, you will be everything from the marketing person to the product tester.
There are two main things to focus on: costs and sales. In terms of costs, work out how you can reduce the price of everything to produce the biggest margin (profit) for your products, without jeopardising quality.
When it comes to sales, build an effective and clear website. Use lots of pictures of your products, as this is the way you start to build a customer base. Create social media accounts and be personal – people love working with small business owners, so tell everyone your personal story and share it widely.
Know your customer, listen to what they say and what they want and build your products around their needs and demands. Start networking as much as possible, as you’ll learn and pick up ideas from other like-minded people.
Keep financial records as at some point you will need an accountant.
Be resilient and accept you will make mistakes along the way, learn from them and move on. Stay focused, make a plan of what you’re going to have done and by when, and you’ll get there.
I enjoy my office admin job, but at my last performance meeting my manager said that although he was pleased with my work there was no room for progression due to budget cuts. I’m not the most ambitious of people as I have a busy family life outside of work, but it means I won’t get a pay rise. Should I say something?
Jules, via email
Yes, you should definitely say something, as you will only get a pay rise if you ask! One of the biggest career mistakes women make is not negotiating their salary and not knowing their worth.
Men are four times more likely to negotiate the first salary offered to them than women.
So knowing how to ask for more money is important. Talking yourself up to your boss can be intimidating, especially in the current economic climate. However, don’t be too down about your situation.
You have a good job, a good family and a good balance. Write down all the things you have done that mean you deserve a raise. But also be realistic.
You need to show that you’ve gone above and beyond your current role’s responsibilities, and how you are committed to the company and your team. Improving your salary is also about being respected for the job you’re doing.
If your boss won’t agree to a pay rise despite you proving your worth, then you should consider looking for a position elsewhere.
But if you prepare properly for your conversation about an increase in pay, you’ll have a much better chance of getting it.
- Got a careers question you want Karren to answer? Email [email protected].
Compiled by: Claire Frost. Content is intended as general guidance only and does not constitute legal advice.
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