What challenges have you encountered on your journey and how have you overcome them? Is this a common challenge in your industry? How can we tackle it?

Nikita Ladwa

Founder of The Naked Laundry

In a world where Miss guided, Pretty Little Thing and Boohoo is dominating, it is difficult to tell your customers through a screen on why fast fashion is detrimental to not only the environment but the economy. We hear it on the news, we hear it on the radio and we certainly hear it on social media, huge businesses like the above are the few reasons small-medium brands will struggle to reach potential customers. However, a way we are tackling this is getting to know our customer deep down. We ask our customers feedback, we let them know our thoughts, provide sneak peeks before products are launching and always let them know how much of a difference they are making with their purchase. You can have a customer buying one product and forming an opinion, but it is important that this exact customer is truly happy with their purchase and they feel comfortable to approach the brand again.

Shazia Mustafa

Founder of Third Door

I think setting up a new business that no one had heard of, in a world where co-working wasn’t even a thing, with a very young family has been my biggest challenge.

Not many, to be very honest, the only challenge that I currently face is that I am required to manage a lot of things at such a young age. I attend my school for acquiring a formal education. Plus, I am also undergoing a parallel education too. I am strict regarding time management to tackle this problem.

Tatjana Apukhtina

Co-Founder of TeaPro

My most recent challenge is probably similar to people who, like me, have worked too long as a "lone-wolf" freelancer. I'm so used to doing everything by myself, that when I started working on teapro with my partner Tom (who has worked in a corporate world his whole life), we were not on the same page at all. I was annoyed at him that he wasn't being proactive and he was annoyed at me that I wasn't communicating or working as a team.

One day we decided that this issue could no longer be ignored. We sat down and decided to incorporate AGILE methodology in our weekly workflow. We set up a Trello board (highly recommend it!) with the weekly tasks and goals and gave ourselves roles. I became the product owner (the person who decides on tasks and priorities) and Tom the scrum master (the person who organises the team). We would distribute the tasks amongst ourselves and have daily stand-ups in order to keep up with each other's progress.

I learned this process from Tom and it helped me and our business tremendously. If you're setting up a business and have a small team, I highly recommend you look into Agile methodology!

Laila Datoo

Founder of a.life.more.mindful

In event management I encountered the challenge of being taken seriously in a mainly male environment where event logistics is seen as an admin role. It's the heart of an event and it took me 15+ years to establish a serious career and reputation as an operational expert.

Now working in well-being my biggest challenge is helping companies to see that if they don't look after their people, their business will directly suffer. As it's not an easily measurable ROI, well-being is not well understood or misunderstood and seen as fluffy.

The more people who talk about their well-being challenges and the more employees who demand better well-being cultural practices from their employers, the more we will see a change from within.

Rani Malik

Co-Founder of Venue 5 and Social Dhaba

I have faced racism bullying, criticism that women should be In the kitchen and not on a stage. I overcame them by self assessing my own strengths and weaknesses, then made a lot of changes within.As an asian entrepreneur it can be very intimidating amongst successful men.To tackle these situations you just have to believe in yourself if you do not then how will the world

Teresa Faley

Founder of Letterbox Brownies

The main challenge I have faced with Letterbox Brownies has been perfecting the packaging - it is still a work in progress! It's come a long way from the first prototype, but for me there are still some points that could be better that I am working on.

Product packaging is a key area for the gift industry, and it's important to find your USP and make sure your packaging stands out from the crowd.

Sarah Asgaraly

Founder of Beyond Sarah

The challenges I have encountered is mainly to believe in myself. There were times when I have doubted myself and as a woman and a perfectionist, I am sometimes overly critical with myself. I have overcome them by being surrounded by friends who believe in you.

Emily Jacometti

Co-Founder of Flavour Gamification

A journey to success is never a straight line, it has its ups and downs and along the way we lost some of our companions, some to stress, lack of faith in what we were trying to accomplish and some even to the call of dollars elsewhere.

I found that the people that are still here truly believe in the positive impact, (the children that can navigate the internet more safely because of something we have taught them, for example.)

The biggest challenge for me has been to find the motivation to get up every day, be with people and head a company on its travel while never seeing myself represented. Not in boardrooms, not in IT, not in trying to find capital and not in the Games industry. No young women in positions of power, no women of colour, no young mothers, no women at all.

Over the last decade, I've seen small changes, especially in-house. I see more diversity, more inclusiveness, more representation. But when I venture out into the real world, the change comes too slow.

Fei Yao

Co-Founder of NewCampus

Female entrepreneurs are particularly susceptible to imposter syndrome. Women need to see more diversity in leaders, beyond female representation but cognitive diversity too. Women who will support and mentor, and share goals and challenges with them, and truly feel relatable beyond just gender.

Praneeja Roy

Founder of Roy Events

There have been a few challenges in my journey so far with simple issues like time management to bigger issues of trust and credibility of the company. Within the wedding and event planning business, trust is big element. Clients trust you with their biggest day and they would want to go with someone who they believe in completely. Over the years have found the best way to tackle this is by being honest. It is the best way to overcome it as once you get in front of your ideal clients, that’s when the business will come to you.

Shabari Saha

Founder of the London Vegan Business Network

It hasn’t been a smooth ride at all. A lot of the challenges in running your own business are not taught at university. One of the biggest challenges has been people not valuing what I am offering, or not thinking that I have overheads just like any other business, and asking for discounts and freebies. I try to tackle this by having a no discount policy sign when I am doing events.

There is also the challenge of juggling all the different tasks that need to be done; finding, booking and preparing for events; social media content; marketing, promoting and selling; admin and accounts; recruiting, supporting and mentoring team members. One thing I haven’t tried yet, which should make things easier, is email marketing and sending out regular newsletters.

In regard to doing events, initially the challenge was getting people to try the products, as it was an unknown brand. However, now that the brand is bigger, the challenge is for people to buy from me and not from another distributor or from Head Office.

Since I started the business, a lot of people thought that it’s a pyramid scheme, and it’s been a challenge to convince them to try the products because of that reason. It is a common challenge in the industry. However, most companies are pyramid shaped in that there is a CEO at the top, then a few directors underneath, then a number of managers under them, and lastly mostly employees on the first rung of the ladder. The way that it can be tackled in the industry I am in is to have a fairer system, where it’s not just the executives that get given leads by Head Office. It would also be better if rewards were given in terms of longevity and other achievements, not just on sales and recruitment.

Carly Thompsett

Founder of Anaphase Store

I left school at 15 with some GCSE’s but being dyslexic I was told I probably wouldn’t mount too much anyway so why bother. I got a job and I started at College for 3 years, which I did both full-time. I did hair and beauty for the first year and art and design for the last two. I wanted to become a fashion designer that was my calling in life, my room was always piled high with art books and designs, I was always making things and I just never knew what to do with them. I did all this while I became a manager at my job.

I continued working for a total of 6 years but I started to lose interest; so left to change my career. From that moment on I never really stuck to a job, I bounced around every 6 months to a new job.

I eventually became a mobile carer for the elderly, which I did kind of enjoy because I was always on the move and not stuck in the same place. I then lost my grandad and felt I needed to live my life, so I quit my job, packed my things and I moved up here to Cardiff in 2013.

I met one of my friends soon after moving here and we did talk about my business ideas but I didn’t know where or how to go about it, we had completely different businesses so he could only help me so far. So I carried on with my day job, until one day I woke up and really wanted to pursue my dream. I bit the bullet and quit my job, I thought if I wont do it now I wont ever do it, so googled how to start a business, and one of the first results that popped up was The Princes Trust, so I called in and explained I wanted to start a business and asked if they could help me.

They explained they had a course called the Enterprise programme that I could go on and that’ll get me started. So I accepted, what did I have to lose?

I wasn’t expecting much from the course, but was pleasantly taken a back and surprised at how much information I didn’t know I needed to know to run a business; and the depth of the course was amazing. I came out with a new lease of life and excitement for my new journey. I worked with Gemma to do my business plan and had weekly meet ups to go through all my information to make sure I had everything I needed before I went to launch group – I passed which is like dragons den and so scary. My adventure began and Anaphase Clothing was born.

I was given a mentor for 2 years to help me all the way with any problems and advice and I have networked a lot doing their courses. For the few years, The Princes Trust Cymru have held a pop up shop in St David’s 2 on Mothers Day weekend, which I have attended for 3 years and speaking to people that have been through the same journey really helped me.

My business was slow to start off with which did dishearten me a little, especially as I thought I’d be a millionaire by the first month. But I wasn’t ready to give up so I got a full time job to help with the costs and kept my business going on the side; it has picked up a lot and has been a bumpy ride but I still see potential in myself.

The trust were always there for me for what ever I needed willing to put me in contact with other mentors who would help me if mine couldn’t.

Last year I changed the business name to Anaphase Store as I wasn’t just selling clothing now so it made sense to have store to cover the ranges I have. I have developed an online following on my social media accounts, I have my website that gets a lot of attention, I am verified on Facebook, The Tomorrow store that is run by The Prince’s Trust also stocks my items on their online platform.

I have also collaborated with 4 other businesses that went through the enterprise programme and currently have a fully funded office in Caerphilly thanks to the welsh government. I have been growing my brand to attract all different types of customers so I can create a bigger collection.

I was a young ambassador for The Princes Trust, so I would attend events and do speeches on how the trust has helped me; I am now a volunteer and business mentor.

Along the way I have met Paul Mercer, he used to play for Portsmouth Football team, which my dad is a huge fan of, I asked him for an autograph which he was okay about until the whole room saw, rushed over and formed a line. He was stuck there for about 30 minutes, not sure if I left as his friend, also Dan Bigger and Kelly Hoppen. Kelly loved my ˜Don’t touch my hair sweatshirts and posted it on her Instagram along with Giovanna Fletcher who posted one of my candles on her Instagram story, which in turn sent a lot of people my way.

I have done an interview on BBC radio wales along with Radio Cardiff, Heat, Kiss, Kerrang, Planet Rock and Magic. I met prince Charles who laughed at my don’t touch my hair jumper and told me he loves eBay, at the same event I met Luke Evans, who was really nice and was tweeting about some ambassadors during the morning. My business has also been shortlisted for 5 different business awards, we’ve won 3 of them in one day and one of the awards being the enterprise award with the Princes trust awards, we became a multi award winning business all in one day. I was also invited by Buckingham Palace to attend Prince Charles 70th Birthday Celebrations, I was listed as one of the 35 under 35 top business woman in wales 2018, I have been mentioned in 63 new papers and magazines articles through my journey and its lovely to hear that people still find me just as inspiring, I now also have 2 paid staff members, 3 interns and 8 reps around the country working for Anaphase Store – I feel extremely lucky to have achieved what I have in such a small time.

Priya Shah

Founder of BAME in Property

Starting a social enterprise/forum can be difficult in the beginning as you’re relying on sponsorship and funding for something people haven’t yet seen. Your passion and drive is what you are relying on to secure that sponsorship and admittedly this was tough – companies were not always prepared to get involved. After a few events, the sponsorship has been coming a lot easier because the industry has seen what can be achieved and diversity and inclusion are coming to the forefront of the agenda.

With the actual purpose of the forum, I think in the beginning there was some naivety to the extent of how uniform the industry is and many companies are still questioning the value of diversity. It’s not necessarily a challenge to overcome but it’s important for companies and individuals to come on this journey with us and be open to asking questions and understanding the benefits of a more diverse workforce.

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