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Business Mentors/Angels/Development Funds - where are they?

(19 Posts)
carocaro Tue 14-Sep-10 12:49:50

I am trying with a capital 'T' to get some work. In this tight climate and after being out of the work zone due to having a family.

I want to do a simple mailshot to around 300-500 companies/people that may or may not want to used my PR consultant skills.

I have done a website and my CV. Researched up to date names and addresses and looked at the PR industry to see what's new, changes etc.

BUT (yes there is always a but!) I need about £500 to pay for two new printer catridges to print my CV; to print 1,000 postcards, business cards and get envelopes. Plus postage and just one smart outfit to wear if I get any takers.

BUT I can't get any cash anywhere. Family or banks etc. DH was redundant last year and we have done car boot and ebay and sold when we have to sell to keep us afloat; we have nothing left to sell.

I have been on to Business Link who gave me a few names of development agencies etc, who are happy to start lending from about 50k upwards!

Does anyone know anywhere that can lend money to people like me who are trying to get off their backside and start earning? I am doing three college course to get up to speed with Word, Excel and Abode which is great and paid for by the G'ovt.

The Gov't almost needs to do a kind of small business loan scheme, along the lines of student loans, that you pay pay when you are earning. There must be several people like me who have skills but can't use them due to lack of funds to just get started.

I don't want to sit here all day whilst DS1 is at school and DS2 is at pre-school doing nothing. I am banging my head with frustration.

Any ideas?

carocaro Tue 14-Sep-10 12:52:32

Also, watching Dragons Den it struck me that most Dragons won't invest unless they think they are going to make a good return, which I totally understand. But does it have to be hundreds of thousands of pounds on top of their investment?

What about people like me who want to work and just make a decent living? And need to start somewhere with something?

belledechocolatefluffybunny Tue 14-Sep-10 12:56:31

Have you tried the princes trust?

carocaro Tue 14-Sep-10 13:28:08

Am too old!! 25 is the max age!!

belledechocolatefluffybunny Tue 14-Sep-10 13:56:48

To be honest, I really don't think you need £500 to get started. There's places where you can print off business cards for really cheap, they do deals on leaflet printing, you could start off small and target more companies if you get further funds. As for a suit, sorry to have to say this but charity shops are super cheap. Could you start to advertise on Twitter/Facebook as this is free?

There's always the overdraft aswell.

carocaro Tue 14-Sep-10 16:34:31

I have gone for a more professional look than say Vista Print, but not gone gold embossed either. Don't want a leaflet, want a postcard, better image and quality.

It costs as much to print a 1,000 postcards as it does to print 300 (1,000 £89 - 500 £69). The more your print the less they start to cost.

And I don't have an overdraft and they won't give me one, I've asked, plus DH has used all his up.

Plus Twiiter and Facebook are too broad, I need to target companies in my local and regional area.

How do you advertise on Twitter and Facebook for free? Do you mean have my own pages?

belledechocolatefluffybunny Tue 14-Sep-10 18:12:40

You can have your own page on Facebook. I think advertising costs though. I know this sounds silly but have you tried the job centre for help with the start up costs?

carocaro Tue 14-Sep-10 21:19:14

Thanks, thought so about Facebook, I can do a page but I need to tell people where to find it - which is the issue!

I did ask the Job centre and they told me about Business Link who told me about the people/companies mentioned above!

MarionCole Tue 14-Sep-10 21:25:54

Possible idea - how about doing an email mailshot rather than a postal one? You could create a nice pdf that you send in an email. Google the companies to try and get email addresses. If you can't get an email address then you could just do trial and error on firstname.surname@company.com / initial.surname@company.com etc etc until one of them gets through. Or you could just accept that some of them won't get through, in the same way that a postcard might not make it past the PA to the intended recipient.

fluffyhamster Tue 14-Sep-10 21:36:56

Don't waste your money on the postcards!

I used to get this kind of stuff every day when I worked as a Marketing Manager/Director, and it honestly went straight in the bin...

I would say NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK

Have you got a LinkedIn profile set up? If not DO IT NOW! (In my experience LinkedIn is the place for business/professional folk to mingle)

Link to everyone you know, & scour their contacts for potential contacts.

Call people and talk to them. Ask them about their PR needs. Offer to meet with them (free) for 30 mins. Never leave a meeting without either a brief/piece of work, or b) some more contacts to talk to.

Is there an 'angle' you can focus on to get you started? Could you run a small online survey in the local area (SUrveymonkey is free) and produce a newsworthy report which you can then use as a door opener?

Can you approach individual companies with a suggestion of how you can help them e.g. I've noticed your XYZ is really good, but not many people seem aware of it - can I talk to you about how I could help?

I also don't think you need the £500.
Good luck.

carocaro Tue 14-Sep-10 23:08:56

Thanks, am going to do linked in, so must get on with it.

Am pitching myself to work in agencies/in-house as I did before, as opposed to doing PR for individual companies.

I did a quick survey of friends still in the business and most said they get tonnes of new business type emails and hardly ever open any PDF type attachments and something like a postcard would be noticed more! I think I will do both.

Great advice!

smokiejo Fri 17-Sep-10 15:43:09

I think the advice that fluffyhamster gave you is incredibly wise and full of great ideas.
I run my own business and have to say I wouldn't generally respond to a flyer from someone for PR.
Another angle you could look at is finding a 'guinea-pig' client, work for them free (them fronting up advertising or print costs for their own company - agree this in advance) and then use them as a success story.
Being in business, the one thing I am always looking for is previous successes and will never employ anyone unless I can talk to a previous client.
All you have to do is give up a bit fo your time and there would be no money involved.

smokiejo Fri 17-Sep-10 15:44:03

Also... I have just joined a Mentoring scheme that is free through my local Business Link (I'm in the North West).

JustBeachy Sat 18-Sep-10 14:59:17

carocaro have you looked at Gumtree? If there are any ads for PR roles you could submit your CV suggesting they use you as a freelance instead of recruiting someone? It's worked for me, give it a go!

BirdFromDaNorf Sat 25-Sep-10 21:50:25

Have you got a CV? Want to do some work? Are you happy to white label? If you are email me at liz AT westoncommunications DOT org DOT uk

Even if I can't put any work you way directly, I may be able to help you raise your profile.

carocaro Sun 10-Oct-10 11:44:03

Hey all, I've started with your suggestions.

website - www.carolinehowarthpr.com

Started my LinkedIn page

PDF - sent email shot to over ot 20 people and one interview next week!

Starting to do some free work for local charity and new business start up.

Got a Business Link meeting next week.

So a HUGE HUGE thank you for your advice and support and ideas.

BRILLIANT.

sausagerolemodel Thu 06-Jan-11 12:09:47

Well done! As someone also setting up their own business and finding it tough its great to see people's suggestions bearing fruit!

Helenagrace Tue 11-Jan-11 14:56:33

Ask your Business Link person if they do something called LEAD. I'm in the Northwest and they run it at various locations here for business start ups and people who want to expand their companies. It's amazing and I can't recommend it enough. I started LEAD running two companies and now have a third and soon to be fourth.

Message me if you'd like more info.

Novascotia33 Tue 11-Jan-11 19:58:58

I know you said that you could set up a facebook page for your business, 'but you need to let people know it's there' ...Well I think that if you set one up, and get some interesting content on there (maybe what's new in PR, marketing etc.) something small and digestible on a daily basis. Invite all or as many of your facebook friends to join your facebook business page, you might get somebody, who knows somebody who's looking for PR. It's digital word of mouth, and it is free advertising of sorts. It's free to do anyway. I have one and I'm in a very different business to you, but it's definitely worth while.

This was the little 'how to' I used to set up mine. It's not rocket science but it does matter that you do it right. http://mashable.com/2009/09/22/facebook-pages-guid e/

Also I found my PR lady through peopleperhour.com, maybe you can sign up with them?

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