Small Business Saturday is always a busy time of the year for small and growing businesses. However, this year I focused on markets and the opportunities they present for small and growing businesses today.
Over the past few year, popups and boutique markets are part of the lexicon we use for the opportunities ‘market’ type events provide small and growing businesses today!
But the question is; how beneficial are ‘markets’ in today’s economy?
This year I visited Greenwich WinterTime Festival – a month-long outdoor event at Greenwich Royal Old Naval College Within the festival there are pods for small and growing businesses to sell and promote their business.
The business owners opt to trade over the entire event or are provided with flexible options over the course of the month.
As this is a new festival, with no track record, the emphasis has been focused on bringing quality and exclusive businesses on board with a strong business identity online. Whether they have high street presence or utilse online portals like ETSY, the aim is to bring the online experience to real life, as well as to provide fans and soon to fan the opportunity to sample, touch and feel these bespoke products.
After the first few days of trading, many of the businesses felt that they made back their money they spent on their pods – which is great. However, one observation is that many of these businesses see markets and pop-ups as supplementary revenue-generating opportunities and not a main source of income.
The businesses that go down this route also see this as part of their marketing and promotion.
The correct markets, pop-ups, and festivals allow many small businesses to test and receive customer feedback.
Sorry, I have been missing in action, but lack of organisation and in some instances – focus; meant that I neglected this little world I had created, to share all things I love.
However, I am back and aim to stay consistent. Look out for a new post every Wednesday and Sunday.
This post is dedicated to all of those people who feel marginalised or unheard. Please be persistent.
I read an article in the Guardian about a blind entrepreneur – Disability is uncomfortable she never saw her self as disabled, until the world pointed it out to her.
However, the world’s discomfort has made her a teacher to us all. She is teaching us how we can include people with disabilities in our workforce.
I had two conversations yesterday about what is ‘normal’? On whose metrics are we measuring ‘normality’?
We are in exciting times and we need to embrace the changes that lay ahead. So ask questions? Investigate the views of others? It may not be correct based on your standards, but it will allow you to gain a perspective of the other person’s viewpoint.
I remember reading an article or hearing an interview about war-torn Syria, and in the article, a young woman described how life goes on even during a war. Now, it never occurred to me about the practical logistics of the people who are indirectly affected by a serious crisis.
The reality; there are many businesses, lives, and events that continue outside of the main crisis, although they live and exist within direct contact of the situation. These individuals sit in a position of having to walk the fine line of remaining focused on their personal endeavors at the same time responding to the needs of victims.
This post is inspired by the fire at Grenfell Towers, West London, where one of the key issues of discontent and anger is the social and economic divides. Now as I write this post we are in the throngs of the emotion of victims, families and the local community.
People are responding in mass making contributions, donating money, time and resources. Giving a caring hug and a listening ear.
However, my questions are, what happens beyond the current impact?
What is happening to the local business who may have employed and supported local people?
Will they survive?
Will there be jobs for people to go back to?
What happens to the employees who may lose their jobs or will not be paid due to their absence?
What happens to people on zero hours contracts?
What happens in the future, when these victims (direct & indirect) are seeking employment, will their connections to this event, place them in a marginalised position.
One of the issues I am concerned about is what happens when the eyes of the public have shifted to something else. (Similar to parents with a new child, life really begins after everyone has left, the home after the initial excitement).
The same is true of trauma and a crisis. In the midst of the incident, people can become very motivated to provide solutions. However, what happen months, and years later. How are we treating and managing those people?
I think people forget, that life is made of those seconds and not just of those big moments.
So, I am thinking about what happens after the fact?
How can businesses show compassion?
What can I do to help build sustainable businesses?
How can the small businesses of today be the compassionate multi-national employers of tomorrow?
I am sad that a crisis has to bring about the neccessity for compassion in business.
My name is Nicola and this is my blog. I write about things I love and consider important.
I was recently interviewed on International Women’s Day about women in business. During the interview, the host asked, “Why should we care about your business?” I answered honestly and from the heart. However, the question got me thinking about my clients and other businesses. Why should we care about your business? Why should people pay attention to you?
This question was further compounded by an interview I watched, with a physicist, who is pioneering groundbreaking cancer treatment using lasers that leaves little or no side effects. Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green shares what inspired her research and what is needed to take it to the next level. What struck me was her persistence of asking this simple question WHY NOT?
In this world of so much noise and ‘look at me’, the question to ask yourself is Why?
Why should someone care about your business?
Why should we not be able to find a more effective cure for cancer?
Why can’t more women receive funding for their business?
I believe in the answer you find the heart of your goal.
My personal final thought?
I just want to challenge you to ask yourself, WHY you do what you do? In the answer lies the truth of who you are and your purpose.
Natasha Puri is a student studying Global Public Health and Social Entrepreneurship at New York University. Natasha has been an active youth advocate, promoting public health prevention efforts and health policy. Most notably, she is working on a mobile app with other students called, emp(a)t(h)y, an innovation to combat mental health around the world. On January 31st Natasha presented her vision on how to combat mental health at the Youth Marketplace on Social Innovations for Health & Wellbeing event hosted at the United Nations by Every Women Every Child in partnership with the Office of the President of the General Assembly supported by the SDG Media Zone.
What is the inspiration behind your business and organisation? As college students in New York City, we have seen at first-hand the prevalence of mental health. Although resources are available for mental health, there are so many barriers that prevent youth from seeking them. In fact, many find them unhelpful as youth often seek for understanding, or empathy. After conducting numerous interviews, we were inspired by the ability for an individual to transform someone else’s life – through meaningful discussion and peer-to-peer connection. Humans have the ability to feel, understand, and relate – a certain consciousness that technology does not have.
What are the key foundations of your business? Empathy serves to provide the human-to-human connection that is most beneficial when confronting adversity. We understand the value of empathy, and its ability to connect people on the basis of shared experiences. Our goal is to combat mental health by humanizing healthcare.
How has your business grown since you first launched? Our business is currently in the preliminary phase. Six months in, we’ve developed a scalable and sustainable business model that is fit for a global platform. We initially targeted college campus where students felt a gap in mental health resources. After receiving positive feedback, we thought why not take our local initiative to a global platform? We were operating in an environment that already had resources available and thus decided to take this innovation to locations where resources were little to none
What have been your biggest struggles since launching? Given the gravity of mental health and the consequences, we want to ensure the app is a safe space where individuals can trust one another. In addition, as we are trying to implement the model in different places, we need to adjust it to fit the respective market. This includes being aware of cultural and social norms.
What have been your greatest achievements? Youth have truly begun to value our idea and mission – this is a huge achievement. Through our research and marketing efforts, we are developing a strong foundation of individuals who can not only use the app, but also benefit from it. Such support is integral to our innovation and its model.
What differentiates you from your competitors? We are not a mental health intervention or treatment, but rather a social innovation that provide an alternate outlet for individuals who are experiencing adversities. Our idea of empathy – shared experiences – rather than sympathy is what differentiates us. We are removing the stigma surrounding mental health, and providing an anonymous space for discussion.
How would you encourage someone who wants to use your service? This service is a great way to engage with someone who has gone through a similar experience! Whether it is anxiety due to a bad boss, or dealing with the loss of a friend – there are some situations that warrant an understanding. Perhaps another individual can give advice that is helpful or some reassurance, which certainly goes along way. Moreover, you have the opportunity to help someone else! For example, parents of children who are battling cancer and wish to share support, advice, and encouragement.
What are your goals for your business over the next few years? We want to expand our user base and target schools starting in the United States and India. Having these two environments to pilot our app will surely be advantageous to our scalable model. Overall, we want to decrease the burden of mental health illnesses and work towards Sustainable Development Goal #3 – “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being.”
What is your message to the reader? You are not alone! No feeling or experience is too small or too big to overcome. Mental health needs to be a discussion, and please be part of it. We need your voice, your experiences – you never know whom you can help.
Natasha, I am so inspired by the care and love you have for those suffering from mental health. I believe that in a society where empathy can be lacking, it is heartwarming to know, that innovations like yours, created within the mainstream entrepreneurial environment, places people at the CENTRE.
Thank you for sharing your story and please keep us updated on your progress.
Arapina is a Healthy Lifestyle Bakery, with roots in reinvented Mediterranean recipes, offering delicious and guilt free products for a sophisticated clientele. We’ve mixed things up to create a range of delicious desserts that not only taste great but support today’s healthy lifestyles and dietary intolerances. We make decadent cakes and desserts from the best natural ingredients so you can enjoy scrumptious guilt free treats.
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When I started my business I started with great dreams and aspirations for building an amazing client base, of people who wanted to build the next big brands. However, as a business woman with no experience of running a company, you have to figure out the pieces as you go along.
This post is specifically for the women and men, who cannot see the woods, from the trees as they grow their business.
Keep trying. Keep persisting. Keep Keeping on!
However, I want to share a few tips to help you through those long nights and sometimes even longer days.
Stay focused and believe. I have read stories about women who have lifted burning cars to save their children. That should be you. Focus your energy, stay focused and keep moving forward with purpose. Because that business you are building can become the saving gift for future generations.
Connect with your audience. Study and understand the people you are communicating with. Connect with them and let them know why you are happy to serve them.
Take risks. Success does not come easy. Be ready to fail. However, be ready to shine as bright as the stars. Someone said to me the other day, “there is no guarantee that working with Influencers would work” (we were talking about Vlogging). My response was, “you are correct. But you definitely guarantee that it won’t work if you don’t try.
I seriously dislike fear, especially when other people use it as an excuse for why they are stuck.
I ask you to; Keep trying. Keep persisting. Keep Keeping on!
My personal final thought
I have this vision. It is a something that I am looking forward to doing.
I am looking for an Influencer that wants someone to believe in them and the work they do.
I am looking to sharing the surprises.
My name is Nicola and this is my blog.
If you want to pledge your support to my blog, just because you like the content or it helps you, please do so on Pledges of Support
So the cat is out of the bag. Donald Trump meant what he said when he stated he would ban and limit Muslims entering the USA.
Over the weekend of 28th January 2017, Muslim travellers returning home or travelling to the USA, were detained at JFK airport. Now as an independent world citizen, who has not researched this story fully, I cannot verify the facts of the detentions.
However, what I do want to discuss in this post, is the response to the news of these detentions.
United We Stand
Social media and the news has been overwhelmed with; pictures, live-streams, and tweets about the numbers of people who have come together to protest against the new policy imposed on many Muslim people at JFK airport.
People of all races, denominations, genders and persuasions, are gathered at JFK airport in solidarity for these individuals who have been detained and against the ban imposed on a number of Muslim nations.
Now, besides the millions of people whose voices are never heard, because of the indiscriminate actions being taken by Trump, there are people of power who are also being impacted by this policy.
Conservative, British MP Nadhim Zahawi, born in Bagdad, Iraq but is a British National (so has dual nationality), has been restricted access to USA due to his origins, despite having a valid 10 years visa to travel to the States. However, what I found interesting was Nadhim’s perspective.
During an interview on the Andrew Marr show, Andrew Marr asked him
“How does it make you feel that Donald Trump does not want you in America now?”
Nadhim’s response was telling. The realisation that his privilege and money did not mean anything in the face of hatred and stereotyping. He responded;
Huh, gosh I don’t think I have felt discriminated against probably since little school, where kids are very cruel … as a young boy coming from Iraq or Kurdish origin. For the first time in my life last night I felt discriminated against, it’s demeaning, it’s sad…..
he continues about hs son having a life-threatening illness in the recent past whilst studying at Princeton College in the USA and the impact of that if it had happened today.
Does Nadhim Zahawi deserve this?
What strikes me about this particular case is that Nadhim’s one-day situation is the reality of so many people, every single day. However, it is only when it impacts the privileged few, that in their opinion we must all come together. I am extremely happy that Trump’s policy has ‘woken’ people up to the reality of humanity. His policies are discriminatory, in-discriminatorily. Trump is equal opportunities of hate, and as a consequence, I believe that his policies are working to bring people together.
“Nadhim, I literally feel your pain.” As a black woman and a mother of sons, your connection to this situation has brought to bear on your shoulders the reality of so many people on a daily basis, whether you have acknowledged it or not. I only hope that when your situation is resolved (and it will be), that you remember the unfairness of the hatred shown by Trump and that you and all other people in power who are impacted, will continue to fight for the fair treatment and equal opportunities of all humanity.
It is not Trump’s fault that his policies are negative towards humanity. No. He is a businessman and he saw a ‘GAP IN THE MARKET‘ and exploited it. Simple. We have to stop being consumers of his. It is only then will his light diminish. He is interested in the money he can make, his bottom line and power. We must stop being consumers of Trumps. Stop fighting each other, start building our communities to help and support each other.
I for one, do not have to see what Trump does next to know that we have to stand together to build our communities.
Each Sunday, I aim to share ‘undiscovered‘ poems. And like the explorer Christopher Columbus, share my discoveries with you.
This Sunday, in this month of self-discovery, I share with you “As I began to love myself‘. This poem I discovered through a client, colleague, and friend. I fell in love with the poem immediately. However, what was personally interesting to me, was my thought process about why Sam shared this poem with me?
I was flattered and honored that this poem caused her to think of me. It confirms to me that I am living my truth and I am communicating it unapologetically to the world.
So as you travel along your road of self-discovery, I hope you enjoy the poem and fall in love with your journey of loving yourself too!
AS I BEGAN TO LOVE MYSELF
As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today, I know, this is “AUTHENTICITY”.
As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody if I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this person was me. Today I call it “RESPECT”.
As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life, and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow. Today I call it “MATURITY”.
As I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance, I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens at the exactly right moment. So I could be calm. Today I call it “SELF-CONFIDENCE”.
As I began to love myself I quit stealing my own time, and I stopped designing huge projects for the future. Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm. Today I call it “SIMPLICITY”.
As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism. Today I know it is “LOVE OF ONESELF”.
As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right, and ever since I was wrong less of the time. Today I discovered that is “MODESTY”.
As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worrying about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where everything is happening. Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it “FULFILLMENT”.
As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me and it can make me sick. But as I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally. Today I call this connection “WISDOM OF THE HEART”.
We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems with ourselves or others. Even stars collide, and out of their crashing new worlds are born. Today I know “THAT IS LIFE”!