My intention is to start work as a Sole-trader from a very busy Market in Covent Garden West London. To enable me to begin trading I am seeking funding of £4000.
In the past I have learnt that one of the main reasons for the failure of a lot of small businesses is either not having the right product, or choosing the wrong location and/or a lack of awareness of what being self employed involves. I have experienced both pro’s and con’s of self employment and understand fully the required motivation, dedication, hard work and determination needed in order to succeed.
Unfortunately due to personal problems my last small business venture failed, to the extent that ultimately I ended up homeless. In a ‘nutshell’, my ex-partner (who is Spanish) and daughter left London to return to Spain after a breakdown in the relationship, something I emotionally struggled to cope and come to terms with. I am however, back on my feet now and very eager to re-start a small business selling hand puppets again if I am able to achieve the funding.
Turning now to how all donated funds will be used and in particular the appeal and many benefits a product such as hand puppets bring and offer to the life of a child.
I would describe Hand Puppets as a fun extension of pretend play that children, especially young children, readily engage with. With a little adult encouragement, hand puppets can help children develop many different important learning skills. For example:
Communication and Social Skills
- Development of speaking and listening skills.
- Communication skills (e.g. children will feel more at ease interacting with a puppet especially in expression of ideas and/or feelings).
- Puppets enable and allow shy children to engage with others through the different type roles taken on.
- The many different types of puppet help to broaden a child’s personality.
- Scary animal hand puppets like lions and sharks and/or shy ones such as a tortoise help a child to master and overcome any uncomfortable feelings
- Puppet play provides an environment for a child where it is safe to act out and gain control over any fears and frustrations.
- Hand Puppets help young children to develop creatively through use of their imaginations.
- Through imaginative play children learn to separate fantasy from reality.
- Reality of the real world is more apparent to a child presented with the opportunity to pretend.
With previous knowledge and experience of selling hand puppets, personal confidence in my business proving a success is high. In short the all year round sales efficacy of this product has already been ‘tried and tested’..
As for location the company will initially operate from Apple and/or Jubilee Market Covent Garden, West- London with future plans for expansion to operate at Old Spitalfields Market, East-London.
The company’s short-term growth objective/s (i.e. first 12 months) will be to break even; work hard at customer relations and increase/diversify lines of stock.
The company’s medium term growth objective/s (i.e. within 2 years of trading) include expansion through operation of additional stall/s and employment of additional staff.
The company’s long-term objective (i.e. within 3-5 years) is to progress into proper retail outlets and away from operating market-stalls.
Relevant work experience in this particular field include:
1. 2 years operating a market-stall from Old Spitalfields Market, East London, selling hand puppets and wooden toys.
2. 6 years operating an isolated market-stall pitch on Villiers Street, Charing Cross Train Station West London, selling t-shirts, sunglasses, souvenirs, gloves, scarves and hats.
1. Batchelor of Laws (LLB) Honours via Open University.
2. Diploma in English Law via the Open University.
3. Certificate of Higher Education in Legal Studies via the Open University.
4. ‘A’ Level Business Studies via OCR.
5. City & Guilds In Employability Skills
6. City & Guilds In Commercial Numeracy.
Once funding is in place set-up/implementation of my business plan will take no longer than 2-3 weeks.
The company’s target market is local residents, West-end commuters/visitors, national/international Tourists.
The hand puppets will be sourced from a highly reputable brand called the Puppet Company, which is UK based.
Given that the products will initially be sold from a Market-stall rather than from a retail outlet provides the company with a competitive edge as regards cost/price comparison with direct-competitors.
Puppet Company products are on sale in most high-end department/toys stores (e.g. Harrods, Hamleys and John Lewis).
All hand puppets will be displayed on spinner stands; hanging s-hook’s , side-tables and main stall table/s. Stock, surplus or otherwise will be kept in local overnight storage.
I recognise the importance of accepting card payments and how without this type of payment method the day to day running costs of my business will be at risk. Customers will assume that purchases can be paid for by card and if unavailable, valuable sales the company can I’ll-afford to lose will be lost. Therefore, a card payment alternative will be made available for customers. Providing this alternative means of payment also gives the company a more professional appearance.
Sole Trader Public Liability Insurance will be covered by National Market Traders Federation.