How to start a business – Mission Statement – Part A – Business Values

How to start a Business

As part of the series of breaking down the business plan, we are going to look at a fundamental part of that plan – your Company’s Mission Statement.

Ok, so you have your idea. What we are going to do today is brainstorm your idea with the aim of identifying your company’s brand values. The Mission Statement flows from this.

What is a Mission Statement?

This is a summary of your company’s brand values and goals in a single paragraph. This is what the company will be living and breathing…..in its dealings with suppliers,  customers, employees and investors. It will be inspirational. It will be challenging. It will be dynamic and will motivate you every single day.

So, where do we start?

Business Values

 As the leader or CEO of the business, very often the business values will reflect your own values and indeed until they are aligned, you might find it more difficult. Therefore, lets start with brainstorming YOUR values and the ones that you think might be applicable to the business. Have a long think about the values that matter most to you. Here is a link to a blog looking at the values of business award winners. Once you have your five, evaluate them to see how they can apply to your business.

In Mama Tea, our values are undernoted:

1. Empowerment

2. Honesty

3. Respect

4. Innovation

5. Love

“Empowerment” is one of our core values. We seek to empower our wonderful customers with teas that help them through difficult times in their pregnancy. Faced with labour in particular, if women feel empowered then they can reduce the stress and fear that is sometimes present with labour. In doing this, they reduce the stress hormone, “Cortisol” and so allow all the wonderful pregnancy hormones to kick in that help to speed up the labour. Taking control in this way, empowers them and helps them.

However, it doesn’t stop there. We take this value right throughout the company. So, we believe in empowering our employees. Giving them the power and responsibility to grow and develop within Mama Tea. We trust our employees and believe that this is always reciprocitated. We also try to empower anyone that comes into contact with the brand. If we meet other female entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs, we try our very best to energise them and give them encouragement. Again, this flows from our core value – empowerment.

So, please do the same with your list. How can you apply each and every one to your business?

I have also attached a link to Business Link that further explores values in business. Also, this article looks at the link between values and profits.

The next blog will explore the Business Goal.

How to start a business – overview of the Business Plan

Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to be asked to asked to speak at the RBS conference for Women in Business about the story of Mama Tea and my experience of how to start a business.

RBS are being very proactive in addressing the issues of trying to get more females starting up businesses with this initiative. They have a network of Women in Business Ambassadors throughout the UK who are there to assist female entrepreneurs. Isn’t that fantastic? I believe they are rolling out this initiative on a much wider scale and I applaud it fully!

I spoke about how to start a business – looking at one of the first hurdles – the business plan. This is traditionally seen as a bit of a pain to do but really, it is YOUR plan of what you want your business to look like, not some template. Also, if you are thinking of starting a business, you really need to research your market, competition, pricing, product, USP’s very carefully! You should know the answers to all these questions; there are some great resources out there and a lot of them are FREE!!! Here in Edinburgh, I used the National Library of Scotland. They have a fantastic business resource centre, so you can look up all the business research reports and research competitors etc. Also, go and do some of the FREE courses at your local Business Gateway. They have access to over 200 videos, tutorials etc for you to use and the website is fantastic.

Start with your idea and break it down. Why is it unique? What are the Unique Selling Points (USP’s)? What does the Market look like? Is there a demand for your product or service? What can you sell it for – is there a good profit margin in the product or is it a high volume/low margin product? How will you market your product or services?

Other companies and banks also have resources that you can use for free – RBS has an excellent business planning tool – http://www.rbs.co.uk/business/banking/g2/planning.ashx

Over the next month, I am going to break down each part of the Business Plan into manageable chunks and include a checklist at the end of each blog, so that any aspiring female entrepreneurs can actually take practical steps to getting a great plan in place and then get going!

The Mama

4 ways to SEO your Linked-In profile

Here at Mama Tea, we use Linked-In as a valuable business networking tool to connect with herbal tea drinkers from all around the world. It is a fantastic tool and invaluable for global networking. As more and more brands are associated with the individuals behind them, it is imperative that you make sure that your individual profile stands out on this network.

Search operates in a similar way on Linked-In as it does to other search engines; optimising your profile helps to raise your profile to the top of the list. So, how do you do this? Below, I have outlined the 4 main steps to follow in order to give your profile a boost:

1. Research your KEYWORDS. Use Google Adwords to find the best keywords for your specialism/business/expertise. Then you have to litter your profile with these keywords. However, there is a skill to repeating these keywords whilst still writing an appealing profile. You should insert them in your Title, Summary, Experience, Skills and Expertise.

2. Fill out your FULL PROFILE. Linked-In rewards you for doing this by automatically taking you up the chain.

3. CONNECT with as many relevant people as you can. Again, Linked-In rewards those profiles with lots of connections.

4. Change the text on your main profile box headed “Websites” to your own ANCHOR TEXT instead of using the generic “company website”. Change it to the name of your actual website/blog/twitter account etc. Again, if you can get the keywords I mentioned earlier in here, great! If not, just make sure it is personalised for your actual website.

Good luck with it and hope it works for you!

The Mama

Visual Storytelling – the apps we use

We’ve reported recently on Pinterest and Flipboard, two of the most visually stimulating and interesting curation apps around and here at Mama Tea we really think social media is moving towards what we call visual storytelling. We no longer want our social media newsfeeds to be full of words, we want pictures and even more we want the pictures to be telling us something about the person that took the picture, hence the phrase visual storytelling. Here’s our favourite apps for creating amazing pictures for visual storytelling.

Instagram

Everyone that is active in the world of social media will have heard of this app, aside from the social interaction aspect of the app, it has a selection of filters and effects that can be applied to photos you have taken on your phone.

The images above are a before and after using Instagram. The image on the left is the before shot taken on an iphone camera, the image on the right is the same picture but with a little bit of Instagram editing applied. The picture below is the same picture with more editing and another filter added.

glowing mama

Camera+

This app costs £0.69 but if you’re taken with the affects available on Instagram you’ll enjoy playing with the affects available on this app. It calls itself “the ultimate photo app” and I’m inclined to agree, the range of filters and editing tools available allow you to do anything from cropping a photo to being really creative with all sorts of effects.

mama tea birthday cake

mama tea birthday cake

mama tea birthday cake 3

The three photos above show the mama tea birthday cake from the first picture taken on an iphone in the office to the final picture that was used in our birthday blog post. You can see the original photo was not well lit and showed the desk in the background, a little bit of editing on camera+ and we have a picture that is good enough to eat!

There are other photographic apps but these two are my favourite and right now essential tools for my visual content. We at Mama Tea are not alone in thinking visuals, and importantly the quality of your visuals, are essential to your social media presence, Mashable have just published an article (here) about the importance of visual content and Hubspot have also published a blog post (here) on optimizing your pictures for google search.