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Making The Transfer From Employee to Entrepreneur Liz Leffman Director Clothesource Management Services.

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Presentation on theme: "Making The Transfer From Employee to Entrepreneur Liz Leffman Director Clothesource Management Services."— Presentation transcript:

1 Making The Transfer From Employee to Entrepreneur Liz Leffman Director Clothesource Management Services

2 My Business History  Started out in advertising  Moved to marketing in the dairy industry  Joined Courtaulds and ran a couple of factories making clothing for Marks and Spencer  Became International Marketing and Business Development Director for Courtaulds Fabrics  In 1992, started a business sourcing clothing in Eastern Europe

3 Clothesource Management Services  Between 1992 and 2000, operated in Poland, Belarus, Romania and Bulgaria, finding clothing factories and managing manufacturing for UK clients  Disastrous expansion to the US in 1998 caused us to re-think the direction of the business  Since 2000, we have changed direction from hands-on manufacturing to consultancy  Our clients today are international and include many high-street names

4  Still have an office in Romania and provide quality control for UK clients, making womenswear, childrenswear and airline textiles  We sell “shrink-wrap packages” of information worldwide, and have consultancy clients in UK, US, Spain, Switzerland and Australia Clothesource Today

5 Princes Trust Mentor  For 10 years, I have mentored young people starting their own business  The same issues affect every small business  Sometimes experience in a large company can be the wrong experience for a business start- up

6 Structure of this presentation  Transferring skills: employee to business owner  Key challenges in the early years  The challenge of growth  Conclusions

7 The Company Employee  Is trained for the job  Is surrounded by colleagues  Knows her place in the company heirarchy  Can rely on support  Can rely on a salary  Expects career progression

8 The New Business Owner  Is on her own  Often has no specific training  Does not have an automatic support network  Cannot guarantee a salary  Has no job security  Has to maintain the original vision while dealing with the day to day

9 Transferring Skills  The following skills I found particularly useful: Sales and marketing Management accounting Production Sourcing But not everyone has that experience

10 Learning New Skills  As an employee, I did know anything about: Computers VAT Cash flow National Insurance Employee law

11 And Un-learning Some Old Ones!  The mistakes I made early on in my business were largely due to my large company experience  For example, paying to have a logo designed and buying headed paper  Spending money on hotels and meals and the other trappings of corporate life

12 Key Challenges in the Early Years  Balancing personal and business goals  Managing long-term goals v short-term needs  Getting support  Creating structure and systems  Understanding the importance of cash flow

13 The Challenges of Growth  Finding the right partners and suppliers  Learning to delegate (again)  Re-visiting the business plan  Balancing growth with cash flow  Course correcting when things go wrong

14 The Importance of Support  Many entrepreneurs value outside support Mentoring has proven results Coaching can provide help with both long term plans and short term pressures Local networking puts small business owners in touch

15 Conclusions  Many skills learned in a corporate environment can be of real use to the new business owner  BUT these skills alone will not guarantee success  Every entrepreneur must be prepared to make mistakes and course correct  Learning in a new business is largely about trial and error  Mentoring or coaching can be of huge benefit

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