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The support I received helped me get out of the hole…

Barbara sells the products online. She is currently expanding her business activity and she is opening the stationary shop and the consignment wedding dress shop. In an interview with me, she is sharing her experiences of running a business. She is talking about her participation in the 100 Days Entrepreneur Impet Project, her personal development and entrepreneurship.

What do you do and how long have you been in the market?

I have been running the online shop with decorative accessories for occasional parties for two and a half years. I am currently extending the offer. I am opening the stationary shop and the consignment wedding dress shop. The ending investment is consuming my time and energy. I am preparing the place of sale, products, equipment and contracts for wedding dresses.

You are a graduate of the Entrepreneur Impet Programme, how have acquired knowledge and experience affected your business?

I have received coaching that contributed to my development and reorganization of a few matters, to establishment of the objectives and my confidence. These changes have had a direct impact on my business and on the direction which the company has been developing in. Because of the support of the Entrepreneur Impet, three years ago I got to the top ten from a group of 600 people applying for a grant from the European Union, and I received funds to start my business. Then a few months ago, thanks to the EI, I attracted an investor to build a stationary shop, and as a consequence I decided to hire an employee.

Can you indicate specifically how your own development resulted in the development of your business?

First of all, my motivation has increased. I started my cooperation with the Entrepreneur Impet when my motivation was in a hole. For several reasons I stopped to trade on the popular sales portal and I had few products in the online shop. I was at the stage of deciding about the direction which my business should be developed in. That was exactly when I took part in the programme. The support I received helped me get out of the hole and clarify the further path of development. Under the influence of conversations with the coach and the mentor I began to outsource my tasks to external companies and freelancers. Because of that, I gained time and energy to come up with new products, look for inspiration, organize promotional campaigns in the shop, prepare products for sale, search for new offers. I gave up activities that were tormenting me. Previously, I was responsible for everything. Now I have an employee who lightens my load. The organization of the company begins to be what I expected and more often I feel that I find fulfilment in my role.

Which elements of the Entrepreneur Impet Programme supported you?

Every form of the support of EI has been and still is highly significant. Coaching, mentorship and financial support of the investor largely contributed to the rapid development of my company. Coaching is an amazing tool for me. It is difficult for me to express the influence which it has had on me. I have benefited a lot from the coaching. I think that you don’t talk with anyone like with a coach. During an hour conversation I jumped over the things, I couldn’t process on my own for a long time. I was able to find a right solution and right ideas that turned out to be so obvious. During the session, I went beyond the beaten track and got to the solution, which I hadn’t seen yet. Coaching has given me a sense of confidence and confirmation that what I am doing is right and in accordance with my predispositions. I began to think differently about my business. I have clearly defined the vision who I want to be in my company in a few years. I know I want to organize work and I want to be the boss. I want to develop the skills of employees in accordance with their predispositions. I am going to get involved in making things that give me satisfaction and fulfilment, such as making handicrafts. The support of the mentor, in turn, contributed to the control and the analysis of finance and to the control of a business development. Under the guidance of a mentor I have prioritized activities of the company. I was making decisions that I could not resolve myself. I could always count on his experience and knowledge in dispelling doubts. When the mentor said that everything was going in the right direction, I received another motivation and I was more convinced that I was doing it well. Because of this I was developing greater self-confidence.

How would you rate the usefulness of the programme in your business?

It is priceless help for me. I wouldn’t be at this stage of development of my company without the support of the Entrepreneur Impet. I wouldn’t achieve it on my own. I came out of the hole, I identified the main objectives among all that swirled around in my head. I have found my own path, and I have received mental and financial support for the development of my business.

Could you imagine your business without taking part in the programme?

I suspect that it would last and move in an unknown direction, but certainly the company wouldn’t be at the stage as it is now. Maybe I would achieve this stage in a few years but I know that it would be a very difficult way full of obstacles.

You have 2, 5 years of experience in running your own business. What message would you leave for other entrepreneurs?

First of all, you should talk openly, reflect your thoughts, speak out your fears and ills. It is very easy to fall into the network of your own doubts and limitations. Sharing your thoughts with others makes your mind open to new possibilities and solutions. Of course, you should pursue your objectives constantly even stubbornly.

Thank you for the inspiring conversation. I wish you success in developing business and success in achieving the objectives.

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