Make a Plan: Gain new and useful insights into all areas of your business

Make a Plan: Gain new and useful insights into all areas of your business

Posted: Sun 30th Apr 2023

We've partnered with Mastercard and Strive to give 650,000 British micro and small enterprises the support they need to thrive in the digital economy over the next three years and beyond.

One way we're doing this is through our online Make a Plan tool. Simply create an account, answer some quick questions about your business, then receive personalised feedback. You then use those recommendations to build an action plan designed to speed up your growth.

We're catching up with business owners who have benefited from using the tool and creating their own action plans. Here, we talk to Ana Grigorovici, a brand specialist and visual identity designer who set up her own limited company so she could widen her customer base.

When and how did you make the move into owning a business?

It was five years ago when I started to do freelance work as a designer. I had to set up a limited company in order to work with big agencies. This has now evolved into a design studio that I run with other freelancers.

I set up a collaborative agency-style business for branding services with a horizontal structure, so no bosses. My clients are from the tech, start-up and arts and culture sectors.

What support, if any, did you seek when setting up your new business?

I looked for local government schemes and am currently part of a start-up programme in South London. I asked for support from my family and friends in the way of them letting me talk about it all the time!


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In the early weeks and months, what went well? What didn't? How did you overcome any problems?

Since I was freelancing already, the transition wasn't too hard but I still struggled with understanding Companies House, taxes and time management.

I overcame most of my problems by asking for advice from agency owners and hiring an accountant. Asking for advice is a skillset in its own right.

You used the Make a Plan tool. What specifically has it helped with?

The sections in the Make a Plan tool were helpful as I had them all stacked up in my head but seeing it all laid out in one neat package was useful. Some questions were starting points for things I hadn't looked at before; some good learning happened at the end of that process.

I also got very good resource kits suggested and joined a few groups. I'm yet to move into some mentorship but that will happen soon. I signed up for some webinars as well – the digital bootcamp was particularly useful.

Now you're established and looking to grow, what do you see as the next steps for your business?

I intend to spend time gathering data and really getting to know my clients and what they want from a design studio. I want to understand where they struggle in their businesses and how good and useful design can help them achieve their goals.

My mission is to give businesses and entrepreneurs the confidence to use design as part of their DNA. I'm also excited to put operational processes in place and establishing a hiring strategy.

What are your more longer-term plans?

I'm working on long-term goals now, but ideally the design studio will become a 'workshop place' where people come for business advice as well as brand services, and generally a hub for inspiration and problem-solving.

What are the most important lessons you've learned from going into business for yourself?

Time management was something people warned me about, but I never knew it would be so complex. It's such a cliché but the balance is so off at the beginning when you eat and breathe this new life you created for yourself and there isn't much left outside of work.

Another important lesson is that I realised I'm not a regular 9–5 person and I struggled so much with traditional systems before. This is more personal discovery than anything else.

Not everyone is cut out to work regular hours. Now I really love my spontaneous bursts of inspiration at 6am or 5pm on a Sunday and my restful Wednesday mornings when I get to go to galleries.


Make a Plan: Start and grow your business with a free personalised plan

Start and grow your business with a free personalised plan

How? Create an account, answer a few questions, get feedback, then build an action plan to speed up your business's growth. Simple! Take the Make a Plan tool now

Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

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