Jeanette Brown: 'The Make a Plan tool gave us a structure that will help the business grow.'

Jeanette Brown: 'The Make a Plan tool gave us a structure that will help the business grow.'

Posted: Mon 20th Mar 2023

Enterprise Nation partnered with Mastercard and Strive to deliver an online 'One Stop Shop' for entrepreneurs.

An initiative of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, Strive will 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.

We're catching up with some of the business owners who have been using the initiative's Make a Plan discovery tool to find out about how it's benefited them so far.

Here, we talk to Jeanette Brown, founder of More Positive Me, a community interest company that provides support and training for people who have experienced domestic abuse.

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

I always struggled with being employed. I felt like I was kept in a box and my ideas were restricted.

At the age of 19, I went self-employed running a beauty salon within a hairdressers'. It was a huge learning curve, but after a while I was head-hunted to start a new salon in a hairdressers that operated within Debenhams.

After 18 months, though, I made the decision to go self-employed again when a space became available. I like seeing opportunities and I run financial risks to follow my dreams.

I moved from that sector to domestic abuse after a lived experience and wanting to make a difference to people who were also affected by it.

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

I didn't seek any support but I did meet some amazing people who joined me in putting together the community interest company I run today, More Positive Me. Sometimes I just need someone to believe in my ideas!

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

This business started as a little side hustle, so I ran it as a hobby while I worked to pay my bills. It went well to start with – we got some funding and delivered the courses we wanted to get out there.

But relying on funding became a bit up and down and we didn't make enough money to keep two of the first directors on board. I lost the other director due to financial instability and having no real forward plan.

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

I can be all over the place with opportunities and want to do everything. The Make a Plan tool was simple but really effective, looking at what we needed in place and a structure to enable us to grow.

The only thing it's missing is the ability to give me more hours in the day! Or encourage me to step away and take time for myself instead of being obsessed with the business and overloaded.

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

Planning, having clear goals and getting the right staff who are totally committed to our vision. Being able to think bigger too.

Instead of delivering all the training myself, we're looking at training course facilitators and offering the course under licence to other organisations. That way, we can get more support out there for the people who need it.

What are your more longer-term plans?

To expand this training across the UK and then work with partners in other countries to adapt the training for them.

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

That you can't do everything yourself. That you need to be clear about your vision, mission and values. And that collaboration and networking is very valuable.

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About Strive Make a Plan

Create an account, answer some quick questions about your business, get personalised feedback, then build an action plan that will help accelerate your business's growth. Take the Make a Plan tool today

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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