I really enjoyed my visit to my old school to present to the students doing the Student Enterprise Awards scheme.
I was terribly nervous, not just because I’d be meeting my old principal and presenting in front of some teachers who taught me but I was also nervous wondering how the students would react. We’re not a big brand, we can’t show huge profits, we haven’t become hugely successful overnight – we’re just a normal SME doing its best to survive, to prosper, to build.
However, that seemed to make our story all the more credible to the students. Judging by their questions, they seemed to understand that they could achieve what we are doing, that they can start their own business if they are well prepared, determined, have the relevant skills and knowledge, and are prepared to work hard and yes, to turn one’s hand to almost anything on a daily basis.
The students are currently starting work on their business plan hence I emphasised the need for a good business plan, the importance of working on it yourself, of doing the research. Getting help is important but it is equally important that you understand your own business plan, that it is a working document that can be referred to again and again, adjusted, altered, and that it become dog-eared rather than being abandoned in a drawer.
I hope it didn’t come across as a hard sell but I did recommend our marketing book, as after all, as Fergal Quinn says, it does demystify so much of the jargon that scares people and takes them through the business planning process step by step.
I would actually love it if every student in the country could avail of a copy of The Cheese Mall. Not only would it provide them with a useful resource, it would also help parents to assist their teenage children in the process. What do you think? Do you think that is a good idea?
I became quite passionate speaking about the importance of a good business plan and my nerves went completely. When I finished, all the students looked impressed and I left the room feeling happy with my performance. One hour presentation – many many hours preparation and a job well done.
Next up – our first anniversary is next week so we’ve lots planned to celebrate.