Today I met with an advisor from the Mid Essex Enterprise Agency (MEEA). I had to cancel the first two appointments due to not having child care for the Hud-man. I'd heard good things about the MEEA, mainly that they give grants to new businesses. After an hour I realised I do actually know a thing or two now about whats involved in setting-up in business, because roughly 80% of what MEEA told me today I already knew. MEEA asked me if I'd heard of 'Business Information Service' (which is accessed through libraries) I said "yes" and he replied -"I see you've done your homework". I smiled to myself because then I figured he would be taking me seriously, which is something I'm slightly paranoid about. One thing MEEA made me understand better and decide upon was what type of business the cafe should be. It will have to be a limited company as opposed to a sole trader. But my goodness, a limited company is more difficult to set up!
Unfortunately there are no grants available at the moment. Hard times! So if you know anyone wanting to invest in a new small business then point them in my direction! Overall, I felt it was a positive meeting though. I feel like I have another professional on my side, rooting for me. He said that my business idea was in the middle of the small business start-ups scale; in size, cost and timeframe. It confirmed what I have been thinking; I have a huge task ahead of me, and there is MUCH TO DO now, and once the cafe is up and running.
I still feel overwhelmed at how much research I still have to do, just to put a sound business plan together. In the words of my mother "How do you eat an elephant?.....One bite at a time". She said this to me a while ago, and I have thought about it everyday since. It keeps me sane. If I just tick off one thing from my ridiculously long 'to-do' list then thats fine, however big or small that may be. Each time I do, I feel like I'm getting a tiny step closer to seeing Eat-n-Mess open it's doors.
I have a meeting set up with a man named Bob (who just reminds me of my Granddad Reg) from The Prince's Trust (TPT) on Friday, he is one of their retired mentors and speakers and knows all about renting business properties so he is going to go over all the nitty gritty and fun things in detail with me and another girl who attended the course at TPT. Again this is free of charge. I am continually amazed at how much free help there is out there!