Klaudia Mitura used her Start Up Loan to help develop her business Employability Town, which supports young people in improving their soft employability skills.
Klaudia talks about how the loan and mentoring has helped her business, and shares her advice for aspiring and existing business owners.
What inspired you to start your own business?
I am a work psychologist and I spent a number of years working with young people in colleges and charities to maximise their professional potential. Over time I realised that the main barriers to gaining employment for young people were not a lack of knowledge, skills or a well written CV. It seemed to be a lack of soft employability skills such as communication, confident presentation abilities, time management or business understanding.
What did you use the Start Up Loan for?
When I started the business our clients were mainly from the public sector which created challenges for cash flow due to longer payment terms. The Start Up Loan was really important in providing a cash flow injection into the business. We also used it for marketing the business, and invested in press releases and showcased the business at trade fair exhibitions which really paid off for us.
Have you used any of the support provided by Start Up Loans?
Yes, our Delivery Partner matched us with our mentor, Steven, just before we received our loan. I have also used a lot of the business offers to get free workspace and a business phone number which can be directed to my mobile. The free legal advice was really helpful when I was changing contracts and needed someone to review them.
What has your mentor helped you with?
Our mentor provided us with a broader perspective and made us appreciate the progress we were making. To help with our cash flow problems Steven suggested we do some research and try to diversify our customers. I got in touch with NCS providers and we began working together, and this helped improve sales and cash flow. After our business gained new customers, we were able to use our mentor’s experience of investors and look at how the business could move forward, which we had never thought about.
What is the best advice you could give aspiring/fellow business owners?
I have three! Firstly, I would say get out there and network. It’s great to talk to people in a similar position and it also helps you to conduct market research easily. Secondly I would say understand your cash flow. I didn’t understand this when I started Employability Town and it created some challenges that could have been avoided. Thirdly I would say market your business. Taking part in awards has helped us gain recognition and get our name out there.