Tag Archives: business

Marina Offers Advice for Freelancers and Entrepreneurs.

Marina Ibrahim_CookingLikeCleopatraAfter graduating from the MA Media & Creative Enterprise course in 2008, Marina Ibrahim developed and launched bizz buzz in 2010. Marina explains her two businesses:

I am coach, trainer, and managing director of bizz buzz Ltd, a company for cross-cultural projects and for people development in cultural leadership and management.

I am also the owner of Cooking like Cleopatra – my latest cookery venture launched in 2012. With my ‘Tasting Culture Workshops’ I introduce Egyptian Mezze recipes to food lovers, recipe explorers and Egypt aficionados. I also offer Tasting Culture team-building workshops and activities for businesses.

So with two businesses to run, I asked Marina how she keeps herself motivated.

Trying new ideas, being creative when it comes to developing my business further. Talking to people, who like what I am doing, asking for encouragement, support and feedback. Learning and being aware about how to improve, helps you with keeping on track and reassure that you are on the right path. Celebrate achievement and success, enjoy the journey, take time out, relax and reflect. Have fun!

With a background in marketing, Marina is well placed to offer advice for anyone starting in business.

Get your first paid contract/Get your first paying client – it is the difference that makes the difference: You are in business! When you market yourself/your business and you talk about your client/contract it makes you authentic and real, gives you confidence. It helps you positioning yourself with your marketing message:

  • When doing your elevator pitch
  • When talking about client’s needs
  • How you helped your clients and
  • It evidences that your skills and your offer is relevant, it matters on the market.
  • It is also an ideal anchor for you to do more research about existing and profiling potential future clients: Asking for feedback, undertaking surveys, networking, peer-to-peer exchange, studying sector trends, etc.

Continuously reflecting and adapting your business offer accordingly is the process of niching and fine-tuning your niche. In my opinion self-awareness and knowing how to strike the balance between creativity and management are both the key factors for a successful career in the media/when starting a creative business.

Marina is very strategic and focused in her approach. She suggests that when it comes to running a business, especially as micro-entrepreneur, freelancer, you got to be focused because you are the epicenter of your business. You’ve got to focus on your target market, your target clients, trust and apply your core skills, talents and strengths. To be able to do this, it is crucial to develop a plan. This plan works like a roadmap that helps you identify gaps, milestones and filling stations all along your journey.

So what’s next for Marina?

Having my business feet in at least three camps: media, training and food & drink, I am keeping a close eye on all three sectors. There are overlaps as well as convergence opportunities which I will be exploiting for both my businesses, whether they still run parallel or merge into something different, I shall see. For ‘Cooking like Cleopatra’ I have created my marketing plan to stage the development of my business in three phases: the launching phase, the establishing phase and the growing phase: I will be using the next 6 months to build my brand and to develop my target audience by running cookery workshops and giving a series of “Tasting Egyptian Culture” presentations on food festivals throughout the season. This is to build my client base and target audience, using social media to build business presence and to build my brand. I am already in the process of writing a book and I have already got some fabulous ideas around leveraging my business by developing some products I will sell.  So, watch the space!

Indeed, and if you want more information about Marina and her various ventures, check her out on LinkedIn or twitter @bizzbuzz_coach and @Like_Cleopatra

Thanks for the insights and good luck Marina!

ISBE conference

I recently attended the ISBE conference and delivered a paper with my colleague Steve Harding. The paper is called Collaborative Learning with Creative Enterprises in the EU – a case study approach.
The conference had many different strands but the bits of interest to me are nicely captured by Frances Brown in her blog. And if you like fancy visuals, Frances created a picture of her ‘takeaways’ too.

Creative industries track (and a tiny bit of social and enterprise education)
Networks and Networking – “Fitting in and standing out” Eleanor Shaw
Everyone was talking about networks whether it was musician-entrepreneurs spending time and money to be part of their community via doing free gigs and supporting others gigs or networking being used as a learning experience via peer information sharing.  An interesting presentation looked at a new business that set up in a mature industry but quickly became embedded in and central to the network.  The study looked at the journey from pre-embedding to deep embedding via strategic networking, with intent.  Actively planning roles of each member of the business to network with others on their particular employment levels e.g. director and director, manager and manager and for a particular purpose.  The human capital of networks and communities were also considered in terms of entrepreneurs feeding into the community and having positive impact via contacts and reputation and the occurrence of an informal sharing and barter system.
Intent
Intent was considered again in relation to creative industries with it’s overwhelming drive to set up business for practice rather than for business sake.  In this case the complexity of the industry was examined with differing levels of intent arising in the form of ‘tactical’ intent – driven by desire to practice, often working towards an ultimate future goal – and ‘pragmatic’ intent of those who had multiple businesses over the research period and displayed a weak attachment to the projects/businesses as long as they were practicing in some way.

The discussions about networks, social & cultural capital are particularly pertinent for students launching a career in the media and creative industries. I touched on that in a previous post.

Justice Williams, MBE, Talks About Setting up City & Style

Justice is brutally honest about the ups and downs of entrepreneurship, but very entertaining too!

Her latest project is the City & Style online magazine and she is interested in engaging with students looking for work placements or freelance opportunities. Contact her on twitter @cityandstyle or email info@cityandstyle.co.uk.

Now balancing motherhood and her new projects, she ‘s got her work cut out but took time out to inspire BCU enterprise students. Continue reading Justice Williams, MBE, Talks About Setting up City & Style

Developing a Niche Business

Marina Ibrahim of Bizz Buzz gave students excellent insights into developing a niche business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marina talked about networks and creative alliances as key to understanding your sector. She demonstrated how she makes good use of her contacts and if she needs further support, she creates a network to access that help. For example, she has set up a local Jelly and a Mastermind group. Continue reading Developing a Niche Business

Daniella Genas Discussing her Business with Enterprise Students

This week, Daniella talked to my enterprise students about her business, Aspire4U, including the ups and downs of being your own boss!

There are two aspects to Daniella’s business: a commercial events company and a social enterprise which works with young people to provide training and work placement opportunities.

According to Daniella, one of the many challenges faces by social enterprises is the issue of sustainability and working on the business rather than project by project.

Although she has been highly successful in securing funding, she is conscious that this has at times been an over bureaucratic process. Instead of focusing on the business growth and the core aims of her enterprise, she is busy writing reports for funders. Daniella has started writing a blog about this to stimulate a debate on the subject.

In the short video below, Daniella describes her business and personal ambitions.