Monday, 9 November 2015

Why? What? Where?

They say you make your best friends in uni. Living in a student town has provided me with so many close people in my life that may come and go, but always leave a special place in my heart. I've also met a tremendous amount of lovely people through work, most of you reading this, I will have met at a bar on one side or the other! Not to go all soppy, but the supportive and kind words of people from far and wide has been what's pushed me to go on. Realising my crazy business idea might not be so crazy after all! 

When I first came to Aberystwyth, there was a legend that the tiny town held the most amount of pubs per square mile. 52 pubs; one for every week of the year. (If anyone has done a recent pub count, please let me know!) 
Unfortunately, the pub trade is a dying one and not all of the pubs here are doing that well. Business rates and council tax are inconceivably high. Supermarket deals on booze blow pub prices out of the water and “pre-drinking” is becoming the norm. Especially in a student town where the tuition fees have sky rocketed. 
Opening a bar in the town would be a financial (and emotional) drain which I cannot afford. A portable-pub is a far more economical way of running things. No empty, late night dwellings with dimmed lights, over-heating, bored staff and tumble weed. Something that is bespoke: hired with the customer’s needs in mind. Cutting down on waste of stock, costs and energy.  
With mobile bar events becoming more popular in other parts of the country, it seems something that Aber hasn't quite got yet. But word on the street: it’s what the people want. Slowly, but surely, the idea I have is a unique and suddenly achievable goal/business plan. 
But no man is an island (or something along those lines…) and I'm reaching out to my friends, family and the general community. I'm bringing the idea to the public and just checking that it’s a good one. 

So far, I've been taking baby steps into the business world, focussing on teaching myself how to undertake this ginormous task at hand. Having worked in the service industry for nearly 8 years, I have seen, and been employed by, the good; the bad and the downright ugly managers in the trade and I've learnt a lot about how and how not to do so effectively. My current job is a huge learning curve and it’s really interesting to see the inner workings of how to run a business like this.
I started thinking a bit more seriously about things at the beginning of the year. Through the job centre, I found out about Antur Teifi a Welsh organisation that advises businesses. Through a government backed scheme, I was allocated a lovely business advisor called Samantha Allen. She referred me to a 3-day start-up business course which was free and included lunch!
I met some great people whose business ideas ranged from selling charcoal, to managing a band (A bloody excellent band by the way, if you have a minute, check them out: Gypsy Unit). It was hugely useful, answering questions that I hadn't even known to ask. It also outlined the huge amount of work it takes to run a business, especially trading alcohol portably! 

It didn't put me off and after passing my BIIAB Level 2 Award for Personal Licence Holders, obtaining a DBS check and filling out several forms with my name on, I finally received my (misspelled) licence to sell alcohol...
-It's OK, I have a correctly spelled one now, thanks Ceredigion CC- 

When I first wrote this blog post, I had planned to start trading at a small, local festival. In the last couple of weeks, as interest has generated, other events and opportunities have arisen, so who knows what will happen as this business progresses!
Money is, of course, key in all of this. I’ve managed to climb out of my student overdraft and saving is well under way! A start-up loan is an obvious option, but for now, I’d rather gain some more capital and look to further my career as debt-free as possible. 


My birthday and Christmas are fast approaching –so family and friends- if you were wondering what’s on my wish list this year, I have an easy solution, Watch this space for details.  
For now, I’ll end on this: The encouraging words of the people around me has always been a huge push, so thank you to those who have told me to just get on with it! Hopefully this is just the beginning…. 

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