Today I’m going to ask you to think about risk. We face risk in everything we do. In our personal lives, at work as well as when running a business.

Having a risk strategy can help you move your business forward in a way that feels comfortable to you. We all have different attitudes to risk. Some people leap first and then consider the consequences, others like to weigh up the situation carefully before proceeding, and you will be the same when running your business.

So, what is risk? Risk is an uncertain event where the outcome, if different from what is predicted, affects your business.
Your business will face many risks. What if costs go up by more than predicted, or the number of customers and the amount they spend is less? Or you suffer a burglary, or your premises flood? Or a customer complains on social media? So many things can go wrong that if you sit and think about them all, they will overwhelm you and you’d never start a business. This is where risk management and having a risk strategy is important.

In deciding how to manage risk, you will need to asses the risk and its importance to your business. You will need to understand who is responsible for that risk and who will be affected by it.
You can then respond in one of four ways:
Avoid. Eliminate exposure to the risk altogether. This often means a major change in your business planning. For example, if you thought you would make soft toys, but then came across the regulations on the safety testing requirements, you might decide that the risk of making toys is too great and make dresses instead.
Reduce. Gather more information so you understand the risk better. So, to make soft toys, find our what you need to do to get the CE mark and be able to make and sell toys safely and legally
Transfer. Pass the impact of the risk onto someone else. Take out an insurance policy. If your soft toy falls apart and you have product liability insurance, as long as you followed your standard method for making the toy, the insurance will cover any claim made against you.
Manage. Put plans in place, so that you have alternatives if the risk occurs. For example, using your soft toys as home decoration instead of toys. Or, in the current situation, being able to work from home when I can’t work at The Millin Charity’s office!
Having thought about your business risks, assessed them and how you deal with them, you can then think about the positive steps you’ll take to give your business, and yourself, every chance of success.

If you would like support with risk assessing your business and products, please get in touch and we can arrange a one-to-one business advice appointment or put you in touch with one of our volunteer experts.

Back next time with some more tips for great businesses! Janet x




Like everyone else in business, we are looking at how technology can help us through this time. The Millin Charity has set up online ‘Ask the Business Advisor’ sessions, which connects fledgling business women with each other and with myself. A theme for the last two sessions has been about using the internet for research into our business ideas and how to connect with customers to sell either online or to build a potential customer base, so that when you are ready to trade you have a good start point.
Whether you are working online or face to face, the same business principles always apply.

Your customers decide whether your business grows or withers away. So, everything you do must be customer focused. Make it an easy and pleasant experience to buy from you. You can do this through researching who your typical customer is.

Give them a persona: For example, Mrs A is a busy mum working part time. She has a small budget to treat herself and buy treats for her family and friends.

Then think about where Mrs A might go, either to buy or to see promotional material. This could be online through social media sites, or by visiting craft fairs and markets, or meeting friends for a coffee, etc. Those places that Mrs A visits, either for real or online is where you need to be promoting your products and services. Promotion must sell the benefits of doing business with you. What sets your business apart from other similar businesses?

When it comes to making the sale, make it easy to purchase from you. And where applicable, follow up. If Mrs A is buying from you face to face, a simple thank you will be part of the transaction; but you could ask if she would like to follow your social media page, or join a mailing list. Similarly, if selling online, sending through a thank you message with the links to social media and joining the mailing list might also be a good plan. But again, make it easy and sell the benefits of doing this.  If Mrs A likes what she bought, she can then share your social media page with her friends. Mailing lists and social media can be used to inform people of any events coming up that you are attending, any special offers or any new products, and keeps the connection with the customer, who may then buy from you again. You can find out more about creating a Facebook business page by clicking here.

There are lots of easy ways that you can connect with potential customers using social media. How about try using free tools such as creating a Poll to find out which of your products are most popular? Check out this short tutorial for further details. 

Back next time with some more tips for great businesses! Janet x




In these difficult times it can be hard to see what you can do to take forward business ideas and nurture new start ups. However, times of uncertainty can be great opportunity for entrepreneurs. Now is the time to plan, research, learn new skills and develop business management systems. Those who’ve worked with me before know that I like plans: Business Plans (obviously) but also action plans to reach milestones and goals, and financial plans to show how you can afford to achieve that plan.

My plan at the moment is to review and learn about working online. I’m naturally a technophobe, so this doesn’t come easily, but my motivation comes from the simple fact that I love what I do as a self employed person, and want to keep doing it. My preference is for face to face work: I love people, and communicate much better that way, so I am exploring video conferencing and online meetings.

Working with The Millin Charity gives me the opportunity to try teaching online, so I’ll be giving that a go next week when I will be teaching basic bookkeeping and financial planning via Zoom – see above.

Here are some recommendations of mine for keeping busy with your businesses.

Use Zoom to keep in touch with your friends & family as well as to join in with our upcoming Business Sessions. Click the below link for support with accessing Zoom;
There is a lot of free or greatly reduced training available online at the moment which may help you progress your business. Check out some of these opportunities for further details:
The Open University
Using networks on Social Media such as Facebook are great for connecting with like minded people, and finding out about opportunities. Using the search bar at the top of the Facebook page is a great way to find groups to connect with. Just type in a relevant word e.g. Accountant, and suggestions will come up. Here are some of the group we recommend:
Social Group for Millin Members
Talented Ladies Club 
The Inspire Network
Craft Fairs North East England

Back next time with some more tips for great businesses! Janet x



B Collective is The Millin Charity’s exciting social business, developed from the Women’s Trading Collective project, which aims to create collective support and trading experiences for local women.

B Collective offers ethically produced, environmentally friendly, design-led products and provides opportunities for women to gain enterprise experience & skills through participating in the running of the business. All profits are invested back into our projects to support local women. We are thrilled to have been working with Corinne Lewis-Ward of Powder Butterfly who has designed the fantastic new range, Same Difference. The range includes organic cotton t-shirts and bags and fully recyclable coffee travel cups. Click here to read more and to read about the story behind the designs.

The new range of products are available to be purchased online and from our base at The Millin Charity’s base at The Beacon, Westgate Road.

The Millin Charity secures funding with the NatWest Skills and Opportunities Fund

We are thrilled to announce that The Millin Charity has secured funding through the Natwest Skills and Opportunities fund to deliver our A Chance To Trade Project. The #ACHANCETOTRADE project will support unemployed women to fast-track their enterprise idea from a product or service they make at home to one they sell to the public.

We were shortlisted for the funding back in March 2018, with the final decision being left to a public vote. We received so much support from all our friends, service users and supporters and were thrilled with the outcome. We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who took the time to vote for us thus enabling us to deliver this fantastic project.

The #ACHANCETOTRADEPROJECT will be launched in September 2018 and will  offer one-to-one support, access to accredited enterprise training, business workshops, trading support and opportunities to sell at markets.  We will be holding an opening day on Tuesday 18th September for women to come along and find out more. Click here for further information. 

Job Vacancy: Project Coordinator – ‘A Chance to Trade’ Project

The Millin Charity has been running since 1999, helping local people facing significant challenges in their lives; providing access to a range of services and local links, enabling people access provision that most suits their own needs. We have been helping people become socially and economically empowered, and more capable of making an active contribution to the local community, bettering their quality of lives. Over the years, the charity has been delivering to women in particular, who face significant barriers to becoming financially independent.

Through funding received from the NatWest Skills Opportunities Fund, we plan to deliver our #ACHANCETOTRADE project and looking to recruit a Project coordinator to join our team.
The appointed person will work to deliver the ‘A Chance to Trade’ Project which aims to enable unemployed women to fast-track their enterprise idea from a service or a product that they make at home to trading to the public. This will be delivered through a unique Enterprise Training Programme with a focus on supporting women to explore and become self-employed.

The candidate will have Working knowledge and experience of delivering projects / new initiatives within a community setting and experience of giving advice and guidance on a one-to-one basis.

This post is a fixed term contract funded until the end of March 2019 with a possible extension of contract depending on funding.

This role is for a female applicant due to the nature of the role and the client group we plan to engage. Equality Act 2010 Sch.9 (para.1) applies.

Salary:     £25,000 pro rata
Hours:     17 hrs per week
Pension   6% employer contribution


Click here to download the A Chance To Trade Project Coordinator Application PackApplications must be be returned by Monday 27th August 2018.

Interviews to be held: Wednesday 5th September 2018

If you require any further information or would like a chat, please contact Shewley Haque via telephone or email shewleyh@themillincharity.co.uk

A Chance To Trade Project Coordinator – Job Advert

The Millin Charity PS A Chance to Trade

The Millin Charity JD A Chance to Trade Co-ordinator

Job Application Form – 2018 – TMC

Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form – JOB APPLICATIONS 2018