I love my coffee and like most people like it hot, something that Emily Savage-McGlynn understands well.
She's a new entrepreneur who eighteen months ago set up Couva Coffee Couture to make and sell insulated covers for cafétières and coffee cups, making them stand out and look beautiful, as well as keeping the coffee inside piping hot.
When I caught up with her at the London Coffee Festival, she'd just finished creating her latest product, a personalised takeaway cup cover, which even has a little pocket for the loyalty card many coffee shops give you. Just wrap a Couva cover around your cup and there's no need to ever have a cold cappuccino again.
It's a simple idea that's just right for the coffee culture that's become such a part of urban life. I love the idea of individualising what is just a boring mass product. Your cup becomes an extension of your personality, expressing something about you.
Emily currently sells her range of products through shops in London and Edinburgh, as well as through her own online store.
So here are 4 business lessons we can all "take away" from Couva Couture:
Business Lesson 1: Solve a problem
Like many others, Emily became an entrepreneur by addressing a problem - her family's dislike of going back for a second cup of coffee from the cafétière and finding it cold. Microwaving heated it up, but spoilt the flavour, and this gave her the idea for her insulated covers, which reflect heat back into the pot, keeping it at the correct temperature of 60% for longer.
Business Lesson 2: Take action today!
Like all entrepreneurs, Emily took action to get something started. "Don't wait. Just do it", is her message. She also talked to people about what she was going to do, got them to try out the product and encouraged them to become enthusiasts for it.
Business Lesson 3: Your own speed is perfect
Emily didn't try to move forward too quickly. Even a year and a half after start up, she's still running Couva Coffee Couture on a part-time basis, having made the decision to scale up slowly rather than go for fast growth. That way she's been able to use her own savings and not put herself in debt to banks and other lenders. She did look for grants and similar funding, but either she didn't qualify, or they carried unattractive penalties, which put her off.
Business Lesson 4: Gain support and momentum from others
While Emily didn't tap into any outside funding, she made the most of business events, using them not just to quickly develop a network of contacts, but also to feed off the positive energy of other entrepreneurs.
As Emily points out: "There's a real surge in the number of small businesses starting up, so there are loads of resources available, whether that's online or at small business seminars. Universities are a great place to get information too."
So why not let Emily's experience inspire you to think of a business idea you could run with, that could even change your life?
Now, I would love to hear from you.
What is a problem that you or your family, friends, colleagues or clients experience on a regular basis that you could turn into a business?
Let us know in the comments box below.
Be generous with your comments and your experiences to inspire others.
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Looking for more inspiration from the Award winning author, speaker and coach Maite Baron, then download 2 free chapters from her Nautilus 2014 Award winning book Corporate Escape The Rise of the New Entrepreneur. With the bonus that you will receive her weekly thought provoking updates. Get your download here.
Thank you for reading and sharing.