5 reasons why you should start investing today

The idea of investing often sets off confusion, overwhelm and fear of the unknown, especially amongst female millennials. Here’s the good news: the reality of investing is nowhere near as tricky as it might seem and the benefits can be far bigger than you expect. Here are my five reasons why you should start investing now!

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Make your money work.

You show up every day and work for your money, so make your money work just as hard for you. Investing often requires a mindset shift in how you view money, and this is important not only for investing but for your attitude to money overall. The key to remember is that money is simply a tool and not an end goal. Think of money as a tool which you can use to create the lifestyle you want and make it work for you.

 There’s risk in investing, but there’s also risk in not investing.

If you have any savings in a bank account, you’ll most likely be aware that they are earning little to no interest. In fact, when you account for inflation (or the purchasing value of money), the ‘real’ value of your money over time is decreasing. Savings accounts have fixed interest rates, however investing is uncertain and money invested is at risk, meaning that no returns are guaranteed. However over the long term, investing provides the potential for far greater returns on your money than any savings account.

 You don’t need to be a millionaire.

One misconception about investing is that you need to have a load of cash in the bank to get started. The reality is that you can start investing with amounts as small as £50 (depending on the platform you choose to use) and set up a direct debit to ensure that you keep adding to your investment pot gradually. Before you know it, the money will be working behind the scenes for you without you having to do anything.

 Investing is a long game.

Starting sooner rather than later is always a good idea when investing. As I mentioned above, the growth of investments should be looked at over an extended period of time, therefore it is important to make sure that you only invest money which you don’t need easy access to and can afford to invest for the long term. Remember, you can always increase the amount you invest later down the line.

 Future proof your retirement.

With the rise in self employment and entrepreneurship, the safety of pensions which previous generations experienced is becoming a thing of the past. On top of this, as a nation we’re living longer and we need to take responsibility for how we will fund our later life. Investing from a young age provides the best opportunity for your money to grow and benefit from compound interest - the principle that when you invest, as well as earning interest on your investment, you also earn interest on the interest itself.

 

Written By Elena Austin-Williams @thisgirltalksmoney

*Please note this blog post does not constitute financial advice. For advice, please speak to an independent investment advisor.

The Art Of Negotiation

The Art of Negotiation

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If you’ve got to the negotiation part, then firstly, well done! Setting up a brand from scratch has meant doing my fair share of negotiating- from rates for design and packaging to buyers meetings to try and get us on the shelves. With CHAM now listed in Selfridges, Holland & Barrett and Whole Foods, I’ve put together a little guide to help you put your best foot forward in negotiations, and get those desired results.

Never feel powerless

So many people panic when it comes to negotiation, thinking they have to cling on to the potential partnership in play at whatever cost. This is why it is key to never feel powerless and to remember that both parties hold the power- you have something they want (woohoo!) and this is why they are spending their time negotiating with you. Keeping this in mind throughout negotiations can prevent you giving in to unfavourable terms, which leads us into lesson 2...

Know what you want

It’s very hard to negotiate for something if you don’t know what it is you want and you’d be surprised how often this mistake is made! Poorly thought out desired results can also lead to you making decisions that you later regret, such as agreeing to a price that doesn’t actually work for your company. A good way to prepare for negotiations is to outline your best case scenario as well as your worst case scenario. For example, what would be the best price you’d like to get for your product/service and what is your lowest viable price? By knowing what these are you’re in a stronger position to negotiate, by knowing what you’re willing to give up (and what you aren’t!). It also means you can prioritise the right wants and needs. For example, maybe price isn’t the priority and you’re willing to even sell at cost due to the marketing opportunity it represents. The best way to leverage this knowledge is in lesson 3!

Know what they want

Too many people make the mistake of focusing solely on what they want to achieve coming out of the situation. This ironically puts you in a weaker negotiating position. While you must know what you want to achieve and prioritise (hello lesson 2!), by understanding what is important to the other party, you can leverage this to your advantage to ensure you get what you want. Still sounding crazy? Let’s look at an example...

A new potential retail partner is looking to stock your product. After some research you find that their company's strategy is to be the first to find small, cool, new brands, to ensure shoppers come to them instead of their competitors. You fit the bill! And while you want to be listed with this retailer, your strategic priority right now is maintaining a 40% margin so you can continue to grow your business. By understanding and leveraging what’s important to your negotiating partner, you can ensure that you also achieve your own prerogative. In this example, you may for example offer them a small ‘exclusivity period,’ as long as your price point is maintained. Alternatively, you could leverage this knowledge of wanting to ‘maintain an edge over the competition’ to your advantage by showing them an offer from their competitor, so they know that if they can’t beat this, their competitors will have the advantage.

When it comes to pricing, know your anchors

In a negotiation both parties want to feel like they have achieved something. One of the easiest ways to achieve this when it comes to pricing is to know your anchors. For example, say you sell a service for £150 but you know the client has a budget of £100. If you come in at £150, they feel like they have lost out when they have to pay an extra £50 or you lose out by having to drop down to meet them in the middle. However, if you came in at £200 and then agree to settle on £150, the client immediately feels like they have gained something which instils rapport. On that note…

Smile!

Don’t forget on the other side of the table is a human being! Just because your negotiating doesn’t mean this has to become a gruelling battle- in fact you will get much further by being friendly, smiley and building a partnership with them. By collaborating and building trust you are much more likely to come to a mutually beneficial situation. Slowing down is a great way to do this- rushing people into decision making can cause them to feel defensive instead of collaborative which is not what you want in a negotiation! And lastly...

Don’t be afraid of ‘no’

No can be a hugely powerful term in a negotiation, especially if you’ve been struggling to work out what the other side wants exactly. Nos can help you start to map what they don’t want and by association work out what their priorities are. Don’t be afraid to be the one saying no either. Repeat after me...You have the ability to say no! We have turned down potential retail partners because their offer just wasn’t good enough and that’s okay- it’s better to sometimes walk away than entering a potentially damaging partnership. Think of ways you can take this no and come back stronger. For example, set up a follow up meeting 3 months later in which you provide them with sales figures for the 3 months passed and therefore showing them what their missing from a stronger position.

I hope this was helpful.

Good luck,

Alexandria Maria - Founder of @eatchamuk

How how Pippa Murray started a multi-million pound nut brand

The secrets behind how how Pippa Murray started a multi-million pound nut brand

The secrets behind how how Pippa Murray started a multi-million pound nut brand

1. Background/upbringing/ schooling?

Before Pip & Nut I was working as a theatre producer at the Science Museum in London and to be honest I'd never considered working in food and drink or running my own business. Having always been very creative having loved Art at school and did subjects like Anthropology at university I'd not really considered entering the commercial sector.

2. What inspired/drove you to start your own business?

For me it was both my love of food, I've always been a keen cook, and the super exciting things that I'd noticed small start up food brands were doing. In particular I was really inspired by other challenger brands like Ella's Kitchen and BEAR who had managed to disrupt really boring categories and bring a better product to consumers and in turn changing people's food habits across the nation.

3. Where did the idea of Pip and nut come from?

I can't quite pinpoint the moment it popped into mind, partially because the idea evolved over time, but about 5 years ago I was training for the Paris marathon and I was eating lots of peanut butter as my post run treat and I noticed that nearly all the brands I picked up had palm oil in them or refined sugar and I remember questioning the need for those ingredients. When I started to dig around a bit more I also noticed the popularity of things like almond butter that had yet to get supermarket shelves but were being talked about more and more. I felt that by simply stripping out ingredients and making nut butter more natural, as well as introducing more exciting flavours to customers, I'd be able to challenge the perceptions that nut butter was a boring health food product.

4. Biggest challenge/learning curve?

There have been so many along the way but I think one of the things that I've found most challenging when running a business is not so much the technical aspects, that bit you can learn or hire smart people to help you do, but it's managing your emotions and making sure to get some sort of work life balance. I've invested so much of myself in the brand and that means when times get hard or things go wrong you are immediately more harsh on yourself. The only way to really manage that is to learn through doing and overtime realising that there are some things that are simply out of your control or that you have to learn the hard way.

5. Greatest success/achievement?

The team I work with is probably my greatest achievement. I can honestly say hand on heart that I love coming to work everyday and working with a bunch of people who are really smart, passionate and ambitious. They challenge me and me them and in doing so creates a fantastic learning environment. It's also been awesome to see how our culture has naturally developed over time and how we as a team have matured. I can't wait to see how this will evolve and change over the coming years as we grow as a brand.

6. Your vision for the future?

Pip & Nut is all about celebrating food and helping people love food that loves them back. We want people to genuinely get the wow factor when try our products and so I'm keen to ensure that more people build this positive relationship with food and demystify the fact that a healthier option always has to mean boring. What this means in practical terms is that we become the number one nut butter brand in the UK and we develop more products that sit in other areas of the supermarket in order to become a household name.

7. A piece of advice?

Make sure to do the things you love rather than focus on necessarily doing the 'right' subjects or degrees. I studied art and social sciences at school and university, which I loved, and I now run a multi million pound nut butter brand...things just don't always go in straight lines with your career but what is important is that you feel passion for what you do and success will come.

Job-searching 101

We know it’s that time of year when people start searching for jobs. Have you just graduated and don’t know where to start? or are you questioning whether you want to stay in your current position? This is a stressful time but stay chilled and build out a plan! We have your back and that’s what matters, stressing does nothing but gives you wrinkles and wastes your time.

This is how to proactively search for a job:

This is how to proactively search for a job:

Brainstorm

Firstly, start by brainstorming to figure out what you want to do and what you wish to get out of your next position. Take into consideration your key skills, what are you qualified for, what company feels right for you and why? Don’t doubt yourself take control of your career search and enjoy the ride. Now think of a few options and imagine yourself in that position? How does it make you feel? Are you excited?

Update your CV & Linkedin

Once you’ve brainstormed (Don’t underestimate pen and paper, a spider graph will work) you should now have a better sense of what direction you want to take your career and what kind of jobs you want to apply to. You may find updating LinkedIn and your CV tedious but its important. Think of it as a exciting task that tells an employee your career story to date. Gather information about past jobs, internships, fascinating projects, and key skills. A CV is often a keyword game so make sure your CV mirrors the Job spec too.

Focus on the quality of applications, not the quantity

It can be tempting to just hit “apply” on Indeed to every position that you like the sound of, but, don’t! Instead focus on making a few really strong applications for places you would LOVE to work for, your CV should be customised for each position and you should connect on LinkedIn with the HR department and send a tailored message (get noticed).

Reach out to your contacts

The smart and tactical way to get your resume into the right hands is to use your industry connections. If you have a contact who can direct your resume to the right person, use it. Job searching is about going above and beyond to get noticed. Never under estimate real relationships.

An email template like this could work

“Hi, I hope you’re well and this email finds you! We met [where/when you met] and I wanted to reach out and see how things are going. [I am currently actively looking for a job in data analytics and am a big fan of {insert company name } I am aware you used to work for them? I would love to hear more about your experience working there and we be extremely grateful for any introductions.”

Best of luck, not that you’ll need it.

FFF x