Well, today has been quite a day – meetings with a property adviser and with a business account manager at the bank. Both were enthusiastic, kind and fabulously helpful. Somehow I feel drained this evening though – inevitably, I suppose, now that the harsh reality of getting together all the financial, legal and other business aspects is becoming more critical. Ideas are fun, planning is fun, the excitement is undimmed – but I now feel as though I am about to scale the north face of the Eiger, though I know the view will be worth it when I get there!
At least after today I know what I have to do, in much clearer terms than I did before, and if I take it a step at a time I am sure I can succeed. Some juggling will be necessary, there are undoubtedly scary times ahead, but there is no reason at all why the venture can’t get off the ground. Everything will find its form, as a dear friend always says!
I am still feeling humbled and happy that so many people are supporting this project in different ways, from simply expressing encouragement to helping me to obtain premises, from offering to sort books to getting together their mates to help get the site in order when we get that far, and all sorts of other things. So I am still feeling the love, and that plus my unquenchable passion for the project will, I know, help me up that rockface to the summit!
I’m a bit of an idealist, and a bit of a romantic. Well, a lot of both, if truth be told. A bit of a dreamer. I loved Ally McBeal. But I have a project here that requires me to use my head as much as my heart, and I am aware that however passionate I feel about this venture, there are some tough challenges ahead.
Well, I suppose there is only one real challenge ahead – the financial one. I need to have enough money to rent premises, equip them with shelves and furniture and all the accoutrements a small business needs; to pay rates and electricity bills and all of that. I need to generate enough income, once it’s up and running, to sustain the business and hopefully to make a bit of income to help support, in some small way, local charities and community events.
So I am balancing the ideals and the passion with a sobering reminder of what needs to be done on a financial and legal level. This is not my forte, but I am learning a lot, as I read and talk to people. I have a wizzo nephew who can do things like cashflow forecasts. I am writing a business plan and taking advice and just about managing to get my head around what needs to be done.
The biggest challenge of all, though, is getting it all from paper – or computer screen – to reality. Things always look good on paper. To me, anyway… I have to convince others that this is a project worth investing in. I hope to set it up as a co-operative, a scheme that has been successful elsewhere, and which will make it truly a community venture. If you are reading this and live in Kenilworth or nearby, please think about whether you might want to invest a small amount in a community project. If you don’t live anywhere near Kenilworth, you might also want to think about this! I am not ashamed to ask. The rewards will be social rather than financial, but isn’t that something we all need right now?
So I am working out how to face the challenges, and how to become a businesswoman. One thing I do know – without the idealism and the romantic ideas and the passion for what I want to do, I wouldn’t get anywhere at all. I may be a dreamer, but it’s the dream that will get me there.