Ali Edwards

This is my story

 

I am a mum to a little girl of 16 months living in Tonbridge and have recently decided not to return to work after being at my last company, Paperchase, for nearly 10 years.

I’ve decided to set up this business as after working in retail for over 15 years, and understanding how businesses drive sales and profit, I want to be able to provide that to growing and start up businesses. I also want to pass the knowledge I have on for carefully managing sales and profit so that you end up with a positive bottom line.

The business is a management consultancy, focusing on helping start-ups and small businesses grow. We focus on the business plans, strategy and the ‘How’. How can you start up and make sure you understand the financials? How do you plan your business activities? How do you grow your business? We also look to implement specific stock and sales report/excel based systems, due to the merchandising experience the business has, with any additional training and development which may be required.

In a nutshell

  • Name: Faika Khurram
  • Company:  fkp Consultancy.  Building the Foundations for Successful Retailing
  • Established: August 2017
  • Web: www.fkpconsultancy.com
Faika FKP

We focus on making your business commercial and providing you with the tools to make your business journey that little bit easier.

Why did you choose to launch this business?

In the last 2 businesses I have worked in, my primary role has been setting up processes to enable them to run better operationally and commercially, with the focus on the bottom line but also the development of the people within it.

I feel like those skills are transferable and having seen so many businesses who just need some guidance, I have decided to focus on helping them on their journey.  I also love building things! Excel has been a big part of my career and I really enjoy that part of what I do.

How has the journey from being a full time employee to running your own business been?

I would be lying if I said it wasn’t nerve wracking as well as exhilarating.

When you run your own business, you are the decision maker and you are the person that needs to get everything done. However, you do this at your pace, and you focus on the things which you feel are important and are going to make a difference, without having to go through a lot of red tape.  Launching this has also ignited the passion I have for retail, which sometimes you lose along the way when you are working full time.

How do you juggle being a full time mum with launching this business?

Its tough.  It’s still very new (only a couple of months old) so I’m having to put a lot of extra time to making it all happen.  My little girl only goes to nursery one day a week and the rest of the time I do this when she is asleep.  However I am learning more and more as I go on, and ultimately I know I’m doing this to build a better future for her.

What are some of the lessons have you learnt so far?

Rely on those around you know! Networking is a big part of launching a business, especially when you are a service and not someone selling specific products.  Although social media marketing is really important, use that more as a presence when you are launching and make sure you talk to as many people as you can!

Joining local business networking groups really makes you feel part of a community so join up to as many as you can.

Also you will have high days and low days, just try and keep yourself busy on the low ones and think of other things you can do to grow your business.

What experience do you have in this field?

I have worked for places such as BHS, John Lewis and Paperchase, all on the Merchandising side.

The roles have all meant being able to deal with problems and coming up with solutions to fix them, whether that’s driving sales and coming up with the plans to do that, or by looking into what the best times it would be for a store to receive their stock so that it wouldn’t impact when customers where in the store, to making sure the most commercial products were at the front of the store.

Keeping your vision/brand true to its origins is the most important thing for me to help you with but also making sure that you make money at the same time is highly important!

Why should start ups/small businesses use a consultancy?
Starting any business or being part of a growing business is a really exciting place to be.  However it can be stressful, and it’s always important to have the right planning tools, the right processes, the right reporting tools, the right channels of making sure your message gets across and that the business plan and sales forecasting is in place. That’s where I come in.  I take that part of the stress away from you so that you can concentrate on the parts which are growing, whether that’s the product or the service you have to offer.