Bristol Women unlocking their enterprise potential ….

In Thursday’s #GEW14 blog, Outset Bristol’s enterprise coach, Amy Morse, one of today’s guest speakers, talks entrepreneurialism and how women in Bristol can get involved.

Have you ever dreamed of being your own boss?  With over 99% of businesses in the UK being small and medium sized enterprises [SMEs], you’re not alone!

Many more people work for small businesses than large ones and many of those small businesses are micro businesses (businesses employing less that 5 people), with 62.6% being sole traders. So, in other words, at least 62.6% of small businesses are run by someone who is self employed.

As I am sure all Bristol Woman readers will know, Bristol is one of the most entrepreneurial cities in the UK and the independent spirit runs deep here! We’re immensely proud, for example, that Gloucester Road is the longest street of independent shops in Europe.

The challenges and joys of running your own business

While self-employment is a real option for people, it has to be said upfront that it is by no means an easy one.  However, for busy women in particular, it can help us to overcome many of the barriers we still face as women in the workplace. It is a saddening that there are still employers who think twice before employing women of childbearing age. And it is concerning that there are very few women on the boards of top companies and that women continue to be under-represented in enterprise and government. Women still face very real challenges in male dominated work environments.

Nevertheless, working women and working mums are good at parallel processing! I recently read an apt quotation to illustrate this: ‘ If you want to get something done, give it to a working mum’.  

Why should we have to choose to either have children or a career? Life isn’t as black and white as that. How can we combine the two, if that is what we want to do? Well … being self employed can allow you to work when it suits you, at a convenient location, or even from home.  You can fit your work around family or even engage them in the process. It can support financial independence as well as using your many and varied skills, talents and creativity.

Making sure your small business doesn’t run the risk of failure

We would say that financial issues are the main reasons businesses fail. Small businesses finding that they do not have enough income to pay bills or overstretching their resources.

Another reason for business failure can be a lack of understanding of your marketplace.  When scoping out your small business offer, you will always need to be specific about who your customers really are and who your main competitors alongside a very savvy understanding of the general landscape of your marketplace sector. Then – you need to adapt and develop your product or service to reflect this.

While all this thinking and planning around your new business idea may seem like an ominous and onerous task, and getting to grips with your finances can be frightening, the key is to tackle it head on. Don’t avoid researching your new business idea and marketplace in detail and please don’t go blindly into a new venture.  If you don’t understand and test the market, you will be doing just that.

Seek advice!

We would always urge potential women entrepreneurs to seek advice, support and training before launching a business.  Not doing this can be another big reason that businesses fail. A little research will show you that there are many schemes that can help you through the early stages of scoping out the validity of your business idea. Some schemes are paid for and some are free.

If self employment is something you are considering, check out our website at or call us on 0800 0322 903. We would love to hear from you!

But most importantly, do something you are passionate about.  If you love what you do, you will  never work a day in your life! We know that the Bristol Woman team wholeheartedly agrees with that concept!


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