Karren Brady’s career advice for someone who can’t fund their business idea

APPRENTICE star and West Ham United vice-chairman Karren Brady answers your career questions and meets an inspirational CEO.

Here she gives a reader tips on how to find financing for a business idea if you cannot raise the money yourself.

Karren Brady is a British executive and television personality


Karren Brady is a British executive and television personality

Q) I’m 65 years old and have always had ambitions – even now I have a small window cleaning business where I work part time which I really enjoy.

I recently had an idea that I think could help victims of domestic violence and I really believe in it, but not having the financial resources to invest I’m not sure what to do with it .

I spoke to an innovation company but they wanted £500 for a patent search which I can’t afford. Do you have any tips on how I can advance my idea?

Lorraine, via email

A) Turning an idea into a business is no easy feat, but there are plenty of guides and resources out there, and you sound ambitious and determined enough to make it happen!

You can get help from a local patent library – qualified staff can help you find a similar idea much cheaper than hiring an innovation company. If you don’t find anything similar, you can continue your application.

However, patenting a concept can become an expensive process, so you will likely need some funding.

I would recommend creating a non-disclosure agreement that you want anyone you want to discuss your idea to sign – has a useful step-by-step guide on how to do this.

Without an NDA, you run the risk that others could use your ideas or information without your permission.

Also, search online as there are numerous social enterprise grants you can apply for.

In addition to funding, these offer mentoring, resources, and networking opportunities that could be extremely helpful to you.

Much luck!

A day in the life of…

dr Chloë Butler, 45, is the founder and CEO of Eighth & Eden, an aesthetic and wellness clinic. She lives in Worcestershire with her husband Greg, 50, and their 11-year-old twin daughters, Francesca and Georgina.

I wake up at…

6.15 a.m. I go straight into the shower, where I mentally plan the day. I have a religious pre-makeup skin routine: SkinCeuticals Vitamin C Serum, Medik8 Hyaluronic Acid Serum and a SkinCeuticals SPF. After the school run, I take our four dogs to the dog daycare center and then I’m home at 8:30 a.m.

A normal day includes…

I walk the two minutes to the clinic — we live on the 14-acre site — and arrive at 8:50 a.m., where a team huddles over a cup of coffee. We may have some VIP guests – in the past we’ve welcomed Jo and Leah Wood and Chloe Delevingne – who want extra pampering and a private relaxation area. The clinic is very reassuring. We diffuse our signature scent with notes of geranium, sandalwood, musk and warm spices and light candles everywhere.

While my husband handles the website, HR, and finances, I am back-to-back with clients performing facials, fillers, and other treatments. To grow the business, I take small steps back from a customer-facing role, which isn’t easy as customers often just want to see me!

Everyone takes an hour to eat lunch, and I usually come home to make Greg and I omelettes or smoked salmon and avocado on rye bread. At 5.30pm I am back home and prepare dinner while the girls chat with me. When I work in the evenings, I look to Pinterest for inspiration for treatments or clinic decorations.

The best thing about my job is…

Do something that makes people feel better. I also love the fast pace of the business, how it grows and how my ideas come to life.

And the worst…

In my previous career as a dentist, I closed the door and forgot about work. Now work is time-consuming, which can become a bit much. But it’s a small price to pay for what we’ve achieved!

I relax by…

Go for a walk with the dogs. Once the girls are in bed, the question is, “What can we stay up for on Netflix?” I’m always in bed by 10pm.

be a boss

Bossing It is Fabulous series about ordinary women who have started incredible companies.

It aims to inspire other women and show that if these ladies can do it, so can you!


Compiled by: Claire Frost & Gemma Calvert

Karren cannot answer emails personally. The content is provided for general guidance only and does not constitute legal advice. Karren Brady’s career advice for someone who can’t fund their business idea

Jessica MacLeish

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