APPRENTICE star and vice-chairperson of West Ham FC Karren Brady answers all your careers questions.
Today she helps out a business owner who has hardly had customers since lockdown was eased and a woman who wants to know whether she's entitled to equal pay.
Q: I own a small ceramic painting workshop and cafe. I was really excited to get the shop open again after lockdown and I put loads of effort into ensuring I could operate safely according to government guidelines.
But since reopening a couple of weeks ago, we’ve had hardly any customers. It’s disheartening and I’m starting to panic about the business.
What can I do to get it going again, or has the world changed so much I just need to give up on it?
Lara, via email
A: Don’t panic – plan. First, you need to communicate to your customers that you are open and explain all the measures you have taken so they feel confident they will be safe in your environment.
Start an online marketing campaign and reach out to previous customers with targeted emails. Show great pictures of your food, cafe, painting activities and staff, and emphasise that you’re a local business looking for local support.
Maybe there is a nearby hotel that has taken lots of bookings from families and you could see if they will promote your service to their guests – you could give them a small commission for everyone who books with you.
Share positive reviews and invite the local press to come down and feature your business in magazines, newspapers and on websites. Also, can you adapt your business? Can you take it to local schools or care homes that you can offer group bookings safely in their environment?
Look at what your competition is doing – call them and ask what they have done and what has worked. Check you have taken advantage of all the government support available.
These may be difficult times, but you owe it to yourself to do everything you can to get back up and running.
Bossing It is Fabulous’ series about ordinary women who have launched incredible businesses.
It aims to inspire other women and show that if these ladies can do it, so can you!
- Read more at Thesun.co.uk/topic/bossing-it.
Q: One of the top bosses at the company I work for has told me I’ve been earmarked to take over my immediate manager’s job when he retires at the end of the year, though I’ll also retain elements of my current role.
I read your column about men and women doing the same job being entitled to the same pay – but would this still apply when taking over from the previous manager?
Maura, via email
A: Congratulations on this news! My first advice would be to focus on getting that promotion – as being earmarked for a role and actually getting it are quite different.
You have some time to prepare, so put effort into doing a great presentation on why you are suitable for the role, things you would improve or change and ideas you have for moving forwards.
The best time to ask for a raise is when you’re getting a promotion, so make sure you have a list of things you’d like to discuss, including the salary, your title and maybe additional training or projects you want to work on in the future.
If you know the salary of the person you are replacing, you know where to start, but if you don’t then do some research, as you want to be sure you are paid the going rate.
You may find it won’t pay exactly the same, but it’s up to you if you agree to it or not.
There is no law that you will have to be paid the same as the incumbent, as there may be reasons for this, such as length of service and experience, but you want to know your worth!
- Got a careers question you want Karren to answer? Email [email protected]
Compiled by: Claire Frost
- Karren cannot answer emails personally. Content is intended as general guidance only and does not constitute legal advice
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