This is a true story of how a business angel could have helped my friend, she was tipped at being a self made millionaire but instead after 3 years she claimed bankruptcy and gave it all up. I have changed her name and omitted details of the invention to protect her identity.
I met Sarah on an access course and found her nice but a bit bossy and competitive. One day we were talking about going to university and she asked me what I planned to do and what she thought would make her the most money. I had plans to study computer science and suggested CAD (computer aided design) would probably bring in the most money. In the end I became pregnant and my partner and I decided to start up our own business from home. We got a loan from the Princes Trust to start us off. My friend went on to University and I didn’t here from her again until 3 years later when she was just about to graduate.
I was watching the local news and my old friend Sarah was the main story. She was being tipped to become a self made millionaire all because of her final year dissertation. She had invested a product that was tipped to sell world wide and make her a fortune. She had won numerous awards and had been asked to appear on a number of television shows including This Morning and Living Genius. There was a big hipe around her and this new product and she was getting investors left right and centre. The university bent over backwards to help their star pupil and advised her on what to do next.
Around that time unfortunately for me my relationship had crumbled and my partner had left me for some cleaner and took the business with him, leaving me a single parent on benefits. I tried to get a job but was told by my local job centre that even though I was more qualified than the job centre lady interviewing me I would be not be better off going to work infact worse off. This made decide to go to University.
After my first year at uni I had seen my friend on a program and thought I must get I back in touch with her as she seemed to be doing so well and I was pleased for her. She was a hard worker and obviously deserved all this attention and the rewards from it. I got back in touch with her through a mutual friend and I popped round to her new business premises to see her. She was sat behind a desk with all her awards and certificates behind her on the wall and she looked like the cat how had got the cream, and who could blame her. I was a little envious I guess but I thought she had got a little two big for her boots and all she talked about was her her her. The premises were huge, far to huge I thought for a starting out business. She was renting part of the space out as it was so huge and the costs were so high. I remember thinking then that this will fail, she had daft ideas and was not very business minded. Her husband didn’t seem to have a clue about anything and was little help.
She was going on about a global company that want to buy her product and sell it via their outlets around the world, but they want to change the material and use their name and packaging. Sarah however wanted to sell her product with her own box and packaging and sell to little outlets around the county and give the smaller businesses a chance. Big mistake! That company would have made her the millionaire that everyone claimed she was going to be. Had I been her investor or business partner or adviser I would of jumped at that offer. I had already thought that I liked the idea of the product but I too thought it would sell better if it was a different material. I daren’t of told her that as this was her baby and she would argue the toss.
She plodding on for another 18 months or so and things never really took off. She was running at a loss and there was no sign of the millions she thought she would make. After another year she gave up completely. The entire buzz around her and the invention vanished and she was left stressed and feeling a failure.
So the moral of this story is it takes more than just a good invention and hard work to make a business become successful. I believe if she had been given the right firm advice and ignored all the hype and press surrounding her she would be that millionaire. Her invention was good, but needed tweaking so as to make it a global success. She should have listened to the advice of professionals and looked at her invention as a business venture not as her precious baby. By turning down a big contract with a huge global company she lost out. But I believe if she had the right backing she could have been a huge success.