What made you decide to launch your own business?
Lynne Franks: I'd been working as a young journalist and I couldn't get the job I wanted, so I decided to start my own job - a PR agency from my house when I was 21.
Do you really need the Internet nowadays to work from home?
Lynne Franks: I think it is because of the Internet that we all can work from home. We have more flexiblity for our work - I don't know how I ever managed without it. It's why I created www.seednetwork.com a community for entrepreneurial women.
Do you think women have it harder in the business world than men?
Lynne Franks: Traditionally, women have had to work harder to prove themselves and if they have children, they have to juggle work and life but now, we are learning that we can't be perfect. The world is slow to recognise that women have different needs. This is one of the reasons why so many women start their own businesses.
What positive qualities do you think women bring to business?
Lynne Franks: Women bring intuition, an open way to communicate and a lack of need for power in the traditional male sense.
How much cash do you need to start your own business?
Lynne Franks: It really depends on what kind of business it is. You need to be sure that you still have enough money to live, so be sure to keep your day job when you are first starting out then, work on your budget. For more tips check out the SEED Handbook in the SEED Shop section of this website.
Do you think it's a bad idea to work with good friends?
Lynne Franks: Business partners can be a very fragile relationship. It can work very well, but it could also go wrong and you could not only lose a business partner but also a friend.
I want to go into business but not on my own. How do I find a business partner and what qualities should I look for?
Lynne Franks: You need to see YOUR strengths and weaknesses and decide what you are looking for in a partner to compliment these. I think the best way to find someone is word of mouth, referrals, etc. If you refer to the SEED Community Board you can meet potential business partners. by posting a note there expressing your intentions.
When you have a great idea for a business, what's the next step?
Lynne Franks: The next step for you is RESEARCH. Make sure you are grounded on the potential market. Depending on your idea, you must see if there are similar ideas out there, read more articles in trade magazines, Internet, newspapers and media to see what is out there already in your area, see how they are doing, what the competition is like, etc
How do you get the banks to take you seriously as a businesswoman?
Lynne Franks: Firstly you must believe in yourself and describe your business very carefully, take a detailed business plan, get good advice from friends, lawyers and accountants and be aware that the bank may need some sort of guarantee.
I'm thinking of starting my own business and have an idea, but nothing more as yet. Will my local bank's business advisor be able to help me if I'm just thinking of starting up my business or do I have to have it all planned out first?
Lynne Franks: They won't do the job for you, but they certainly will help. Most towns have government advisory bureaux so you can ask them, but also talk to your friends and family. It's a good idea to find some sort of mentor to guide you through.
One of my customers always pays late and it's beginning to cause cash flow problems - how should I handle it?
Lynne Franks: You must explain to the customer how this is affecting your business and will have to start charging interest. Be open about how it is affecting you and ask them to work with you in partnership.
Where do you get your energy from, I mean how do you stay motivated?
Lynne Franks: I often ask myself the same question! :) I try to meditate as much as I can in the morning before the day starts. I exercise and I try to eat well and my motivation is that I'm always looking for new ideas and that excites me. I love what I do - that is my motivation.
What's the best way to build up courage and confidence to actually go it alone?
Lynne Franks: Firstly you must acknowledge how courageous you are in your daily life. You DO need a support team of friends and family. It all comes down to believing in yourself. You can plan and plan, but without courage, it will never get off the ground.
Do you have any tips for coping with burn out at work?
Lynne Franks: Definitely - find time to meditate or find quiet time. Don't come out of the office tired, and then hit the bars - it will just make you more tired and feel more burnt out. You need to look after your body - exercise and eat right and try to get motivated again.
How do I get the work experience I need before setting up my business?
Lynne Franks: Research the leaders in your chosen industry and apply for jobs until you get what you want. Be brave! It is essential to get experience in a similar industry that you are interested in.
What is your biggest problem at work?
Lynne Franks: My biggest problem is finding the time to do everything I want to do. Time management is difficult to conquer.
Is it true that the characters from Absolutely Fabulous were based on you?
Lynne Franks: Edina is supposed to be based on me. I find it very funny, I love the programme. I personally don't think I'm anything like the character but I do see similarities.
What was your most productive decade (workwise) so far?
Lynne Franks: Every decade gets better and better, they were all really different and exciting but I'm very excited about the 21st century.
Is it possible to start a business without any capital?
Lynne Franks: Yes it is. I did, but it depends on the business. As long as you keep your job to keep a salary coming in, have a computer at home and can get some business cards printed up, you CAN do it.
Do you have any tips on how to structure your working day?
Lynne Franks: It's important to keep time to yourself - time to breathe, so they say. Drink lots of water, make lots of lists and don't beat yourself up if you don't get everything done. There is always another day.
How can you tell when to give up on a business idea and when to persevere?
Lynne Franks: That is a good question. When you've lost enough money that you can afford to lose, that's probably when you should give up.
What do you think about home working schemes. How do you detect the scams?
Lynne Franks: You might want to check out the company, ask for references, etc. Also, speak to others. Word of mouth is a very powerful resource.
What are the biggest benefits and pitfalls of starting your own business?
Lynne Franks: The benefits are - you are working for yourself, you have creative freedom, and I think it is much more satisfying but the downsides are that it's a big risk and you feel isolated. It's important to be part of a network (like SEED). Networking is important - women are very good at that.
How did you deal with problems you met when starting out?
Lynne Franks: Always be prepared to ask for help when it is something you don't know.
How can you really gauge a market for trends?
Lynne Franks: This is something I've always been doing. It's important to keep your nose to the ground, and be sure you read all the right media and go into the stores and see what people are buying. Ask your friends and just keep sniffing!
Do you think it's harder or easier to start your own business nowadays? (as compared to when you first started your business Lynne)?
Lynne Franks:I think it is easier now. There is a lot more acceptance now in the business industry for women, but it is still hard. You have to have a lot of passion and common sense.