Claire Young Answers Your Start Up Questions

Posted: Wednesday June 30 2021

By: Guest Blogger

Claire Young Answers Your Start Up Questions

Claire YoungClaire Young was made famous by her role as the highly driven runner up of series four of ‘The Apprentice’ where was dubbed a ‘Rottweiler’ by Lord Sugar for her tenacious approach in the boardroom and drive not to quit. She beat 40,000 candidates to reach the final and this experience inspired Claire to set up her own business ‘School Speakers’. It is now the UK’s No 1 speaking agency working with schools, colleges and universities to provide talks to students. She works within the media as a journalist & radio presenter in addition to advising the government on projects which help young people and women, into business.   

To launch the series Claire covers the top questions asked by our working mother readers at MMB Magazine. Have a question for Claire, then email

How do I know if my business idea will work?

Do your research! Take the time to speak to your target market, listen to their feedback and adapt your ideas. Learn about the market which you are in, your competition. Remember knowledge is power and make decisions well informed. Finally, be bold and take the plunge. An idea is worth absolutely nothing unless you do something with it.

When to  make the leap from employed to running your business, when should I hand my notice in?

I think gut instinct will tell you when it’s the right time. You need to give your business a fair shot and gauge interest whilst paying the bills & keeping an income. The point will come when it becomes unmanageable in terms of time and your sanity. You have to mentally stop, sit down and look at what enjoy most and what will you the best return on your time.

I have never sold before, how on earth do I get myself out there?

Big deep breath and to quote Nike – Just Do It. It can be cringe worthy yes but no one else will do it for you and no one can do it as well as you. As an entrepreneur you are your own PR machine. Create an online brand for yourself (LinkedIn, website and appropriate social media), network key events and put yourself out.

Nobody seems interested in taking my calls as I am a small business

If there is a lesson which I have learnt in business is that persistence pays. If I want something enough I am like a dog with a bone and will be relentless achieving it, thus Alan Sugar calling me a Rottweiler. You need to have bucket loads of tenacity, self-belief and resilience. Yes people will say no, not be interested but someone will say yes. You just need to keep positive and keep trying.

How do I build a network

By talking to people and if you find people interesting make the effort with them. I treasure the contacts which I have and I think networking is a bit like physics. What you put into it is what you get out. Proactively look for local networking groups in your business category and go along, nothing ventured nothing gained. When I first moved back to Yorkshire from London I literally spent the first three months networking. It was the good, the bad and the ugly BUT I met people and built myself as profile in the region.

I have been offered a franchise deal should I join them or got it alone?

Again listen to your instinct and seek advice from an accountant/business mentor. I approach decision making ‘what have you got to lose vs what have I got to gain’? If you write it down on paper it should be clear in black and white. As a general rule if in doubt – then don’t!

I am struggle with pricing, how do I know what’s the right price

Pricing is a midway point between what margin you need to make and what the customer is willing to pay.  It’s a juggling act! Do customer research and don’t drive yourself into the ground. Many entrepreneurs work really hard for very little profit. If you are not making money – don’t do it!

People are interested but keep negotiating for deals, should I hold my price or offer the deal to get them on board.

If the deal will offer you value other than cash, for example PR, contacts, profile, then it’s worth doing. If not, say no. It’s a good skill to have saying no. Know your value and stick to it.