DO what you love and be yourself is the advice a business mentor gives budding entrepreneurs.

Karen Taylor spent 25 years working as a project manager for large corporations from defence to banks and pharmaceuticals, including Astra Zeneca in Alderley Edge.

"When I got made redundant I wanted to share what I know with small business owners," said Karen, from Goostrey, who now works for herself as a business mentor and website designer.

After offering simple snippets of advice once a week on a social media platform, she has published a book entitled '101 Business Tips'.

Packed with little gems of advice, she offers practical, simple pointers to help new starters avoid pitfalls.

"It is a rollercoaster working for yourself," said Karen, who enjoys problem solving and helped one businesswoman triple her turnover.

"There are ups and downs, good months and bad months but you have to look at the whole picture.

"Do what you love is the first tip because it's the most important.

Karen Taylor and Sue France, who featured the weekly business tips on her Facebook group Sue France Creative Connecting

Karen Taylor and Sue France, who featured the weekly business tips on her Facebook group 'Sue France Creative Connecting'

"This is your chance to show the world the thing in life that you are most passionate about."

Identifying what makes your idea unique is crucial to success.

"No two businesses are the same," said Karen. "We are all different. You need to know why you are different and promote that point."

Like fledgling entrepreneurs bidding their ideas to investors on BBC's Dragon's Den, you must ensure your business is viable.

Use skills and knowledge you already have, advises Karen, but make sure your product or service has a market.

"Only do something people want and are willing to pay for." said Karen. "Otherwise it might just be a hobby."

Patience and painstaking attention to detail is vital.

Knutsford Guardian:

Karen and her dog Bob, a Lhasa Apso

"It can take five years before you are there," she said. "It takes a long time to make contacts and people get to know you."

Adding a special touch can make a big impact.

"Personalising, going that extra mile, doing something different can make you stand out. I received a product in the post with a little postcard inside. It was a lovely surprise."

Karen's book '101 Business Tips' is available from Amazon and Waterstones. The guide includes comments from local entrepreneurs who have already used her tips to improve their businesses. 

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