After my Monday morning fix of playing tennis, I started the week with a serious look at my diary to organise myself as efficiently as possible over the coming weeks. It’s incredibly hectic right now as we’re on the investment circuit to raise the funds we need to launch and market our ‘version 2’ site and expand the business. I’m very confident about our growth plans, but the state of the UK economy means we’re going to have to work harder to reassure investors that their money is safe with us.
I work long into the night completing the spec for the new website, working more on my business plan and financials and preparing my presentation ahead of an investment pitch, which will be made in a couple of weeks to over 70 people. I am determined to conquer my fear of public-speaking if it kills me!
On Tuesday, I’m pleasantly surprised to receive an email from the CBI/Real Business Growing Business Awards 2008 saying I’ve been short-listed for the ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ category. It looks like I’m the only girl in the category too, which makes me smile. It also says I have to attend an interview with the judging panel, which includes one of my favourite dragons Duncan Bannatyne. Better start preparing for that one then…
I head up to Kings Cross for a meeting with The Big Issue founder John Bird, and chairman of BigIssueInvest fund Nigel Kershaw. We met at the Girls! Make Your Mark awards last week, where CitySocialising won the People’s Choice award as voted by readers of handbag.com. John’s such a funny guy and the meeting goes well, with potential investment in the pipeline. Afterwards, I head into Soho to meet a development agency to hear their pitch for the new site build project, then head to the pub to meet some old friends – it feels like ages since I’ve been out socially, which is a bit odd considering I run a business all about socialising… I must remember that all work and no play will make me a dull girl.
Wednesday begins with a look at the recent figures, including revenues and site stats, to make sure the business is going according to plan. So far the recent upheaval in the City doesn't seem to be affecting us at all, thankfully - we've just had another record month, our fifth in a row. Even August was well up on last year - perhaps people weren't spending money on foreign holidays, so they were more inclined to go out and enjoy themselves closer to home. I flit between this and communicating with my current developers on a few new features we’re implementing on the current site. My work day ends with a 2-hour Skype to Silicon Valley to a mentor-like contact, who’s working in the mobile space there. She gives me her thoughts on my business plan and tips for improvement, which is great. And then I’m off to the gym for my mid-week Yoga class.
I head into central London on Thursday morning, back to my old university stomping ground at UCL for the weekly OpenCoffee event to catch a ‘Ruby on Rails’ demo. I get some good advice from Tipped.co.uk founder Joel, chew the fat with a few new start-ups and meet another investment lead. Come evening time, I find myself at the Hilton to hear the fantastic Mike Harris talk about his tips on business and how to succeed in the current climate. Mike is a true genius and, it seems, a great guy too. I managed to beat the crowd and give him my business card, hoping that we could meet so that he could help hone down my investment pitch. In my dreams! The guy must have hundreds of people a day that want to meet him.
My week ends with a business review to the g2i (Gateway 2 Investment) team. It seems to go very well as I get invited to a dinner next week at the Bluebird in Chelsea with some investment bods. On the way home I pop into Selfridges to buy a new skirt (for said dinner), then head home to finish preparing my presentation – log off at 10pm, slump on sofa and sleep!
Sanchita Saha is the CEO and founder of CitySocialising.com, the UK's leading city-based events and friends network for professionals. She was recently named on Management Today's list of '35 Women Under 35'. This month she also won the People's Choice title at the recent Girls Make Your Mark awards (in association with handbag.com).