Saira Khan

Saira Khan

Hi Saira! You’re back with Trade Your Way To The USA - what is it that appeals to you about the show and its concept?

It brings basic business concepts to young people in a format that is relevant to them and with which they can engage. The show gives the message that if you have an idea and the right skills, you could one day run your own business and be your own boss.

For those children who have ideas but don’t know where to start – can you share your three top tips to get a business off the ground?

1. Find out if there are any potential customers for your product/service. You could do your own customer survey for free on Facebook and ask friends and family what they think.

2. Make sure you have the sales skills as with any product, idea, or service, you have to sell it! Find out if you have selling skills by doing a car boot sale and see if you can persuade people to buy at your price.

3. If you want to test a product or a service out you could have a yard sale or ask your school if you can use the school fete to sell or test your idea. Any money that is raised can go towards the school charity.

Since taking part in The Apprentice you’ve achieved so much - what has the journey been like for you and what has been your biggest accomplishment?

It’s been an incredible journey and I have enjoyed every minute of it. I have a successful presenting role now working for both the BBC and ITV.

My biggest achievement in my life will always be my two children - I spend a lot of time with them ensuring that they are well mannered, polite and kind. Being a mother is the hardest job out there.

Why do you think it’s so important for business skills to be taught as part of the national curriculum?

Children need to learn that money does not grow on trees and that it is earned through work. We need to ensure that our Children grow up learning the values of saving, budgeting, investing and sharing. It’s key that children understand that money is a means to unlock opportunities and better yourself. I think business skills give individuals great life skills.

Children need to be confident around money and that can only be achieved if they actually have ago at making it and spending it in a safe environment. Every school should have an enterprise day.

Saira is currently presenting Trade Your Way to the USA

What advice would you give to parents, to get their kids interested in business?

What I do with my kids is the following:

1. Show them what money looks like – get them to touch it, feel it, talk about whose on the money and tell them about the Bank of England.

2. When shopping I get my five year old Zac to tell me the price of the things I am buying and then asking him to put it into my trolley.

3. I explain things like BOGOF – and that if you get 25% more its best to buy it.

4. I get him to hand the money over and get the receipt.

5. I play shops with him and through role play I try and get him to understand buying, selling and adding up.

6. The key thing is to make it fun and relevant to the world we live in.

What are the three key things you look for in a good business plan?

1. Credibility – do the numbers stack up? Look at other people's business models and if they work, then there is a high percentage yours will too.

2. Can the business plan demonstrate that it can be better than the competition in the same market? You have to demonstrate that you can lead the through your product/service and win over market share.

3. The people behind the plan. Can they demonstrate passion, knowledge and the conviction to keep going?

What is your advice for new start-ups and anyone who is reluctant to start a business?

It’s a difficult time to start anything in this economic climate. Banks are not lending so easily and investors are being very picky about what they want to put their money into.

If I had a full time job, I would keep that and work on my start up at the same time until I got to a point where the start-up was giving me a profit I could live off. Starts up are stressful and it takes time to make money, but if you have the passion and the conviction and some money  - I'd say, go for it.

As well as a business woman you are also a mum - how do you find managing a successful and busy career with parenthood - where’s the balance?

There is no balance - as a self-employed person you have to work otherwise you don't get an income, it’s that simple. I delegate, have a good support team around me, and if I can take shortcuts I do.

I am a TV presenter, I run my own business, work on two TV shows and go to the gym everyday – I wish there was a balance!

Time management is key and being highly organised is essential. I have lots of energy so I am lucky that I don't run out of steam so easily.

How would you describe your parenting style?

Hard but fair!

Finally, what’s coming up for you for the rest of the year?

I am co-presenting ITV'S prime time consumer show - The Martin Lewis Moneyshow and I am also working on expanding the miamoo brand to China.

Trade Your Way To The USA is on every day at 4:30pm on the CBBC Channel

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