Bianca was runner up on the BBC Television program The Apprentice in 2014 and an expert on the Channel 4 programme ‘Save Well, Spend Better’. Bianca’s clients include Accenture, EY, Facebook, Google, Deloitte, Microsoft, CMS etc.
I am an entrepreneur, (sometimes it still feels funny saying that) but I feel like I have always been an entrepreneur! From a very young age I was always interested in selling things to make money! But now I recognise that business is about more than money it is about finding something that you are passionate about that enables you to make a difference. In 2012 I left the corporate world to start my first business ‘The Be Group’ with the focus on helping individuals understand and utilise their personal brand to enhance their career trajectory. I saw people who were academically astute with great dreams and goals but were unable to articulate those goals or showcase who they were to key stakeholders. We are now the ‘go-to’ personal branding company in the UK, supporting individuals in achieving their version of professional success, working with a list of amazing brands.
In 2014 I was also a finalist on BBC TV show ‘The Apprentice’, which is where I pitched my idea to redefine nude hosiery. This resulted in the creation of my diverse hosiery brand “Bianca Miller London”. This brand re defined nude for a variety of industries in retail and enabled more women to embrace the beauty of their natural skin tone. During this time, I advocated for more brands and for more women to understand the value of their voice and contribution.
In 2012 when I first started my business, I was delivering training and talks for corporate organisations but because of The Apprentice I was brought to the attention of more events and organisations. This led to me becoming a keynote speaker I’m travelling around the world delivering speeches about my journey and top tips.
In 2015 as keynote speaker at a business expo, after my talk I had a queue of around 2.5 hours of people asking questions about how to make their dreams a reality. Byron Cole, my husband co-author and fellow entrepreneur was helping me at this event. On the drive home, we felt that there must be a book out there to provide the insight and knowledge that the people in the queue were seeking, but there wasn’t. So, we decided to write a book to provide that step by step ‘pocket mentor’ experience on how to start, grow and scale a business and that led to the creation of our first book Self Made: The Definitive Guide to Business Start-Up Success in 2017. The book became a number one bestseller and resulted in us creating a mentoring community.
Over the last four years, Byron and I have supported hundreds of entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs to build their business or side hustle and to create multiple streams of income. This is something I am very proud of and passionate about. I absolutely love being able to help people identify the actionable steps that they can take to enhance their create trajectory, their business, or their life in general. What I found over the years was that people were struggling with more than just the clear, actionable steps needed to enhance their business or their career. They were struggling with the personal requirements, stresses, strains, and sacrifices needed to be achieve their version of success.
Which resulted in us writing our second book, The Business Survival Kit. Based on our observations, we saw people who were struggling with stress, anxiety, time management, romantic relationships, impostor syndrome, confidence, dealing with rejection, stakeholder management, building active networks and so on and so forth. And this was preventing them from making their goals a reality and enabling them to get ahead without losing out on love, life and happiness. So, in 2019 we pitched the book to a variety of publishing houses and Penguin made us an offer. Little did we know … a pandemic would follow and this book would be more useful than we had ever predicted!
In a remote and hybrid working world this book is definitely a guide to help readers to survive and thrive!
No, unfortunately not. As I said from a very young age, I was interested in business, so I decided to do a business A-level. I then went off to university to study business management and economics. Then I completed my degree in a recession! At that point it didn’t feel as though starting a business was a viable option, so I went and got a job. And that job could well have led me into a powerful career in a fantastic organisation, but that entrepreneurial itch kept raising its ugly head haha!
So, although I didn’t have a plan so to speak, I have always been very solutions orientated even in my career. I looked at the problems that the organisation was facing, and I thought about how I could be part of the solution and that mindset has certainly led me along the path that I continued to be on.
And quite frankly, I still don’t have a plan.
I believe that life is an ever-evolving process. And therefore, along the journey I have goals that I work on, that I create little action plans to achieve, but I don’t have a master plan. And I’m OK with that.
Of course, who hasn’t? And I think it’s the challenges that make you who you are and gives you the experience, knowledge, skill set and the ability to adapt to new situations along the way. Throughout the new book, The Business Survival Kit, Byron and I talk about the challenges that we have faced individually and together as a couple and as business partners. Being in business, whether as an entrepreneur or a career professional, doesn’t come without challenge. – especially if you continue to put yourself out there.
That is a tough question. There have been a few accolades that I’m really proud of, from being on Linkedin’s power profile list, judged as the top ten leader out of 20 million members in the UK to being on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for my contribution to E-commerce via my diverse hosiery brand. To writing a bestselling book and supporting thousands of career professionals on their journey to securing their personal brand.
But I think the thing that I am most proud of… Is just being able to support individuals in achieving their goals and dreams. I think we all have a purpose. And I truly believe my purpose is in helping others to achieve their purpose. So, whether that’s via my books, my talks, my workshops, my coaching, or my mentoring, I am proud to have helped people achieve their version of success.
What, other than my unwavering charm? Ha ha ha.
I think choosing a partner who has similar goals, ambition and determination. And is extremely supportive of my every move. Unfortunately, throughout my time of mentoring and coaching women, I have seen so many of them held back from achieving their purpose, by having partners who were unsupportive of their progress and journey. This has led me to realise how important a supportive partner can be in this thing called life.
I love mentoring. It’s probably arguably one of my favourite things to do. I love listening to someone’s ideas and goals and working with them to make an action plan that works. I think mentoring can be a pivotal part of achieving one success and goals. I only wish that when I started out in business, I had the knowledge or wherewithal to find a mentor sooner, who could saved me time and helped me overcome some challenges and avoid others.
More doing and less talking.
There are a variety of different facets that would contribute to the conversation surrounding gender and racial equality. But the main problem that I have observed is lots and lots of meetings and conversations and panels that unfortunately do not always result in active change. I would love to see more conversations and ally ship that result in some form of implementation, with the minorities involved in the change.
Try it all and fail fast. (that is two isn’t it… forever the rule breaker)
I think it’s important to embrace the fearlessness and naivety that comes with youth, as you get older, you become more fearful. Although that isn’t necessarily the right way to think or feel, that is often the reality. So certainly, when I was younger I was more fearless. And I would have encouraged myself or any young person out there to try it all – see what you like, get a feel for what you are good at and fail fast.
My next big goal is to mentor and coach 500 women in the next 12 months. I want to help them to create an action plan and take the active steps to achieve their version of success. Whether that’s in a professional career or as an entrepreneur. I have seen what mentoring can do for the lives and legacy of others and I want to support more people along the journey.
Then I would love to write a third book…
That is after publishing this book of course!
Starting a business isn’t easy. In fact, it can be scary, exhausting and demoralising. When it finally takes off, even though you’re fulfilling a lifelong dream, it can be a struggle to keep up with the rest of your life. How can you cope with the inevitable stresses and strains along the way?
In The Business Survival Kit, serial entrepreneurs Byron Cole and Bianca Miller-Cole prepare you for the ride of your life. With straight-talking advice and insights from leading experts it will help you answer the fundamental question of whether you can handle being an entrepreneur in the first place and then help you navigate the inevitable ups and many downs that go hand in hand with that decision. Learn how to:
WeAreTheCity have five copies of Bianca and Byron’s new book to giveaway for our readers!
If you would like to be in with a chance of winning a book, all you have to do is follow both Bianca and Byron on Instagram, then email us at [email protected]. Winners will be chosen at random on 24th September 2021. Winners will be notified via email.