We work with start-ups, SMEs, Corporates – at all times having the same objective of helping you to achieve your goals.
After nearly twenty years of working with start-ups across various sectors; a great deal within the food and drink sector during the past ten years – I have a clear understanding of the challenges that they face. Not just the commercial challenges but the challenges of keeping a sense of purpose, developing resilience, growing a team, selecting agency partners, combating the potential loneliness at the top – and in amongst this, keeping perspective on life outside of work. I have direct experience of working with many individuals, partnerships and teams – from an initial idea to helping them through the first stages of business and forward to ongoing growth management. My strategic marketing/ communications role has extended way beyond the initial brief, to be a trusted support to enable the next steps for these businesses. This experience is now allowing me to extend these relationships further into one to one, partnership and team coaching. My aim is to provide an environment for individuals and teams to feel confident in their decisions through working together. Sometimes in start-ups it can be unknown territory, so having a trusted and experienced confidant is a way to test – new skills, approaches, explore possibilities and fresh ideas – before taking them to a wider audience.
After start-ups come SMEs – these come in all shapes and sizes and I have worked with them all along the way! Whether a rapidly growing start-up, trying to catch hold of itself as decisions are made, investors appeased and expansion plans decided upon; or a longstanding family business taking leaps forward for the next generation, or to be prepared for a potential sale or other exit strategy. All have challenges, often centred around dealing with growth and how to best implement this. This means a lot of decisions and dealing with the consequences of these decisions. Many owners of SMEs can be there due to being the next generation, rather than due to skills acquired or developed throughout their career. Alternatively – they can be enterprising entrepreneurs that are not so interested in the ‘nitty gritty’ of taking a business to the next stage. They lose interest but cannot part with their ‘baby’. Where ever you may fit into this – you will need support to enable you to question, think and understand the decisions that you are making or that are being made around you. You need to be certain that the right moves are being made and that you are where you want to be within this.
Having someone to talk to and work through specific issues or providing ongoing enabling support, may be of great value to you – ensuring that you and your team are fitting together in the right way. This can often extend to family relationships within a family business and ensuring that relationships around the board room table, do not affect relationships around the kitchen table – particularly when these are often the same table! Family businesses are an area where I have not just witnessed and advised – but I am also very much part of one. I am in a partnership with my husband and his parents, in our tenanted farm business (sheep and arable). I have also supported my parents in their dairy farming and cheesemaking business (landowners). I understand the complexities of family enterprises and the generational issues surrounding businesses in transition.
My career has taken me into many many businesses, after starting with Unilever and then beginning my own business in 2001. I have seen all sorts of people operating and interacting within all types of working environments. One thing that I feel needs to be exploited more – is the need for “Enabling Exchange”. My deep understanding of SMEs with their enterprise, survival instinct, robust resilience, pure passion – are skills that can resonate within corporates. My approach is to understand but also challenge thinking and systems – to ensure that decisions are being made for the right reasons and that people are being treated and regarded in the right way. I do not have a classic corporate career behind me but I have a pragmatic and practical approach to people and situations. I like to have an open mind, not constrained by any presumptions. I view each person and their individual situation on a unique basis without putting them in boxes.
Enabling Exchange is a key part of this – in the first instance, my experience will of course influence my approach – which is fresh, responsive, enterprising and not predictable…I also feel that the potential value of corporates learning from how SMEs operate, could help them to look at things differently. It has always in the past been about corporates sharing their wisdom with the smaller ‘boys and girls’ but this exchange needs to be mutual as everyone has something to offer. The bigger businesses also need to remain attractive to the next generation of employees by ensuring that their value is clearly understood. My approach to working with businesses is one of creating the best way to enable the best results: focusing on strengths and positive attitudes, through building confidence.
We all know that we have to work a lot longer – and this will only keep stretching…We keep hearing how we will potentially have many careers in our working life. Cliche as it may sound – often junctures are at ages 40 and 50. We rethink and consider whether we can keep doing what we have done since our 20’s until we are 70..? Often the answer is “no” – whether a total change, a deviation from the existing path or just making sure that we keep on moving up… It may of course be earlier – what path to set out on, which first job. And, later – not ready for retirement; how to develop a portfolio career or retire gracefully over the space of a few years. Everyone makes decisions differently – but the best ones usually take thought, consideration and time. We can be forced to redirect through unforeseen redundancy or health issues. Whatever the reason – these transitional periods are often times when you need someone outside of work and family to articulate your thoughts with; to start seeing a clear way forward.
I work with women facing questions about themselves and what they want from life, when returning to work after a career break. These can be personal or skills related – usually both. Also women making decisions about family and career and how they find a way to feel at peace with their decisions. Men can face all of these quandaries, too. I aim to help any individual make the right decision for them at that point in their lives – and to live happily with it, as much of the time as is possible.
My experience enables me to extend from coaching into marketing strategy development, or start with marketing strategy development and then move into coaching. I can take on the role needed by the business at the time – or simply just complete marketing support with no mention of coaching! My approach to marketing strategy is to take a good look at a business and the people within the business and help the team to understand how to present and communicate their brand effectively, both internally and externally. I can question, listen, think and then enable you; leaving you with a working plan to take forward, or stay a little longer and help to pull-together the appropriate team to deliver effectively, in a project management role.66