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the POWER of

ENTERPRISE 2011 www.entrepreneursnetwork.co.uk

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Active In Music Chris and Maria Giles had both enjoyed successful careers in music before deciding to set up ‘Active in Music’. Their unique musical education system breaks the mould of traditional music lessons, and has proved to be a huge success. Working from the EHQ Coalport office suits them perfectly with Chris feeling certain that the move has increased his output by 50%! WHO? Chris and Maria Giles have impressive credentials! Christopher studied music in London and has degrees in BMUS and MMUS. He then became Director of Music for Kingsland Grange in Shrewsbury for 6 years. He started Active in Music whilst teaching and it soon became a full-time occupation. For the past 16 years, he has also taught piano to private pupils. He describes himself as being, “Passionate, wanting improvements, interested in quality learning, persevering.” Maria, his wife, comes from Kazan in Russia where she studied music and taught at the Special Music School of Kazan for gifted students. She went on the study at Moscow Conservatoire, where she specialised in musicology. She describes herself as, “Striving for excellence, caring for children.”

WHAT? Active in Music provides music lessons in a very different format from traditional music lessons, for example, the advanced course offers 2 lessons a week in piano or violin, 2 aural lessons a week, 1 in singing and 1 in music listening or history. Outsiders are welcome to attend Music in Mind concerts, which are held at the end of each term and are publicised in the local press. Chris and Maria are aiming to produce music lessons which are, “Social, progressive, fun, educational and aimed at performances, for pupils aged 5 to 13 years.”

0845 6197232 info@activeinmusic.com www.activeinmusic.com

“As long as the love and passion for what you do is there, the rest will follow.”

Active in Music charges a fixed yearly subscription fee which is paid monthly on a 3 term basis. They employ 2 self employed musicians. HOW Together, Chris and Maria decided to design a program of improvements for musical education and gave a series of presentations which lead to their first pupils enrolling with them. They attended several Business Link events and were awarded a Prince’s Trust start up grant. Chris loves working in Enterprise HQ’s Coalport offices and readily discloses that working there helps stimulate him to become even more productive! THE FUTURE Chris and Maria would like to have one more school to work from, possibly based in Telford and are currently investigating the possibility of Local Government involvement. They are also keen to expand their repertoire and to offer other musical instruments such as wind instruments, brass and the cello. Chris’s long term ambition is to offer their musical education system to the educational establishment and with such an excellent record to date, he has every chance of succeeding sooner rather than later!

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Alf Agencies “Work hard, play hard!”

WHO? Alpha A Bah left Sierra Leone in 1997, and his adventure began in London. He visited Shropshire on a night out in 1999, and realised that he wanted to stay here! Almost 10 years on, he has no regrets, and still loves living in Shropshire. Alpha was the first child in his family, which meant that his father dictated strict parameters for his behaviour. This code has stayed with him, and has resulted in Alpha having a strong respect for orderly conduct, and a passion for staying within the rules. The principle behind Alf Agencies reflects these early influences, as Alpha is keen to help people who have had an accident of any type; from industrial injury to traffic accident, to comply with the bureaucracy which usually follows.

Moving to the UK was a brave move for Alpha A Bah, who initially settled in London. A brief visit to Shropshire inspired him to relocate permanently, and Alpha has now lived here for the past 10 years. Alpha is in the process of setting up Alf Agencies, which is an investigating agency for road traffic and industrial injury. He has joined EHQ because it is, “Ideal for meeting with clients. The perfect location for working through paperwork and networking at seminars.”

07760 192777 alfagencies@yahoo.co.uk

He describes himself as being, “Honest. Strict. Hard working. Very gregarious and anxious to help those less fortunate than myself.” His guiding principle is.”I expect to be able to look after myself, that’s how I grew up.” WHAT? Alf Agencies is an investigation agency for road traffic and industrial injury, covering all aspects of evidence gathering and statement collection to be provided for use in Court. HOW? The inspiration to set up his business came from Alpha’s upbringing, “I have always been independent, since I left my father’s house. This spurs me to get things right.” He went on to attend the necessary courses, with TDC to cover the procedures to be followed for traffic accidents and CRONER to cover those for industrial injuries. “I did a ‘Start-up” course with business link and prepared my business plan with them.” Alpha has found that the initial marketing and cold calling of potential clients can be daunting, but aims to have his business up and running by the end of this summer. Things are going well so far, and Alpha is pleased that things are beginning to come together, “I am glad that I have got insurance cover organised for the business.”

THE FUTURE Alpha is fully committed to the success of his business, and having invested so much time in research and training, it is easy to u understand his sentiment when he says, “I am determined to make sure this business works out!” The E-team at EHQ wishes him the best of luck with Alf Agencies, and hope that the business rewards him for all of his hard work.

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Always Consult

Andrew Mason Consultancy

01743 790850 carol@alwaysconsult.com www.alwaysconsult.com With a clear view of where she wanted to go Carol Ewels took early retirement from her work at Barclays bank where she had worked in excess of 20 years. With the final 10 years of this spell in senior management and ultimately as an area manager Carol developed many skills which she has put to use in her new venture Always Consult. Always consult are a management and people development company who aid businesses of all shapes and sizes with solutions for their people.“I am a Performance coach and Mentor, tailored training provider deliverer, NVQ Assessor, Management business administration, Finance and Customer Service. I offer Stress Management courses, which lead to Performance Development and Appraisal System.” As you may imagine Carols years of service in previous employment has helped her greatly with Always Consult, particularly her skills in people development but also with the methods and techniques she uses to successfully complete her job. “Having been a leader of business throughout my career, I can make unique use of my past experience. I use Psychometric Testing, Personal Profile Analysis to identify working strength and limitations in the individuals. This personal approach is not only for employers and companies but also for individuals in a very one to one personal approach.” Social Media and networking has been vital in helping Carol develop Always Consult with a lot of Carols marketing coming through Facebook, Twitter and her own blog. Of course Carol has been helped greatly through the business startup process attending seminars with ‘Right Management’ and ‘WIRE’ and working with a leading training company has allowed Carol to get great experience and of course repeat business.

01952 882885 info@andrewmasonconsultancy.co.uk www.andrewmasonconsultancy.com Starting his career in the motor industry Andrew Mason developed his business acumen working for the Ford and British Leyland motor corporations. After toning his skills in the automotive trade Andrew took up the opportunity to leave this industry and become the Managing Director of a tool hire company, this was followed by a spell as a Management Consultant for professional service firm Ernst-Young and Andrew has now been a home worker for 23 years. Acting as a Management and Design Consultant Andrew specialises in business development and keeps his business philosophy quite strait forward: “My guiding principle has always been: Deliver a high quality service and don’t end a project until the client is more than happy.” However, he is not alone in working for Andrew Mason Consultancy which consists as a partnership with his wife Maggie, herself a graphic designer. This often leads to the two working together on a joint project and gives the comfort of support within the business. Andrew often receives work through personal recommendations and judging by his business principle you can see why. Along with various networking Andrew is confident that he has established a credibility and a good reputation with a variety target clients.

The one top piece of advice Andrew offers to other entrepreneurs and those contemplating going at it alone is simply “Take time out when you are not busy, you cannot do it when you are”.

When asked for one top-tip for would be entrepreneurs, Carol emphasizes the importance of using the support available; “Never be frightened to ask for help and advice, never feel isolated. Make sure you have a strongwww.entrepreneursnetwork around you, including on line social networking”. network.co.uk

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ArcFleet WHO? Mike Richards had worked in sales for 25 years, of which 10 years were associated with the fleet industry. He had spent 7 years working for an international rental company when he was invited to join Arc Fleet Solutions, which started trading nationwide this spring. Mike is the Sales Director of the company. He describes himself as, “Pragmatic, realistic, thoughtful, calm, empathetic, happy, fit and balanced.” His guiding principle is, “To focus on quality customer service and the profit will follow.”

HOW? “The business started 1st of March 2009. I joined 3rd of August 2009. The team consists of 4 people, who all worked together in the past. The company was founded on the strength of the experience of these 4 people. We now have 10 employees. I am glad that we decided to trust our instincts and go for it. Having spent 4 years in GE and 3 years in Hertz, I had become frustrated with the inefficiencies of US global businesses. Becoming my own boss happened to me at the right time because of my family commitments.”

Mike loves, “Spending time with my wife and our son. Outside of the family, I cycle, get to the gym as often as I can. The only opportunity I get to listen to new music these days is in the car which is always well stocked with CD’s.”

Establishing a fleet hire company requires a large capital investment and Mike agrees, “Finding the right funds and borrowing to purchase the fleet remains the main challenge.” However, now that the business is established, Mike enjoys his new way of life.” I can easily work from home three days a week as I have the house to myself, however sharing the working space the remaining two days with my wife and an 18 month old toddler is impossible so if I’m not on the road the time is spent working at EHQ, where I get some peace! Being in control of my own work timetable definitely helps as I don’t only have to work when the company offices are open for business.”

WHAT? Arc Fleet Solutions provides long term vehicle rental, and specialises in supplying branded and equipped delivery vans to subcontractors working mainly in the Express Parcels sector.

THE FUTURE The business infrastructure is now in place, and all that remains is to perpetuate the success. “We are striving to achieve a stable business. To provide the 4 directors with the right level of income we need 200 vans and 100 cars on rent by the end of the year. Once that is achieved, I would love to be able to do less worrying about the detail and look for more Niche markets to sell to. Mike has a more romantic dream for his long term future, “After travelling to the places we haven’t yet seen, spend the winters in Spain and the summers in Britain.” Presumably this will be very straightforward, as transport won’t pose a problem!

“Work clever not hard.”

0115 937 2074 mike.richards@arcfleet.com www.arcfleet.com

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Arbonne International

Artisans In The Hills

07866 252951 chrisiles@myarbonne.co.uk www.karylandchris.myarbonne.co.uk

01584 818074 iinfo@artisansinthehills.co.uk www.artisansinthehills.co.uk

Karyl Iles describes her career as colourful, first in education as a dance and drama teacher, then in training and coaching focussing mainly upon behavioural change. When her husband Chris, previously an outdoor development specialist, set up Communicate Consultancy Ltd on behalf of Beacon Radio Karyl didn’t hesitate in joining him. Karyl came across Arbonne when she was asked to do some training with their top performers and when the opportunity of joining Arbonne came up, Karyl guided by her own enthusiasm, ambition and passion, found the offer irresistible. Arbonne are in the ever expanding industry of Skincare, and offer Swiss skincare products which are unrivalled in their quality and effectiveness. The support from the top has been a great aid to Karyl, who finds selling the product comfortable due to it’s high quality and simple marketing strategy “Arbonne International gives anybody the opportunity to be in business for themselves but not by themselves. I have built my business by following Arbonne Business Building Training Aid, where you invite people to ‘Try before you buy’, and discover the results for themselves. It is all done through word of mouth. Joining Arbonne is the best thing I have ever done.” The aim for the future for Karyl is to write a book on her experiences of home working, but she accepts that this may have to wait till retirement. As for Arbonne there is only one thing on the mind of Karyl and that is global expansion. Despite her ambitious nature, Karyl is never reluctant to ask for support and this is echoed in her one top-tip for would be entrepreneurs “Ask for help, ask questions all the time”

Julia Pitkin is a trained occupational therapist, an area which which she practiced for 25 years specializing in dementia. Back in 2000 Julia became freelance, a move that took her all over the country, with this in mind Julia and her family relocated to Shropshire, a location recognised with the rural life Julia describes as her “ideal place”. Here Julia decided to take on a business degree while keeping on her favourite clients but cutting back on the main operation. At the suggestion of her 12 year old daughter, Julia decided to look at the internet with the intention of creating an online business. With a self determination due to a keen interest in the arts and inspired by our local entrepreneurial craftsmen, the idea of Artisans in the Hills was born. Run from Julia’s office in her barn, Artisans in the Hills is a collection of web galleries, under the form of an internet business, for arts and crafts people. “Encouraged by the craftsmen themselves, I approached Business Link and Wire, and with their guidance Artisans in the Hills was created as a marketing tool, to give more exposure.” Looking back Julia is very grateful for all of the help and support she received when developing the concept of Artisans in the Hills, particualarly paying tribute to the networking support received of W.I.R.E., meanwhile looking forward Julia has the dream of seeing Artisans in the Hills become a global business.

For future entrepreneurs Julia draws off her own experiences to give her top advice; "I stay focused and I don't give up. I draw firm boundaries between home and the office. I get motivated by pretending I am in Richard Branson's shoes.”

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Ben Proctor P.R. “Working from home can be more destabilising than you would have imagined: be prepared.”

WHO? Ben Proctor Since leaving behind his career in science, Ben’s achievements have been impressive – he joined North Shropshire District Council at the time that it was rated by the Audit Commission as poor, but when he left in 2008 it was rated as one of the best. He has had a variety of roles in the public and private sector and in communication and has recently run a social investment programme for Shell, supporting environmental groups in the UK. Ben’s years in environmental research have left their mark and have inspired him also to set up ‘Rebike CIC’ which reconditions old bicycles in order to make cycling more affordable.

Ben, originally from Herefordshire, had trained as a scientist and worked for several years in environmental research before discovering that he was more interested in people than in science. He left his former career to set up a strategic communications consultancy which uses communications and public relations to drive improvements in organisations. Ben has also started a community interest company called Rebike CIC which he runs ‘in tandem’ with his communications company.

07904 123498 ben@benproctor.co.uk www.benproctor.co.uk

WHAT? Ben Proctor’s Strategic Communications Consultancy uses communications and public relations to drive improvement in organisations, advise senior managers on communications strategy and crisis management, building capacity within communication, marketing and public relations teams, providing counsel to senior decision makers and training and capacity building. HOW? Ben took the brave decision to become self employed when, “I became aware that I had acquired a set of skills that I could use. Having had my own business, I had got used to making my own decisions. I like the variety of work my consultancy deals with. There is a niche market for this and organisations need to recognise this need.” The initial stages of setting up a business can be formidable and self marketing can feel awkward. Ben agrees, “The hardest thing for me has been to put myself forward. I had to recreate my database and get back in touch with my previous contacts.” However, Ben does consider this to be a good move and considers that, “Getting in touch with past contacts has borne fruit.”

THE FUTURE According to Ben the advantages of his current way of life are that, “Homeworking has helped me to achieve and enables me to do my voluntary work. It has made me poorer and fitter.” Ben has an innovative approach to self marketing and uses the internet as a showcase for his abilities – “I started writing a blog (likeaword.co.uk), which demonstrates my skills. I tend to take examples from the press and provide an analysis of the strategy and show what we can learn from good and bad PR.” Given Ben’s adaptable and ethical approach to his work he deserves the success that he has achieved.

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Blooming Ideas Jill has taken the inspiration of her surroundings in Shropshire’s rolling hills to launch her new career. Now the proprietor of a very successful garden design company, Jill’s reputation for thoughtful, bespoke design exactly matching her clients’ briefs, has grown her seed of an idea into a fruitful reality. Jill is able to benefit from the opportunities to promote her business that Enterprise HQ provides, both at networking events and in online and printed directories, and the Ideas Laboratory in Enterprise HQ Coalport is an ideal venue to share her creative vision with her clients. WHO? Jill Bagnall A professional background including 20 years of marketing experience, latterly in Bristol, gave Jill a perfect grounding for starting her own garden design business. Her move to Shropshire with her husband spurred her to reconsider her career and, having always been interested in gardening and design, she embarked on a two year course at Pershore, eventually choosing to specialise in Design. Being awarded a distinction in June 2004 gave her a sufficient boost of confidence to launch her own business. WHAT? Blooming Ideas is a garden design company based near Shrewsbury, nestling between Long Mountain and Stiperstones, in one of the most beautiful and secret of England's rural locations. “This setting inspired me to study Professional Gardening at Pershore College of Horticulture and to then to start Blooming Ideas 3 years ago. Blooming Ideas offers a 'pick & mix' approach, where the client stays in control of how much, or how little they want me to do. I provide a range of services, from design and landscape management and technical maintenance, to plant sourcing and planting.”

01743 891143 jill@bloomingideas.co.uk www.bloomingideas.co.uk

HOW? "I had always loved design. Designing with plants seemed natural and the course at Pershore was a most important foundation stone. It gave me the confidence to start the business, and also from a practical point of view, I followed a business model which was created whilst I was at College." Jill’s undoubted talent has earned her an excellent reputation, and has been publicly recognised. As a member of the National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens, Jill designed their show garden at the Shrewsbury Flower Show in 2005 and was awarded a gold medal. She followed that success in 2006 with another Gold medal, and also Best in Show.

“Set realistic goals, and manage your expectations”

THE FUTURE Making the most of daylight hours, Jill can work up to 12 hours a day in the Summer, but loves the flexibility that running her own business gives her.Jill hopes to have time to devote to her own house and garden soon, but for now, Jill’s creative nature, her sound background in business and her passion for gardens mean that her own enterprise is certainly blooming!

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Border Vehicle Contracts “Keep it simple, be organised and concentrate on your core strength.”

WHO? Peter Simmons has enjoyed the variety in his career - having worked as a professional chef in London in the 1970s, he used his experience to enable him to move into the hospitality industry. Peter could work from a sales perspective and became National Accounts Manager for Sankey Vending of Dudley in 1988, which resulted in the move to Shropshire for himself and his family. In the mid 1990s redundancy gave Peter the unexpected opportunity to fulfil a lifetime’s dream of spending a summer travelling through Europe with his young son - a memory which they both cherish. On his return to Shropshire, Peter joined Westbury Garage in Shrewsbury where he was responsible for business sales, contract hire and leasing. The natural progression was to set up his own business, which he did, working initially from a small office in Craven Arms and transferring his work to his office at home.

The ability to be able to identify and exploit an opportunity is a valuable gift in an entrepreneur. Peter Simmons has been able to see the strengths of the route that his career has taken and to turn it to his advantage and his business draws on a range of self-developed skills. Becoming a member of EHQ was a natural step, having worked from home in a beautiful rural location “In Enterprise HQ I am looking for a working base in a business environment to combat isolation.”

0845 418 3770 peter@border-contracts.co.uk www.border-contracts.co.uk

WHAT? Border Vehicle Contracts deals with vehicle sourcing and finance brokerage for businesses. The business idea came when, “I could see that companies were paying more than they needed to dealerships through lack of business specific advice and information. My approach to this business would make me more competitive and would give the clients the chance to make more informed decisions.” This was obviously a sound principle as the business is now 11 years old! HOW? Establishing his own company brought its own challenges – “After much discussion with my wife and with advice from Business Link to establish the viability of such a business, I started by contacting a core client base that I already had. The main issue was how to overcome the prejudices of the clients: why should they not use a dealership? I had to prove the advantages to them, and was successful because I had a clear idea of what I wanted to market, so the choice of business was right.” This is especially important given nature of the business. “It can be difficult to break through the public perception of this business. Not everyone grasps the fact that as a broker I can offer unbiased advice. Additionally as business motoring experts we can help over things like benefit in kind tax, vat, grey fleets, telematics etc .” Throughout his career Peter has adapted to a number of new demands, testing his ability to be proactive rather than reactive. He now had other skills to learn, including the introduction of IT to his business which was especially difficult given the high cost of the technology at that time, but determination won the day and the business grows from strength to strength. THE FUTURE Despite the success of his business, Peter is keen not to rest on his laurels and looks forward to meeting more of his business contemporaries – “After 11 years, things have settled and I should now do more networking with my peers.” Aware of the pitfalls of home-working he agrees that, “Working late is sometimes not popular with the family, but after 11 years I would recommend the flexibility of working from home.”

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Business Adrenaline Having enjoyed considerable success in her career, in the UK and abroad, Patricia Freshwater found that the only way to make full use of the skills that she had developed was to establish a business around them! Her experience had given her an excellent insight into the needs of her potential clients, which explains why Business Adrenaline has been such a huge success. WHO? Patricia Freshwater is a fast marketing professional. In the mid ‘80s she started up her own companies, which she successfully sold on. She went on to work in the Middle East where she established her own consultancy firms which were involved in 4 major projects. These included The Body Shop franchise, a redistribution company and a fashion business. In 1995 Patricia moved back to the UK where she worked for Business Link, before deciding to become a self-employed business consultant. Her present business was established 8 years ago. Pat describes herself as, “Outgoing, passionate about making a difference, gregarious, good listener, professional and experienced.” WHAT? Business Adrenaline is a dedicated business support consultancy which provides customised facilitation, coaching training and mentoring. The company aims to deliver a bespoke, strategic, firm focused, considered response to the client needs and works with clients in Staffordshire, Shropshire and the West Midlands

01785 851 536 pat@business-adrenaline.com www.business-adrenaline.com

HOW? Having a unique set of skills can make it tricky to fit into a traditional organisational structure, but Patricia has a strong passion for her work and this inspired her to set up her own business again. Her strong business grounding made setting up Business Adrenaline less daunting for Patricia, who had no difficulty establishing a client base for the business. “The clients came through referrals, as I was already known in Shropshire through Business Link. I have been doing this for so long that it has been continuous thread throughout my career, building my reputation at the top of my game.” Building and maintaining a reputation is not easy, and Patricia’s professionalism is evident. She admits that she tailors her working hours to the job in hand, “I work from 8.30 am and carry on until the task is finished.” THE FUTURE Given her enjoyment of her work, it comes as no surprise to hear that Patricia has no plans to give up work just yet! She is looking forward, “To continue loving what I do.”

“Have a very clear focus, loving what you do and not allowing your work to tip into your family life.”

As with most committed professionals, she would like to be more in control of her work load, and to, “Work less intensely and make more time for myself,” but for the time being, she is happy to be a victim of her own success.

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Carol Angela by Design “Never stop dreaming and hoping”

WHO? Carol Yarwood Carol has plenty of experience of successfully managing her own businesses. For over two decades, she and her husband ran a Bed and Breakfast business together, whilst also operating a mobile catering company. In 2000, at the age of 40, Carol decided to change direction. She was talented with a ‘needle’ and regularly carried out refurbishments when running the B&B, so decided to capitalise on her skills by taking a City and Guilds course in Embroidery.

Carol has always been a home-based entrepreneur. Proud of her Shropshire heritage, she enjoys the flexibility that working at home affords her, and after a conscious decision to change career, has found her entrepreneurial niche in the design and manufacture of bags and hats. Her positive outlook on business has helped spur her on: “My guiding principle is knowing that I can, and having the determination and desire to do it.” With the business constantly evolving, Carol is starting to retail online, and the Enterprise Emporium will help to promote her range. 01743 884497 carol@yarwood.net www.carolangela.com

“Having always been self employed, I wanted to keep my independence whilst also expressing my creativity, and when a bridal bag which I made whilst on my embroidery course received much praise, it planted the seed for my future business. I started making handbags in my spare time.” WHAT? Carol Angela Design specialises in the design and manufacture of bags, hats and accessories. “I mainly use vintage or contemporary fabrics – velvet and silk are my favourites. I use anything that catches my eye!” Inspired by, and proud of her locality, Carol’s products are, “All handmade with pride and passion in Shropshire.” She attends craft fairs and also regular markets, such as Ludlow, where she now has a good clientele and her online shop will soon be a new sales channel. HOW? Carol started the business by attending a Craft Fair and selling a display of handbags she had designed and produced. Encouraged by the success of this experience, Carol continued testing the market, promoting and developing her new business, whilst still being in part time employment. She eventually dedicated herself entirely to the making of bags, selling at fairs and gallery outlets. Nine years later she has added hats and accessories to her portfolio. Networking has been very valuable to Carol - she has also found being a member of both “Made in Shropshire” and “WiRE” very useful. THE FUTURE Carol confesses that currently her work is her life, and she can regularly work 50 hour weeks. Her creativity doesn’t stop in her spare time either; she is a regular salsa dancer, tap dancer and gardener. When asked about plans for retirement, her unhesitating response was, "I will retire when I can afford to wear designer underwear and to keep chickens!"

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Click 4 Garden The time was right for Clare Sawers when the owners of Click4Garden asked her to take over their business. She has had to learn very quickly and fully appreciates the importance of impeccable customer service, perfect pricing structures and the tricks of internet marketing. This careful nurturing has resulted in a flourishing business which Clare can be proud of. EHQ offers the ideal opportunity for Clare to meet other entrepreneurs to discuss their experiences. WHO? Clare Sawers began her working life by training to be a bilingual secretary and went on to work as a sales and marketing manager of a publishing company. Her love of travelling took her all over the world, before she settled in Shropshire 18 years ago. When the owners of Click4Garden approached Clare in 2006, asking her to take over and develop their business, the timing was perfect and she felt ready to become self-employed and to run her new business from home. WHAT? Click4Garden is an online garden store, offering gardening products, from arches, arbours, fencing, BBQs, planters - mainly larger items - for home delivery The business was already established when Clare was offered the opportunity to take it over, but although the template of the business was already formed, it needed further development. HOW? The opportunity to become self-employed appealed to Clare. “I wanted to work for myself, to obtain more flexibility and change my life pattern. The idea was already there; all that remained was a lot of hard work to make it real.”

0800 288 8178 sales@click4garden.co.uk www.click4garden.co.uk

In order to develop the business, Clare had to learn about internet marketing. “The main issue was getting a presence on the internet, page one on any search engine – page one being the equivalent of the high street. I also had to realise that it wasn’t just click click, but the customer wanted to speak to someone. I learnt the value of good old fashioned customer service. You must give them what they want. I also make sure that I sell a competitively priced product and I am not greedy. “It was difficult at the outset, especially as I was used to a busy interactive office. I missed this at first. In my opinion, it is essential to have a separate office; mine is a restored farm building across the yard. I change to go to the office and I do not talk work outside of the office. Having said that, the exchange of business ideas with my partner is very important to me and we do set aside specific times to discuss my work.” THE FUTURE Every entrepreneur knows that they can always improve their business and Clare has very specific targets, and is working towards them. “I do not have enough hours in the day for all the PR and Marketing I would like to do. I would like to be higher up in the Google Rankings.”

“Have your own office. Have a realistic budget. Know how much you are going to spend on improving your business.”

Fortunately, she also knows the importance of taking time out to unwind and has access to her favourite hobby right on her doorstep. “I love riding one of our horses.” In the long term, she knows that she cannot escape the urge to travel, and she looks forward to, “Selling the business and going travelling.”

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C.R.I.S. Chris Reynolds Interpreting Services An expert in a very specialist field, Chris’ services are in demand by companies across the world. Being a member of Enterprise HQ helps Chris to maintain a local network while she liaises with and travels to clients in Europe and South America from her home base in Craven Arms. Chris’ success is a shining example of someone using their talent to reach international markets, through hard work and reputation building. WHO? Chris Reynolds For the last 30 years Chris’ career has been in technical interpreting and translating in French, Italian and Spanish. Her career developed here in Britain with frequent trips to Continental Europe. She says of her business, “It has been my life's work, due to a passion for languages and for communicating with people." WHAT Chris Reynolds Interpreting Services offers technical interpreting and translating, in diverse sectors of industry. Chris has started "Contact Europe", where she offers her services to a company, either to make contact or chase a client. This Telephone Marketing process is useful in reaching new markets. When Britain became part of the EU, Chris was expecting an increase in demand for her services. This was the case initially, but at management level she found the Europeans fluent in English and hence less requirement for her services. However, the language grasp was less efficient at a technical level and this is where she flourished. Chris now takes on widespread assignments, interpreting for anyone from Heads of State to shop floor workers, explaining installation or use of a piece of machinery and especially providing formal training courses.

01588 673600 risinterpreting@hotmail.com

In 2008 the major Venezuelan oil company PDVSA sent 40 delegates to Siemens of Lincoln to learn about new gas turbines and Chris was the interpreter; this was followed up by PDVSA requesting Chris to be their official interpreter in Venezuela. HOW? Chris was quick to grasp that the personal touch was of paramount importance, "To start with I concentrated on building up the business, getting my name known and developing a solid reputation. I always called in person on potential clients, with my portfolio, so that they could put a face to the formal proposals." She has adapted the business to keep up with the times, "I decided to offer an interpreting only service in the early 90s. Now I diversify; no business can stand still."

“Always do detailed research and preparation for each assignment”

My advice to new start-ups would be, “Take as much mentoring and financial help and advice as possible. Work hard and be determined to succeed, especially when times are bad."

THE FUTURE With plans to buy a house in France for retirement, it sounds as if Chris will continue to use her interpreting skills for many years to come!

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Datasphere

Ducks In A Row

0845 524 0151 graham.iles@datasphere.co.uk www.datasphere.co.uk

01746 862192 rrix23@aol.com

Following a degree in Information Systems, Graham Iles has been a Computer Programmer the whole of his working life. Graham describes his business as a fresh, clear, jargon free approach to his clients businesses IT, providing them with a new view of their website, the key word being "Clear". He discovered in his previous employment that there was a definite need for a fresher approach to non initiated IT customers: a new view was necessary. Datasphere was developed from demand.

During his working career Richard Rix has held many titles and worked as a Compliance Manager, Quality Manager, Environmental Officer and also has also worked within the areas of Health and Safety and Human resources. Having experience in such a wide variety of areas has given Richard a great boost when in 2009 Richard decided to go freelance, after redundancy.

" What is unique about our business: we talk to the client about IT in understandable English. The challenge is to persuade clients who have been badly stung by other IT experts that we can do better".

This led to the creation of Ducks In A Row, where Richard offers professional advice and support to SMES in line with current UK and EU legislation, also supplying pre insurance audits.

Graham is very motivated and always sees solutions to problems. He is a great believer on networking and considers moving into one of EHQ offices the best move he has made for his business so far.

“I work mainly within 50 miles of my address, so I can work as part of a team and give the personal touch. I am very methodical.”

Although full of confidence, Graham does at times doubt himself, hence has a business coach. His favourite technology is AJAX( Not the Greek warrior): Asyncronous javascript and XML, which are a way of creating highly interactive websites. The man behind the business is a devoted Dad, who loves spending time with his 6 year old, play a wide range of musical instruments and advices us all to put our health first. The one home-business truth that Graham wishes someone would have passed on to him is that: "One can be too nice in business, do not do free work, you can set a precedent".

For the past 15 years Richard has had a highly qualified mentor and working together they have developed a H&S Management System, which can obtain up to 40% reduction on insurance bills of their clients, leading to many happy faces. It is this that gets Richard a lot of his work, many of his clients have come to Richard after hearing positive reviews through word of mouth. It is clear to see that Richard is shining in his role being selfemployed “ My best move has been to go self employed. My advice to would be entrepreneurs has to be : keep believing in yourself, be totally committed to what you sell.”

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16


Dates 4 You A strong technical knowledge of communications has been useful to Tim Drew in developing his on-line dating web sites. He has successfully expanded his business from one to three web sites in just 3 years, whilst also continuing to hold down his day job. Joining EHQ will help Tim to raise the profile of his business, and to meet like-minded entrepreneurs. WHO? Tim Drew Working in the mobile phone industry for 8 years gave Tim a solid basis from which to set up his own business. Moving on to set up his web sites has given him the opportunity to join a web site development team and to get involved in the technical aspect of web site design WHAT? Dates 4 You is an on-line dating service. Initially Tim worked with a business partner and located a firm in the USA which provided them with a template package, which they used to establish the business, the partners held promotional events throughout 2006 and the business began to develop. As the business evolved, it became clear that the partners had differing views of how the business should progress, and they decided to go their own separate ways. Tim then took on 3 websites. Firstly a social networking site; secondly ‘White Label Dating’, which was an international website, for which he works on the UK market; and the third web site is for a niche market, targeting the over 50’s. In July 2008, he joined a web team, who went on to revamp the social networking site.

07894 193 370 info@dates4you.co.uk www.dates4you.co.uk

“Recently I’ve been busy expanding - I’ve launched 6 new dating sites in South Africa, USA, Canada, Republic of Ireland, New Zealand and Australia. I’ve launched another new website called plentyforpets.com - one of the largest choices of Quality pet products (20,000) online in the UK including designer products and Exclusive designed cat beds.” HOW? Once he had developed the original idea, the next step was to find the best way to put it into practice. “I knew what I wanted to do, but had to get the right people, The right tools and the right capital.” However having got the business underway, Tim finds that it fits in well with his day job and social commitments. “I spend 2 hours a day on this business, as I have a full-time job. I find it easy to integrate it into my home life.” He has been pleased with the services that he can draw upon locally. “I use ‘Silver Marbles’, a Wellington based firm of website designers who offer much more than basic web services.” THE FUTURE The buffer of having a 9 to 5 job means that Tim can afford to ride out the current economic conditions, which may result in growth slowing a little. Tim agrees: “The biggest issues come from the fact that Dates 4 You is a luxury business.”

“Don’t give up at the first hurdle. Overcome your disappointments as soon as possible and move on.”

In the meantime, he enjoys socialising and looks forward to spending more time with his friends, his family and his dog. His dream is to, “Build a safe future and enjoy retirement.” Given his sociable nature, Tim can rely on having plenty of friends to share it with!

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17


Earlybird Babysign

E-Drive

01952 403399 Roisin@earlybirdbabysign.co.uk www.earlybirdsign.co.uk

0844 879 3153 sales@edrivewestmidlands.co.uk www.edrivewestmidlands.co.uk

Founder of Earlybird Babysign Roisin Gray has amassed a lot of experience in clerical work and currently works in an autistic school. Roisin has put a lot of her skills to great use and despite being turned down with a similar project for the council, has created Earlybird Babysign – with the aim to get deaf children and their mums to communicate with sign language and to increase deaf awareness in the community. Earlybird Babysign acts as a Community Interest Group and any surplus income goes towards providing for free classes. Roisin also works with various voluntary sectors and disability forums, such as “Listen, not Label”, “Earlybird Babysign is about developing language and communication skills, it is the only one in Shropshire and one of very few in the Country. The teaching is done in classes of 8 to 10 attendees from 6 months to 3 years old. Baby sign is a structured fun way to improve communication with your baby. By the age of 2 a baby can learn around 200 signs/gestures compared with around 30 words....” Roisin has greater plans for the future and intends to use the success of this scheme market its availability to the Social Services, as well as to older generations managing an awareness campaign through editorials, word of mouth and leaflets. Like many seemingly going at it alone Roisin points out the importance of using the business start up support that is available to guide you on your journey. “My best move so far has been going for it. The book “5 TO 9” By Emma Jones was very helpful. I would advise any would be entrepreneur to plan professionally and be aware of business start up available.”

After leaving the Army, Stuart built some experience in the motor vehicle industry as a car and commercial vehicles salesman. In October 2008, after redundancy he took on a franchise as a vehicle broker. The E Drive franchise provides Stuart with some computer systems and access to the largest contract hire companies of vehicle funders. Stuart acts as a broker to fulfil the client vehicle requirements. “I always wanted to be my own boss; redundancy gave me the right push.” Much deliberation followed but after researching at great length Stuart decided to make the leap and by cashing in his life savings to buy into the E-Drive franchise. “I give the client personal service, in person, thus providing them with a tailor made contract” As with most growing businesses Stuart relies on networking and his own personality to help expand his business. “I network in business clubs, such as Severn Business Network, Shropshire Chamber, Lively business Club. I am a genuinely honest person, I will advise people correctly. As I asses each client’s requirements individually, if I do not think a lease is suitable, I will find another solution.” Despite fulfilling the ambition of being his own boss Stuart provides other potential start-ups with a slight word of warning “I would advise anyone who wishes to go into business to make a deep research before they set up.” So far so good for E-Drive and this advise clearly worked for Stuart himself!

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18


Educational Management Development “Be open and transparent, and above all, a good listener”

WHO? Bill Dowell Before starting this business, Bill was the principal of Shrewsbury VI Form College. Bill, originally a PE and Sports teacher, was in the pastoral side of Management for 30 years. During that period he took an active part in professional training at staff level, working with a freelance trainer to train senior management in the world of education. Bill wanted to keep intellectually stimulated when he retired, and keep alive his passionate interest in bringing about changes in children’s education. He relished the challenge that starting his own business would bring to his life, saying, "I wanted to know if I could run a business." WHAT? Educational Management Development Ltd was launched in September 2008 to address a need that Bill perceived in educational institutions to cope with ongoing changes. Bill’s years in education have armed him with the necessary skills and experience to assist Senior Management with strategy development in schools.

Bill Dowell brings to his business a lifetime of experience gained at the highest level of education. A self-starter able to think at a strategic level, others are now able to benefit from his expertise when undergoing change management programmes, or planning strategic development. Careful planning over many years creating a targeted offering has given Bill great focus. He cites Enterprise HQ as an ideal way for him to keep well networked with the local community. 01743 365 056 dowellwilliam@googlemail.com

"Specialising in 14 to 18-year-old students’ curriculum development secured a core element in our work." HOW? Meticulous planning earned Bill early success. Five years before retiring, Bill prepared the financial bases on which to build the foundations of his business. He talked and listened a great deal to people who worked from home. “From them, I learnt to always deliver; never to take too much on." Bill identified key areas for his start-up phase and managed to secure two contracts before the first year of business. He also chairs a County Learning Forum, and is acting as Clerk to a network of Colleges, thus keeping in touch with a rapidly changing sector. "I used the Business Link website, which I found very good for helping me focus on priorities. The contact with Enterprise HQ keeps me in touch with people." Working from home with his wife Elaine, who manages the office, is perfect for his new venture. "I am enjoying the mix of the day, becoming used to switching mode from home to work very quickly. I think Elaine might like to close the office door a little more often!" THE FUTURE Bill has a fabulous reason to spend time abroad – he has an apartment in the South of France. A keen traveller, he also dreams of roaming in Australia and India, and along the West coast of America. With a passion also for cookery and sport, Bill loves the new work/life balance that new age ‘retirement’ has delivered.

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19


Encon Instruments In 1969 John T Goulder became a pioneer of home-working when he set up Encon Instruments. When his employer closed their local offices he wanted to avoid relocating, so he began manufacturing combustion test kits. His work has always been innovative and in 1996 his company won the British Silicon Design Award. John appreciates the importance of networking, and his business has received vital new ideas and even changed direction as a result of the contacts that he has met through Business Support Services. WHO? John T Goulder was a Research Officer for Building Surfaces Research, which was a government founded body whose clients included Shell and BP. In 1980 John moved to Prees in order to be nearer to Shell Research. John had already fallen in love with Shropshire by the time that the Shell base closed down, so he made the decision to become self-employed. He started out by manufacturing combustion test kits and was lucky enough to secure the Home Office as his principle client. He specialised in Environmental Electronics and in 1996 won the British Silicon Design Award.

He describes himself as “Completely dedicated to the environment, tenacious, stubborn, honest and inventive. I love climbing in Snowdonia, racing motor cars, watching Formula1 , gardening.” WHAT? Encon Instruments deals with prototype and design, environmental electronics, gas monitoring, studies on water, hydrogen generation and hydrogen supplementation of petrol and diesel.

01948 840116 john@enconinstruments.co.uk www.enconinstruments.co.uk

HOW “As a research officer I needed something else to do, as I was bored. That is when I started making things. Everything followed from one thing to another and believing in what I was doing was key. There were not any business support services at the beginning, but now I use Business Link and EHQ. Through Business Link, I was connected to Stafford University, which has opened new horizons for me. My only regret is not having contacted them sooner.” Home-working suits John perfectly. “Setting up the business was fairly straightforward, as far as I can remember. I have worked from home since 1969. I love not having to commute; I consider it a waste of time.” THE FUTURE Although his business is well established, John’s passion for innovation means that there is no slowing down in his plans. “My ambition for the future is to be able to make a difference. The biggest barrier to growth is me; I am 77! However, I am optimistic, I hope to live to be 140 and get shot by a jealous husband!” Given his continued interest in his work and his love of new ideas and technology, the next 63 years are sure to fly by!

“Don’t ever, ever, ever give up!”

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20


Essential Plants Having grown up in Romania, Andreea Davies had no idea that her secondment to Southampton University would result to her moving to the UK permanently. However, the seeds of her new life were sown and blossomed into marriage! Her business hires out decorative plants to adorn venues for special occasions and is growing beautifully! Membership of EHQ has given Andreea the benefit of powerful marketing and networking opportunities. WHO? Andreea Davies Originally from Romania, Andreea has always loved horticulture and in 1999 was seconded to Southampton as part of her university course. This was wonderful experience for her and gave her the opportunity to travel the country. Two years later she returned to Britain and on this trip she met her future husband. Andreea completed her degree and then she and her husband moved to Shropshire

Andreea’s impressive CV includes time spent working for Viv Marsh Pastel Plants, where she won many medals at a competitive level. She also spent time as the plant expert for Dobbies and worked for Clare Austin. In the autumn of 2008 Andreea was ready to begin her own business – “Essential Plants.”

01743 235809 andreea@essential-plants.co.uk www.essential-plants.co.uk

WHAT? Essential Plants hires out topiary and indoor plants for special occasions: events, weddings, anniversaries. Andreea also hires out indoor plants on long term contracts. “I wanted to have my own business. In my nursery I stock various conifers, including some which are spiral shaped and bay trees. I aim to provide an unforgettable asset for a special occasion.”

HOW? Andreea found that one of the challenges of setting up her business was: “Finding good quality plants at wholesale prices, but in small quantity.” However, good fortune has smiled on Andreea and she has not had to make use of external finance. “My first initial order helped to finance my starting point. I bought the plants, which I keep in our garden-turned-nursery. The first party I did was a great success, everyone loved them. This gave me great confidence, so I gave up my job to dedicate myself entirely to ‘Essential Plants’. I also attend wedding fairs, as my topiary offers an innovative alternative to wedding decorations.” THE FUTURE Retirement is just a distant prospect for Andreea. “It is too soon to think about it. I hope to remain active as long as possible!” Meanwhile, she enjoys walking and likes to relax with a cup of tea – the perfect way to round off a hard day’s gardening!

“You must have constant access to information, via a PC, and have an organised day.”

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21


Etterley Consulting Becoming a mother and moving from Kent to Shropshire were life-changing experiences for Rachel Etterley. With 11 years of senior management experience in the NHS under her belt, she felt that the time was right to set up her own business so that she could exercise more control over her work timetable. Rachel is looking forward to using the facilities at EHQ and to making contacts through networking events and courses. WHO? Rachel Etterley worked as a Deputy HR Director for the NHS for 11 years. Despite thoroughly enjoying her career, her circumstances changed with the arrival of her two children and the decision for the family to move from Kent to Shrewsbury. She felt that self employment would be more suitable to her lifestyle than part-time employment, and has taken the decision to establish her own consultancy business.

WHAT? Etterley Consulting was established with the intention of, “Supporting Organisations with the employment journey, from beginning to the end and everything in between.” Rachel describes herself as: ”A hardworking, organised, sociable, down-to-earth, enthusiastic, loyal, multitasker who is able to translate business jargon.”

0845 4199708 rachel@etterley-consulting.co.uk www.etterley-consulting.co.uk

HOW? In the light of her new circumstances, Rachel felt that setting up her own Company was the right thing to do. “It enables me to be in control of my life-work balance, to plan my day around the needs of the children and to continue to be professionally challenged at a senior level.” Rachel works for 2 days a week and this arrangement works well for her. She will use HR consultants for specialist expertise if required. Having moved from Kent, Rachel feels that she has to do a lot of networking in the West Midlands. “I attend numerous networking events in the area; for example, a client was referred to me through the cousin of a playground Mum!” She also tries to make the most of local support on offer - she has recently enrolled on a Business Link course and feels that: “An important step was having a professional logo and web site designed, to get a professional look.”

“Have a clear vision and never lose sight of it.”

THE FUTURE Rachel is clear about her priorities in life: “I work to live, not live to work.” She knows exactly what she is working towards in the future. “I hope I will be able to Develop a thriving HR consultancy where I am respected and people trust my professionalism. I hope to feel challenged in my work life, but also to be around and involved with my children as they grow up.” I am determined not to leave it too late, not to put things off that I really want to do, to be fit enough to enjoy travelling and help my children when they have families of their own.”

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22


Excellent Press “You cannot have a business if you don’t have ideas. Treat your cash like a delicate plant and make sure it is watered.”

WHO? David Burnett has been a book publisher for over 40 years and started Excellent Press in 1993. Having always been attracted to Ludlow, David decided to move there in 1996 in order to be closer to a friend who had a book distribution business. David describes himself modestly as, “Shrewd, lazy, able to endure life’s bullets!” He relaxes with, “A malt whiskey: Old Pultney from Wick.” WHAT? Excellent Press is a small niche hard back publisher of quality non-fiction work with an interest in the country. The business was established in 1993 in order to allow David, “To publish what appealed to me, by authors I liked and admired.” Excellent Press specialises in country interest, in food and country life and gives David the opportunity to publish books that he personally enjoys, such as ‘My Old Man’s the Gas Man’ by Mike Sargent, and more recently, ‘Countryman’s Cooking’ by Bill Fowler. The next book to be published is called ‘Traditional Food in Shropshire’ which will be launched in September 2009. It will explore food and eating habits in Shropshire, from information which has been unravelled from manuscripts since Medieval times.

A love of literature and a passion for country food and country life have fused together in the form of David Burnett’s book publishing business, ‘Excellent Press’. The success of his business is due in no small part to the intuitive way that he chooses the books that he publishes! He was keen to join EHQ “I find it a very interesting enterprise, good for the entrepreneurial community.”

HOW? A desire to publish a particular book was the incentive to set up ‘Excellent Press’. “I had a famous author in mind, who wanted to do a last book. It was ‘Specasting’ by Hugh Falkus. It was very successful and very stressful to do, especially the design element.” With this initial project under his belt, David has gone on to learn other important business lessons, such as the importance of careful financial management, “Do not spend too much of one’s money with one’s enthusiasm. Nurse the cash. I commissioned a book from a famous author; sold none!” However recently, David had a stroke of luck when he chanced upon a book which had been an old favourite of his, and gave it a new lease of life. “I found a copy of Bill Fowler’s book in an Oxfam shop and reprinted it, which has been a huge national success.”

Things are going well for David, who enjoys the freedom of his way of life, and mostly works on small projects which he can manage on his own, “I work alone in the office in the attic. When the need arises, I use freelance contractors, printer, designer, production consultant.”

01584 877803 excellent.press@ukonline.co.uk www.excellentpress.co.uk

THE FUTURE The format of David’s business works well for him and he has no desire to change it. “Presently I do not want to grow the business any further. When the time comes, I would like to pass it on or sell it.” David does not like the term retirement but looks forward to enjoying the correct blend of work and fishing for a long time to come!

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23


Flat-living.co.uk “Have your own working space at home.”

WHO? Belinda Thorpe is the Director of the Wolverhampton based company, ‘Residence Line’, which specialises in insurance cover for blocks of flats. She describes herself as “Focused, driven, curious, a lover of new ideas and creativity, sticking it all together and see it go.”

Living in a flat has plenty of advantages including reduced management costs, community spirit and the security of having neighbours with a mutual interest in their property. Specific legal and financial issues relate to flat owners and these are well known by Belinda Thorpe, who has set up ‘Flat-Living’ to offer help and advice to flat owners and tenants. She looks forward to expanding her business through recommendation and exchanging advice with other professionals, “EHQ will be a great help to me as a networking base.”

0845 257 6374 info@flat-living.co.uk www.flat-living.co.uk

WHAT? Flat-living.co.uk and Flat-living Magazine Ltd provide information for flat owners and tenants about the running of the management of the common areas of their flats. The web site contains a wide range of information on issues such as basic concepts, advice for people living in leasehold flats, guidance on how to negotiate ground rents, how to obtain the right to manage their properties, and how to deal with the issues of enfranchisement and lease extension. The web site is supported by a quarterly magazine. HOW? Her previous line of work in insurance cover specifically for blocks of flats gave Belinda an insight into the needs of the residents of flats. “I could see there was a gap; flat owners needed answers to questions, the answers not being available.” Establishing the website came first. “I knew it was a viable idea and I spent 3 weeks editing and posting it online.” Next came recruiting suitable sales people, but now that both web sites are ready and her sales force is in place, Belinda can see the light at the end of the tunnel and knows that she can rely on her partners. THE FUTURE The next major achievement for ‘Flat-Living’ will be to produce and distribute its own magazine which will provide a regular voice and lots of information for its readers. “I am very excited about the first magazine, October 2009. It will be the icing on the cake.” Retirement is a long way off for Belinda, but she has given it some thought, “45 would be nice!” Doubtless this goal will be just as attainable as her others!

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24


Food Technical Solutions 07914 260499 info@foodtechnicalsolutions.co.uk www.foodtechnicalsolutions.co.uk

Pete Allman has a strong background in the food manufacturing industry. Spanning over 22 years, Pete has worked as a Technical Manager with such names as Dairy Crest, Greggs Bakery & HP sparkling on his C.V. His current venture Food Technical Solutions roots back to 2006 when Pete decided it was time for a change and took on a short contract job, it is then that Pete decided he liked working for himself and Food Technical Solutions was born. Offering consultancy on a wide range of issues within the food industry Food Technical Solutions has a lot of things to keep Pete busy. “The unique angle of FTS is the bringing together of the legality of food safety with the practicability of food manufacturing. Food Technical Solutions provides professional and friendly support to food manufacturers, caterers and retailers. The services deal with such issues as: training in food safety and accreditation systems, guidance on technical development, running of projects, support for legal implementation on food laws, compliance audits.” Despite the variation in laws and cultures Petes work has also taken him out of the UK and into Europe in particular, a part of the job Pete clearly enjoys. “My best experience so far has been spending time working in Europe, which has allowed me to experience firsthand European food laws, necessary to help exports for British food manufacturers” With Food Technical Solutions flourishing Pete offers one piece advice to others tempted to go at it alone. “Know your subject inside out, because you are alone out there, and you need convictions to go with it.”

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25


Gosling & Dean Accountants “Put the client first. Draw a line between home and business.”

WHO? Peter Gosling and Gary Dean have complementary skill sets and enjoy one another’s company. They have worked together for the past 18 months. Peter had previously spent 20 years in the Police Force and then went on to run a scuba diving school for the next 10 years. A back injury forced him to reconsider his career path, and he decided to retrain as an accountant. He joined a partnership initially, but eventually decided to work on his own, as he felt that he needed to apply his own philosophy to his work. He describes himself as, “Tenacious, dedicated, honest to a fault, passionate, gregarious, short-fused and straight talking.” His guiding principle is “To offer advice for a fair price.”

Despite having very different business backgrounds, Peter Gosling and Gary Dean found that they had complementary skills and worked very well together. Their passion for providing a simplified, bespoke accountancy service is a welcome relief for their clients, who enjoy their professional commitment. Having a venue for meeting and networking is essential to Gosling and Dean and they are looking forward to using the facilities at EHQ whenever they can.

Gary has an HND in Business and Finance and began his career working for a firm of chartered accountants. He left to set up his own green gift shop in the 90’s: a concept which was well ahead of its time. He went on to work as a Network Manager in an Accounts Department, before obtaining a First in a Computer Aided Design course. He also got involved in NVQ training at TCAT, until illness forced him to review his career path, and he became selfemployed. He describes himself as, “Innovative, passionate, problem solver, ideas man, driven and customer focused.” His guiding principle is, “To make sure that the information that we provide, improves our clients’ business.” WHAT? Gosling & Dean Accountants and Tax Advisors provides IT driven, simplified accountancy, and business improvement advice, with the aim of acting within the tax year to reduce the final bill. They feel that accountancy for small businesses should be much simpler, easier to understand and tailormade for each client. They are keen to provide the perfect service. HOW? Having both experienced health issues, Peter and Gary felt that setting up their own business, would give them flexibility to control their own work loads. The business was started by Peter in 2006, with Gary joining in 2008 and is operated as a limited liability partnership. Their business was built on the strength of their reputations’ and both partners work hard to make sure that they give a good service to their clients. The business was built up by word of mouth, doubling the client base every year.

Although they have similar attitudes and philosophies towards their work, Peter and Gary have very differing views of the way that home-working fits in with their lifestyles, however they both agree that combining their talents has been a success for them.

01952 505788 petergosling@taxterrier.co.uk / garydean@taxterrier.co.uk

THE FUTURE The partners aim to continue, “Growing the business and keeping our principles intact.” Peter and Gary both agree that they want to avoid doing unnecessary admin, and they are hoping that the new software, which Gary is in the process of writing, will help them to achieve this. They are always striving to be more customer conscious and to improve their business.

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26


Hafren Water Ltd A solid reputation based on considerable experience in the field of hydrogeology was the basis from which Chris Leake set up Hafren Water Ltd. The company was established in 2000, and now has a diverse range of clients both in the UK and abroad. In addition to their commercial business, Hafren Water has strong ethical principles and provides voluntary input into several water related aid organisations including WaterAid. Chris had a clear aim in mind when he joined EHQ, “I use the facilities: I can work uninterrupted and concentrate.” WHO? Chris Leake is a hydrogeology graduate. He spent the first 5 years of his career working on oil exploration projects in South East Asia. He then went on to work on environmental assessments overseas and in the UK, before returning to the UK where he was a consultant hydrologist for Tarmac in Wolverhampton for 7 years. 11 years ago he started working freelance and went on to start Hafren Water in 2000. Chris describes himself as a “Lateral thinker. Energetic. Enthusiastic. Unconventional. I like a challenge, to make an abstract concept work.” His guiding principle is, “To run the business with a long term view.”

WHAT? Hafren Water is a consultancy which delivers pragmatic solutions to a wide range of groundwater and surface water management issues. A thorough scientific understanding, extensive practical experience and solid technical ability enable the company to take an innovative approach to problem solving. The company has a wide range of clients, including The Environment Agency, Severn Trent Water, Tarmac, andSchweppes.

01743 355770 chris@hafrenwater.com www.hafrenwater.com

HOW? Having made the decision to set up Hafren Water, Chris used savings to fund the business initially. He then began networking at an international level which slowly began to generate clients. Working in a specialised area can be challenging for a new business, “Finding work at the beginning was slow.” However, Chris quickly realised that in order to meet the requirements of the market, it was important to, “Diversify by increasing the amount of services we offer.” THE FUTURE The ongoing development of a company is crucial to its survival and Hafren Water is committed to staying abreast of technical and regulatory developments in the UK and abroad in order to maintain its’ excellent professional reputation.

“Maintain your presence and network continuously, that is what it is all about.”

Chris has a clear target for the future of Hafren Water, “We will not expand it further than 12 staff. I am aiming for a business where we all share in the profit of it and ultimately I can just walk away from it. I do not want to sell it as we are all very proud of where we have got to. I would also like to get involved in more overseas developments as we do voluntary work in Africa and the East.” On a personal level, when he does take a well deserved break from running the business, Chris is looking forward to, “Doing more outdoor activities for me.” As you would expect, a modest ambition from a very accomplished man!

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27


Hole In The Wall Festival A desire to make sure that their ancestral home was passed down to future generations was the motivation for establishing ‘Hole in the Wall Concert’. Chris and Sarah Woodward have diversified in order to survive. They work hard, but find the rewards well worth their efforts. Since becoming members of EHQ, they have found the advice, support, marketing and promotion invaluable. WHO? Chris and Sarah Woodward have established a diverse range of businesses in order to make sure that they preserve Chris’ ancestral home for future generations to come. Chris runs the estate, is a wine merchant and also uses the Court as a wedding venue. Chris describes himself as impatient, charming, entrepreneurial, enthusiastic, gregarious and cynical.

WHAT? Hole in the Wall Concert promotes rock music in a rural area, giving an opening for young musicians. Chris was himself a drummer in his early years, so it was a logical step to channel his enthusiasm into this line of business. HOW? In 1996, the Woodwards agreed to turn their walled vegetable garden into a concert venue, and they now showcase famous and local artists in an annual evening of musical extravaganza! Having decided that this was a viable business idea, they then had to comply with Licensing and Health and Safety regulations, which with them bring their own problems. However, they have successfully navigated through all of these. “We are now able to attract national and international bands to our annual music festival.”

01299 270734 www.holeinthewallconcert.co.uk

The business has been built up through advertising and promotion and Enterprise HQ was pleased to help with a Cancer Research UK event in 2007. When the need arises, freelancers are brought in to supply any necessary additional skills. Sarah and Chris enjoy sharing a common target, but also find that they work best in separate offices so as not to disturb one another. They average about 80 hours each a week, so need to be able to work without distraction. “You never get away from the job, the phone rings at all hours!” THE FUTURE Preserving the family assets for future generations is a labour of love for the Woodwards, and can be all consuming. The couple are comfortable with the level of business that they are currently operating at, and feel that it would be difficult to expand too much more because of the unpredictability of the British weather.

“Be prepared to work as many hours as it will take, it will be more than 9 to 5.”

Chris has always aspired to spend less time working, and more relaxing, and thinks that he has finally got the balance right. He relaxes with a glass of wine and dining out with friends and intends to continue doing so!

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Joined Up Business “Never sell. Perform an excellent job and custom will come.”

Providing specialist management support for companies during periods of change, and difficult times, is an essential service to the economy. Connor Birch and his team work across the UK and have a well-deserved reputation for excellence. Networking through EHQ is an invaluable method of informing local businesses about the Joined Up Business services. 0845 543 8731 connorbirch@joinedupbusiness.com www.joinedupbusiness.com

WHO? Connor Birch began his career as a programmer for IBM UK Laboratories, and started working freelance in 1988. He progressed towards increasingly demanding interim management roles, mostly working for major corporations. Connor lives in Shropshire with his 13 year old son. Always trying to improve business performance, Connor loves, “Inventing better methods and processes” and less conventionally, “Sky diving, scuba diving, and dancing folk, salsa, and jive!”

WHAT? Joined Up Business.com “Provides additional management capabilities for companies during periods of change, for as long as it is needed. “Services fall into two categories: firstly, helping companies to achieve competitive advantage, which might include developing and implementing novel, including patentable, technologies, project and change management, or business process engineering. “Secondly, helping companies to restructure, be it outsourcing, downsizing, acquisitions and disposals, or turnaround.” HOW Starting the business was as natural progression from Connor’s corporate life. “Only the best company directors recognise the value that specialist management can bring. I have saved clients millions of pounds, but too often interim managers are seen only as an expense. Research by Accountancy Age showed that interim managers provide a pay back to their clients of 1400%; there are not many other initiatives that can achieve that sort of return. In turnaround situations we can literally save the company!" Connor finds that working from his large study at home is efficient and comfortable. Joined Up Business is operated by Connor and three other like-minded people, who are all home-based and work well together. “We have a network of 250 accredited partners in the UK, providing us with additional expertise as required. In addition we are each members of different organizations, such as the Turnaround Management Association. This enables us to reach an enormous pool of well qualified experts." Connor has found that the best way of promoting his skill is to provide an initial free Bottom Line Business Review, including a set of confidential observations and recommendations. "Most of my work has come from people who have already seen what I can achieve; so providing free samples is my best route into the local market. We find that this is an excellent way of helping directors to recognise the benefits of our services. "Many companies are unaware of the extent that competent interim managers can improve their business, and need friends and business associates to recommend our free service. We pay a £1,000 reward for introductions where the company recognises the benefit and goes on to use further services.” THE FUTURE The business model for Joined Up Business is robust. In times of economic crisis, the company can guide businesses through the changes associated with streamlining as they adjust to reduced demand, and when the economy improves, there will be plenty of opportunities to help businesses through the growth process as they expand.

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Jordan Lewis Associates

Kirsty Burgoine

01952 583721 enquiries@jordan-lewis.co.uk www.jordan-lewis.co.uk

07595 610 391 info@kirstyburgoine.co.uk www.kirstyburgoine.co.uk

In 1977 Geoff did an apprenticeship with the MEB, the Midlands Electricity Board. Electrical installation did not actually fire him up, so he went back to College to qualify as an electrical engineer. He stayed with the MEB until 85, then joined a security firm, but by 88 Geoff had decided to go it alone.

In 2007 Geoff refocused his company and called it Jordan Lewis Associates, concentrating on the professional services side of the industry. JLA provide mechanical and electrical design and project management services to end users for the construction industry, through architects. The consultancy offers unlimited care and attention to detail for each client. It is a bespoke service, with the emphasis on participation with each project.

Kirsty Burgoine started her marketing career with a musical instruments wholesaler, where she was also in charge of pr and in time doing their graphic design for launch events and catalogues. It was only when the wholesaler required a website that Kirsty learned how and this moment started her budding career. Kirsty Burgoine websites work with the design and development of websites of all sizes, E-commerce and Eblog. Her services include advance search maximization, help and support with marketing. As a new start-up Kirsty is hoping that her prices will drive more custom her way, “I can offer the whole wide range of products related to web design, usually done by larger companies. As a freelance I am cost effective.”

Over 22 years the marketing has been word of mouth. JLA past and present high profile jobs work as a recommendation. As an example they have just completed a project for replacement of air-handling equipment (air conditioning) for London Heart Hospital. Another achievement consisted of carrying out a proportion of the lighting, small power and mains distribution for the NATO Hospital at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan.

With the majority of new start-ups the marketing budget is not as expansive as might be hoped but Kirsty is finding ways round that, using social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. This move is clearly working for her, at the time of writing Kirsty has only been in business for 3 weeks, completing 5 websites with another 4 on the go.

Recently Geoff decided to become more proactive and moving to EHQ has raised the profile of the Company.

Going freelance as a website designer for digital agencies is a move Kirsty counts as her best and is enjoying having the freedom of making her own decisions.

“My business home truth has to be: Stay focused on the task at hand. Make sure the service is completed to everyone’s satisfaction.”

As Kirsty herself is going through the business start-up she is very well qualified to pass on her one top-tip to others hoping to be in her position: “Do not be afraid to manage your client, work at your own timetable, do not be pushed in promises you cannot keep.”

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30


mbf Design

In and Around Magazine

01952 603901 enquiries@mbf-design.co.uk www.mbf-design.co.uk

01952 603457 leur@inandaroundmagazine.co.uk www.inandaroundmagazine.co.uk

After qualifying as an architect in 2008 Matthew Franklin was unfortunately made redundant from his first employment due to the recession. After a history of 10 years working experience he decided to start his own company MBF Design, Matt decided of taking this root as a necessity due to the market for architects being saturated by redundant directors/more experienced applicants. Matt has been working in construction both for home owners and the business market. Matt is an all-rounder and the application of Design offered by MBF Design goes all the way from the business card to the finished building. Matt certainly likes a challenging design, working with the client and designing in line with their requirements. “The combination of me and my background experience. I want to offer “Architecture in plain English, not plain English architecture. My approach is pure and simple, but my design is anything but. I run a Design Surgery on line, by email or phone, called ‘Ask the architect’ to be found on my website”. Matt believes that implementing his marketing strategy including the use of Twitter has been his best move to date. MBF Designs marketing does not stop at Twitter with advertising being located in a parish magazine, along with an editorial in Nova magazine; a free publication to businesses in Newport. Matt, a creative problem solver and is also keen to plan for the future of his business which is typified in his home-business truth; “Have a clear idea of your objective, organize your time for efficiency”.

Fleur’s working experience had been mainly on the administrative side of sales and marketing, for such as Beacon Radio and Tarmac. When she saw the gap in the market for a local magazine, she started In and Around when on maternity leave from her second daughter. She used her experience in sales and on how to design on pc. “In and Around is a community magazine, very localized, free, delivered door to door. Its main aim is to advertise the local amenities to the community. The advertising it publishes pays for the magazine, its distribution and my profit. It has been going for 5 years. The first edition was put together in 3 weeks. The aim of the magazine is twofold: help local businesses to grow and help local residents to find them.” Fleur always deals with the perspective advertisers herself, this personal touch has gained her many satisfied testimonials from her clients. It is easily recognizable because it is very local. New advertisers are offered an editorial space, which tells their story. This magazine sells itself. It is put through letter boxes. The advertising is now established. At times Fleur concentrates on a specific subject, for example motoring, and will do a mail shot. “Originally the first magazine was just Muxton, followed by Priorslee in 2005, Shifnal in 2006, 2 more in 2007. my best move was to merge all these into one in 2009, with a distribution of 11.400, aiming for 15.000 by the end of 2010. At the beginning this was not easy, I had to put in as many hours as possible. If you want to succeed, put into it everything you can to make it work.”

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Maple Glass “You will get out of it what you put into it. Make your product as good as you can and keep a close eye on the market place”

Working as a radiographer was a rewarding career, but was not tapping into Pamela’s creative ability. She set up Maple Glass and now loves being able to produce unique and beautiful items of jewellery. The fact that she can do so in the comfort of her own workshop, in her own time and whilst accommodating the needs of her three teenagers, makes her new venture even more satisfying. Pamela is keen to exploit the marketing opportunities at EHQ and hopes that membership will increase her market presence.

07751 525253 maplepurslow@btopenworld.com

www.mapleglass.co.uk

WHO? Pamela Purslow: Shropshire born Pamela trained as a radiographer and is still working as a practitioner/departmental manager in Bridgnorth Hospital. Her passion for glass inspired her to enrol on a course at the Gateway to become a stained glass artist and she then progressed to ‘fusing’ – the art of cutting glass, arranging a design and using the heat of a kiln to fuse the glass together. As well as a full-time job and a business, Pamela also has a husband and 3 teenage children! She explains that she started the business because, “I wanted to take a different direction and to be more independent.” The business builds on Pamela’s natural talent for caring. “I like to please people. I am a good listener and I am proud of my follow-up customer service.” WHAT? Maple Glass specialises in: “Bespoke manufacture of glass beads, combined with silver in a unique design.” Pamela set up the business in 2005 using the initials of the names of members of her family – Marc, Abby, Pam, Lawrence and Emily. The business has subsequently gone from strength to strength, overcoming initial teething problems. One difficulty was, “Finding a market. I had to learn the technology necessary, source the suppliers on the internet, organise marketing and find extra time.” HOW? The decision to branch out into business came quite easily to Pamela. “I was very lucky, it was the launch of Made in Shropshire which spurred me into action.” She has made the most of local support services including membership of WIRE and now hopes that membership of EHQ will also assist her. She has also found that networking with a Forum website which specialises in glass art, has been very useful. For Pamela, home-working has provided the flexibility that is essential in modern family life. “Although the demands of the teenagers are never ending, working at home is ideal and my creativity goes on well into the evening. I would not like to have the workshop anywhere else. The best move that I have made was to have a studio built in the garden by my husband, although it is not as easy to work by myself as I thought.” THE FUTURE So that the business can continue to expand and develop in the future, Pamela has plans to expand her knowledge of the materials that she works with. “I am going to take a silversmith course and include unique silver items in my design.” Such is her love of her glass work that she lists it as her favourite pick-me-up and is aiming for, “Short breaks and tranquillity,” in retirement so that she can continue to spend some time on her love for creating beautiful jewellery from glass.

www.entrepreneursnetwork.co.uk

32


Nuthatch Ltd “Do your market research. Keep going and do not expect immediate results.”

A wealth of business experience means that Clare Hill can bring much needed support to any owner/operator who is struggling to keep pace with administrative and commercial demands. Clare’s careful planning has paid off, and her business has expanded steadily over the past 5 years, here is a business owner, looking to continue the growth of her own business whilst supporting other entrepreneurs through meeting and networking through EHQ.

01952 814 111 clare@nuthatchltd.co.uk www.nuthatchltd.co.uk

WHO? Clare Hill has had a diverse and varied career. From running her own farm in Northamptonshire, Clare went on to become a trainer and business administration assessor at a local further education college; she then worked with NACRO on government sponsored work and training schemes. But Clare didn’t stop there! Becoming a Project Manager for the Shropshire Rural Stress Support Network, which became a flagship charitable organisation and when her work there was completed, she went to work for WiRE [Women in Rural Enterprise], helping them to build their local Shropshire network and project managed the first West Midland WiRE project. With this wealth of experience under her belt, 5 years ago, Clare felt the time was right to set up her own business in Office Management. “It was time to play by my rules; if I did not do this now, then when would I ?”

WHAT? Nuthatch Ltd (Which stands for “Never Underestimate The Hours Administration Takes”- Clare Hill),provides the services of Freelance Office Management, assisting with the administration and management of small and growing businesses. Clare often works with people who are stressed by their administration, and will work with them to help them tackle anything from book-keeping to planning; marketing campaigns to diary management. She defines herself as a ‘business aide’ and ‘freelance manager’, and offers a much needed life-line to entrepreneurs who are getting bogged down by bureaucracy! HOW? Taking the plunge and setting up her own business was a big step which Clare approached carefully. “I spent a lot of time working with a life coach to assess if it was the right thing for me. The business plan and market research followed. I just had to take the leap. It takes time.” The careful planning has paid off and Clare is confident that she has made the right decision. “I enjoy working on my own, I try to be disciplined about working from home. Sometimes I overdo it. I have to watch that I do not work till I drop.” She has worked hard at making sure that she is taking the right direction and confirms, “Building up contacts and turning them into business was harder than expected. It took some time to find the right niche, but the business is now growing steadily.” THE FUTURE Developing her business in the right direction is critical to Clare who is concentrating on, “Consolidating my business around what I am good at.” She is continually appraising her skills, working to expand and update her skill-set and to improve her working practices. “I am keen to train myself to a higher level in management accounting.” As you would expect, planning for the long term has not been overlooked, and Clare is looking forward to spending time in, “A nice house near the countryside, close to a small town and the sea,” - the perfect antidote to the pressures of business!

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33


Original Photo Art Sometimes retirement brings to light a skill which has lain hidden throughout a successful working life! This was true for Margaret Caley whose love of photography was revealed when she moved to Shropshire in her retirement and that passion was converted to an inspired business interest. Margaret has spent twenty-three years working in the Middle East, so the ability to make new networks through EHQ will be invaluable to her in establishing her business. WHO? Margaret Caley had spent most of her early working life in administrative roles. . Then in the early 80s she moved to the Middle East, where latterly for 11 years she was HR Manager for BP Downstream. Margaret already owned a property in Shropshire, so the move to the county was a natural choice when she retired and returned to England 5 years ago.

Her new lifestyle allowed Margaret to spend time enjoying the beauty of the Shropshire countryside, and inspired her to revive her love of painting. At first the majority of her paintings were of landscapes, which were based on digital photographs which Margaret had taken. As her work developed the photography aspect became increasingly important and Margaret began to make cards featuring the images. WHAT? Original Photo Art designs handmade greeting cards using photographic images which have been taken with a high quality digital camera. The passion for her photography inspired Margaret to set up her business, “I wanted to do something that would fulfil my creative needs. I knew my cards were unique; I have developed an extensive library of images which includes more than 150 useable photographs of Shrewsbury and Shropshire, which sell very well. I also take commissions for personalised cards and wedding stationary.” Margaret is currently working on expanding the mounted images side of the business and has recently purchased a new professional pigment ink printer enabling printing at home up to size A3+.

01743 241275 margaretcaley@talktalk.net www.madeinshropshire.co.uk

HOW? When her work was accepted by ‘Made in Shropshire’, it was a huge boost to Margaret’s confidence, as they have a reputation for promoting top quality artistic work - this was an important step in getting her business off the ground. “Joining ‘Shrewsbury Makers’, and then ‘Made in Shropshire’; were very positive moves for me. As is my wont, I ended up on the committee!” As a member of “Made in Shropshire”, she also takes a stall once a month in the Market Square in Shrewsbury. The freedom to work when she chooses has been invaluable to Margaret. “As I work at my hobby like a job, it has helped me enormously to be able to work at home. I find it labour intensive, but I can work at it when it suits me.”

“Do not work with limitations. Network with like-minded people. You need feedback from people”

THE FUTURE If you are lucky enough to have found that you have a talent in an area that you enjoy, and can develop into a business; it is only to be expected that you would want to continue! For Margaret, however, it doesn’t stop there. She plans to, “Carry on being creative. Do more painting, take great images, understand my camera more, stay involved in the local craft scene and become the Master of Something, instead of the ‘Mistress of Nothing’!” Noble ambitions which there can be no doubt that she will achieve!

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34


Pittaway Consultants In the present economic climate, it is important for companies to be as competitive as possible. Rachel and John Pittaway realised that ensuring best value for business expenses could be a key factor in ensuring the success of a business and that there was a ‘gap in the market’ for reliable advice on this topic. As part of the creation of a new business, the couple have chosen EHQ as the perfect venue to meet with clients and to make valuable new business contacts. WHO? Rachel and John Pittaway: Rachel has run her own accountancy business for some time and also runs a complementary therapy business. John is training to be a Home Inspector and a Commercial Energy Assessor. Working together does not suit every couple, but Rachel confirms: “Bringing John’s skills into a combined business is the way forward; there is definitely a synergy between us.” “We felt that we could offer our experience in an advisory capacity to help businesses to ensure that they are getting best value. We have contacts that allow us to offer a review of utility costs, and are looking to build up more contacts that will enable us to help our clients.” WHAT? Pittaway Consultants was established in 2009 as a trading name for Rachel’s limited company to help home based businesses and small and medium-sized companies to save money on their utilities. Rachel uses her financial background to review business expenses for their clients, whilst John can advise on stock and warehouse management, and compliance with health and safety legislation. Together they also work as energy brokers. The business aims: “To make potential clients understand the power of rationalising their outgoings.”

01948 710 817 Rachel@pittawayconsultants.co.uk www.pittawayconsultants.co.uk

HOW? Rachel moved to Shropshire from Oxfordshire four years ago. Since meeting and marrying John it has become obvious that the wealth of experience that they have both gained in the business environment is something they can offer to other businesses. They aim to develop Pittaway Consultants not only by working directly for clients, but also by establishing partnerships, which they see as the way forward in times that are increasingly difficult for businesses of all sizes. An organised approach is essential to dividing time between the different aspects of their lives and to gaining new business: “We rely very heavily on our diaries and have regular diary meetings with each other; even our non business life is in the diary! It is very important to us and we realise that we need to be proactive with it.”

“Use your diary as a tool and stick to it. Keep some ‘Me’ time.”

THE FUTURE Getting the right work/life balance is important to Rachel who says: “I relax through gardening and walking the dogs. I have recently completed the RHS Certificate in General Horticulture course at the Welsh College of Horticulture.” John agrees with the sentiment, but his aim is, “Less work, more motor bike rallying! I relax through riding the bike, meditation and walking the dogs.”

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Pots and Dots Yvonne’s successful Shropshire business has been running for over five years, and she has adapted her manufacturing and sales channels to suit the growing demand for her products. A huge advocate of home working, Yvonne enjoys the flexibility her business gives her. Alongside her own website, the online Entrepreneurs Network provides an additional opportunity to capture the attention of potential new markets. WHO? Yvonne Baccanello:Yvonne’s passion for art has always been at the heart of her employment. Starting out in London, she used her qualifications in art to work at prestigious national magazine publishers Emap in the production department. Using knowledge gleaned from her time in production, she then lectured apprentices in the art of the printing process

After starting a family, she left Fulham and moved to Shropshire in 1999, in 2004 Yvonne felt ready to start a new business. She had received much praise for a jug she had painted herself, and the idea for Pots and Dots was born

WHAT? Pots and Dots takes commissions for painting subjects on china. Yvonne paints blank items of domestic china, principally and by popular demand, with coloured dots in monocolour or mixed colours. Yvonne also undertakes bespoke orders, matching colours required by the client, or with painted names, or commemorative dates. HOW? "I love working from home, I love the flexibility it gives me to look after my business and my small holding. It is important though to have a separate work-space for the business so it doesn’t take over your life."

01588 630285 potsanddots@orange.net www.potsanddots.co.uk

Equipment was the first hurdle for Yvonne to master. "At the start I used a domestic oven. When this was no longer sufficient and when I went from paint to glazes I invested in my first small kiln. After that I got a medium one and realised there was no going back. My favourite piece of technology now is my computerised kiln – I wouldn’t be without it!" When it came to selling her china, Yvonne used sheer persistence to ensure she was well represented at craft fairs all over the country. In fact as business took off, she started to limit the fairs she attended, selecting those which provide the biggest benefits and returns.

“Keep your goals at the forefront of your mind”

THE FUTURE Yvonne’s business is seasonal by nature, with demand most intense towards Christmas. During the busiest periods she works up to 12 hours a day, but still takes time out to relax with friends and family. In retirement she hopes to find more time for horse riding and visiting art galleries, but in the meantime her business provides her with the perfect way to combine her artistic flair with her entrepreneurial spirit.

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36


Promofix A supportive employer mentored Kathryn Holloway before she set up her own business. She spotted a gap in the market and her colourful range of innovative promotional products has proved to be a huge success! EHQ fits Kathryn’s requirements perfectly, “EHQ is a professional base from which I can work and meet my clients. Using the mailbox services has also been a great help in establishing the business with a professional address.” She was delighted to gain a substantial contract while exhibiting at an Enterprise HQ event. WHO? Kathryn Holloway worked as a marketing executive for a PR company in Shrewsbury for 5 years. Two years ago, she began thinking about having her own promotional business and she was lucky enough to have a supportive employer, who mentored her for 2 years until she was ready to go it alone. In April 2009 she bought the marketing side of the business from him, and she hasn’t looked back since. Kathryn works from home with her family. She describes herself as “Enthusiastic, 100% committed, energetic, funky, and works closely with clients to make sure they get the best results.” Her guiding principle is, “To perform professionally in my business, but with as much fun as possible as you have to enjoy what you do.” WHAT? Promofix Ltd. produces promotional items and corporate merchandise for businesses. They can produce anything from simple pens and mugs to totally bespoke items designed by the team to suit a company’s campaign or event. The originality of the products, the ability of the company to cope with orders of any size and the speed at which the order can be met, has meant that Promofix has got off to a flying start!

0845 00 49 557 kathryn@promofix.com www.promofix.com

HOW? Kathryn has always had a strong idea of how she wanted to develop her career, “Having always worked for a small firm, I wanted to continue my career that way. I had the idea of promotional material when working with my original employer, and I found that there was a niche market for it. I do plenty of networking within Shropshire and I am currently Chairperson of Telford Young Professionals, and Ambassador for Young People in Business for Make your Mark. Setting up her own company has meant that Kathryn gets involved in all aspects of running a business. ” The market we operate in is very price driven, and it is crucial to be competitive whilst being able to added extra value through our product knowledge and creative ideas.”

Kathryn enjoys being liberated from working 9 – 5 in an office, “I find that having a flexible workspace allows the business to respond to our clients’ needs quickly and efficiently.”

THE FUTURE Retirement is a very distant prospect for Kathryn, who is keen to invest time in establishing her company. “My ambition is to develop the business over the coming years and keep at the forefront of changes

“Concentrate on your work in the allocated space. Beware of distractions.”

within the industry.”

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37


Quality of Life Thinktank Establishing the ‘Quality of Life Think Tank’ was a natural progression for Mark Layder, who had been a Director of the Centre of Consultancy for 15 years. His new business involves working with the younger generation which he finds very rewarding. He was keen to join EHQ. “I am fascinated by the project and the back to roots businesses.” WHO? Mark Layder was a Director of The Centre for Consultancy for 15 years. The Centre operates on a national basis, providing coaching in management, team skills, diversity and communications on a corporate basis. He realised that there was a gap in the provision of training for businesses and applied this core theme to the set up of his own company, ‘Quality of Life Think Tank’. Mark describes himself as “Creative, competitive with myself, driven with humour, impatient and a fast worker.” His guiding principle is, “To prove in advance that our programmes work. We prototype, which is slower but more guaranteed.” Football provides the ideal pick-me-up and Mark is the Mental Coach for the Shrewsbury Football Club

WHAT? Quality of Life Think Tank has a, “Mission: to create Educational Hollwood, a distribution system for education. Visionary: to create ‘thrival’ rather than ‘survival’!“ The company was established by Mark, and aims to get involved with educational programmes for school age children. Quality of Life Think Tank (QoLTT), works with the University of Birmingham, schools and Governors, to promote an educational distribution system. They are currently working on a training programme at the University with 50,000 young students who range from primary school age, to 15 years old.

01948 780204 info@qol.com www.qol.com

HOW? The idea for QoLTT was clear to Mark. He could see that there was a need for someone to provide the sort of service that he had been supplying, but to the younger age market. Establishing the business did not pose a problem, “I just kept going. Our work comes from referrals and the affiliate market. We have discovered that we need to prove the existing project, before one can expand to the next level. We have found the link with the University to be invaluable: We instigated the programme ‘Alternative Educational Techniques.” Mark is fortunate enough to live in an ex-hotel, which provides the perfect venue for hosting events for his new business and for homeworking. “It has really helped: I like to have the business around me.”

“Set up a home-based work routine.”

THE FUTURE Mark’s driven by a clear vision for the business. “We will create a community of ‘ENTELECHYSTS’: Education for success in the 21st century. I knew I could make more information available to schools. In the future I need to talk to more people and share the way we work. We do not need to innovate any more, but strive to consolidate the present strategy.” However, one day, when he’s ready Mark looks forward to retiring to a house in Cyprus where he can take stock of all of his hard work.

www.entrepreneursnetwork.co.uk

38


Purple Frog IT “Work hard, play hard.”

WHO? Hollie Whittles amassed a wide range of corporate business experience prior to setting up Purple Frog IT. Having worked as a Retail Manager, IT Trainer, Software Tester and Learning and Development Manager, she already had many of the skills needed to successfully run her own company. She describes herself as, “Professional, motivated, bubbly, hardworking and enthusiastic”, and it comes as no surprise to hear that her guiding principle in setting up the company has been, “To establish a reputation for quality, reliability, and exceeding customer expectations.”

Despite operating in a competitive and dynamic sector, ‘Purple Frog IT’ has become a thriving and popular web design service. The company aims to exceed customer expectations and the reward has been an outstanding reputation based on recommendations and strong client testimonials and satisfied customers who come back. EHQ has provided the owner/proprietor, Hollie, with the perfect networking forum for growing her business. The high standard of professionalism offered by the EHQ hubs have led her to host frequent meetings on site, and she is a regular attendee of EHQ courses and events.

Hollie is genuinely pleased when her customers are happy, and as a reward she is not averse to treating herself for a job well done! WHAT? Purple Frog IT offer a professional, experienced and creative web design and internet consultancy service.

HOW Building the business required a long term strategy, time and effort. The company has been built on recommendations and good client testimonials, despite having to compete in what has become a very fast moving, saturated market. She has found that networking has been an excellent way of raising the profile of Purple Frog IT and securing more business. Purple Frog IT’s consultants are the key to the ability of the Studio to respond quickly to the requirements of its customers. Hollie enjoys the flexibility that running her own business gives her, but has found that disciplined self-motivation is critical to finding the right work/life balance.

THE FUTURE Getting the right mix of advertising and marketing to secure a niche in the market place is a hurdle to overcome and Hollie looks forward to continue building her Ecosystem of partners to help grow the business.

0845 6436463 sales@purpleforgit.co.uk www.purplefrogit.co.uk

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39


Sarah Hill Jewellery “Be extremely organised and determined”

Sarah Hill was inspired by her love of stained glass windows. Through her jewellery she has found a way of developing this passion, exploring innovative and different ways of combining glass with other materials in her unique and contemporary jewellery. Sarah has recognised that through EHQ she can benefit from a connection with a bigger business network, whilst enjoying the peace and tranquillity of her life in Shropshire.

01939 236478 sarah@sarahhilljewellery.com www.sarahhilljewellery.com

WHO? Sarah has a degree in 3 Dimensional Design from Bristol. She initially worked as an Exhibition Artist for the Shropshire County Council and then began working with graphics. She went on to work for Laura Ashley before eventually setting up her own business. She chose to go into glass work, as she wanted to work with a hands-on skill. She began with a kiln in the garage, cutting the sheet glass on the kitchen table, working the glass cold and then reworking it. Sarah has 2 children and describes herself as being, “Determined, focused and willing to drop out of my comfort zone daily.” She set up the business because, “By the time I reached the age of 40 I wanted to take on a challenge.” Despite the demands of her business and family, Sarah does manage to find sometime for herself. She relaxes by going for a ride on her bicycle and she uses her camera to record the inspiration which she sees around her. WHAT? Sarah Hill Glass Jewellery specialises in producing, “Contemporary and unique fused glass jewellery, through an understanding of the chemistry and physics of glass.” She has developed ground-breaking manufacturing techniques as a result of pioneering research to invent new ways of employing glass in jewellery. Sarah took the brave step to leave the security of her job in 2004 and describes how she set up her business. "It was a steep learning curve: I had to get back to grips with doing everything myself: the product, the admin, the marketing." However, there is no doubt that Sarah has skilfully taken control and loves her new way of life. HOW? When asked how she turned her business into a reality, Sarah says “I did not think about it, I just did it.” Sarah says of the business support services, "I made contacts with WIRE and BL, but by far the greatest input I benefited from was Birmingham Innovation Centre JIIC Manufacturing Advisory Services." Sarah says that her best move so far has been to take a workshop 3 miles away, “So as to separate work from home.” Sarah’s business has grown gradually which has allowed Sarah to learn along the way. THE FUTURE Sarah has a strong vision of how she would like her business to develop in thefuture. Sarah and is keen for her business to continue to expand saying, “I go by gut reaction; I need to increase turnover.” She plans “To take staff on to run the business, I want it to grow" Once she has achieved all of that her dream for retirement is “A cottage on the Welsh borders,” which sounds likely to continue to provide plenty more inspiration for her artistic nature

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Sam Bagnall Photography Basing the business at home has been important for Sam Bagnall as it has allowed him to spend time with his family without losing control of his working life. He is one of the growing numbers of home-based businesses for whom work is also a passion, and photography is never far from his thoughts. EHQ provides the perfect and professional backdrop for promoting his quality service. WHO? Sam Bagnall has always had a passion for photography. On leaving college, he became a photographer and worked for the Shropshire Star and Birmingham Post and Mail. He describes himself as, “Hardworking, enthusiastic, creative and innovative, with an individual approach to each project.

WHAT? Sam Bagnall provides a professional service which encompasses wedding photography, general features and PR / Marketing. His business was started by networking and getting himself known where ever he could, in order to find clients.

07767 274 924 sambagnall@350.com www.samphoto.co.uk

The majority of Sam’s experience covers news, sport, fashion, PR, weddings and architectural projects and having gained initial recognition within the media, his photography has been met with high acclaim. Sam is a recipient of industry awards which include sport & news trophies, The Young Photographer of Year title and the acclaimed award for Barclay’s premier league Photographer of the Year. HOW? Sam felt that, “After 14 years working for newspapers, I needed another challenge and to work for myself. Getting started required hard work, perseverance, forward planning and networking.” Home-working works well for Sam and his family. It seems appropriate that the boundaries between work and home life blend gently, as photography is also Sam’s hobby and achieving this perfect work/life balance is important to him.

“You will get a gut feeling to know when it is right to make the move and start your own business.”

THE FUTURE In the long term Sam plans, “To take each day as it comes, keep building the client base and work to retain existing business,” and on a lighter note:“Keep snapping and keep focused!”

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Shropshire Property Search A professional approach to providing property information has meant that Heather Poole-Gleed has a business with solid foundations! She has been able to apply her organisational talents and business experience and has earned the support and loyalty of her business clients. She knows that one of the benefits of membership of EHQ will be, “Keeping me in touch with other home workers.” WHO? Heather Poole-Gleed had a wide range of business experience before setting up her own company. She had already worked in administration, as a medical secretary and also as a conference organiser, when she and her husband decided to buy and run a small manufacturing business. This precious business experience combined with her existing organisational skills gave Heather the confidence she needed to embark on her own business project, and an interest in property inspired her to investigate the viability of establishing a related business. Moving home can be a stressful experience for all concerned, but Heather has the perfect disposition for helping her business clients and guiding individuals through the process with the minimum amount of disruption. “I never say “No” - Every problem can be overcome by looking at it from a different angle!" WHAT? Shropshire Property Search is a professional organisation which provides cost effective conveyance solutions to vendors and purchasers. The company provides Property Searches, Home Information Packs (HIPs), Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) and Home Condition Reports to legal and estate agency professionals. HOW? Having decided that she was interested in working with property, Heather carried out some detailed investigation to find the perfect role for her. “It had to fulfil 3 basic criteria: no staff, no premises, no stock!”

01746 762 242 info@psn-shropshire.co.uk www.psn-shropshire.co.uk

Things really began to move ahead when she discovered the Property Search Network, “I bought a business model and attended the training course that went with it.” The business was established in May 2004. The next stage was to establish her reputation and build up a client base. “Finding clients was hard: it was difficult to get solicitors on board, but they are now loyal clients.” THE FUTURE Heather is continually looking for ways to improve and expand her business. “I’m looking forward to spending less time working unsociable hours and getting better at chasing money when it is due.”

“I do not cut corners, thus ensuring high quality results.”

In the longer term, she knows that the hard work will pay off, and that she will eventually be able to fulfil some other ambitions. “I would love to travel: revisit places I did not spend enough time in, and explore new ones.”

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42


Simon Barford Art Some people aspire to achieve success in one career - Simon Barford has managed to excel in two related but very different professions. Simon works as a distinguished hairdresser by day and in the evening turns his talents to creating works of art which are commissioned by an ever-growing following. Simon specialises in painting in the style of ‘Contrast Pop Art’ WHO? Simon’s career began when he gained a BTec Distinction in Graphic Design. He went on to apply his creative flair to a career in hairdressing, which led him to work with celebrity hairdresser Nicky Clarke. Fortunately for Shropshire, Simon and his family chose to relocate here in 2006 and since then Simon has become one of Shrewsbury’s most highly regarded hairdressers.

Simon’s love of painting was reignited when a family birthday prompted him to create a truly unique gift by painting his father-in-law’s favourite landscape. This was so well received that he went on to receive commissions from friends and family, and his business has gone from strength to strength. WHAT? Simon Barford Art specialises in painting in the style of ‘Contrast Pop Art’. He uses acrylic paints on hand made canvases. A finished canvas can take considerable time and the results are well worth it. Simon’s passion for his work is immediately evident and it comes as no surprise when he responds to a question about his guiding principle by explaining: “I am much inspired by the designer Ludwig mies van der Rohe, who said: ‘God is in the detail.’”

01939 251577 simonbarfordart@hotmail.com

HOW? Simon finds that his second career fits in well with the demands of his commitment to hairdressing and those of a young family. He say’s “I work in the evenings when the children have gone to bed, and on my days off. As I am happy doing it, this harmonises with my home life.” When asked how he turned the start-up idea into a reality he is happy to confirm that, “I am in the process of making this happen, and my commission requests are increasing. In addition, I am building a portfolio to introduce to selected Galleries with the support of one of the UK’s leading contemporary artists, Paul Horton.” . For Simon the addition of a second career in painting has given him a welcome creative outlet and he say’s “I am presently investing in the finest quality materials I can find.” Simon has managed to combine his love of painting with his full-time career as a hairdresser and is certain that the two complement one another. For Simon this has allowed him to spend time on his passion, without having to leave the security of his main career. THE FUTURE

“Find your own niche and style and stick to it”

There is no looking back for Simon, who relaxes through his painting and thrives on the challenge of breaking into the contemporary art world.

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Simply Shropshire “Do lots of research, know your market, know your competitors.”

WHO? Jayne McDermott had spent the majority of her working life as a civil servant in Shropshire until 3 years ago. Property development fulfilled her entrepreneurial interest for a couple of years, then, in 2008 she had a brilliant new idea and started her present business, ‘Simply Shropshire’. She wanted to have a complete change of direction and her passion for local produce led her to decide to develop a range of hampers and baskets containing locally sourced products. WHAT? Simply Shropshire sells luxury gift baskets and hampers which contain locally produced food and drink. “I make sure that I keep true to my word: use local, buy local, ‘Made in Shropshire’.” The gifts appeal to a wide range of people and can be delivered by hand in Shropshire or by courier nationwide.

Being willing to step out of her comfort zone and do something completely different motivated Jayne McDermott to branch out into the luxury gift market to develop a unique product, which has proved to be popular both in and out of the county. The freedom to be her own boss suits Jayne, who loves the freedom of working for herself, and having exhibited at The Big Idea event at Coalport EHQ, enjoys the networking events that EHQ provides.

01952 289 321 info@simplyshropshire.co.uk www.simplyshropshire.co.uk

HOW? Having had the idea, Jayne invested time to make sure that it would be a viable business proposition. “I did a lot of research, ordered hampers from other companies to work out what their profit margins were, how the packaging was done and how they handled the personal messages that accompany the goods.” Jayne wanted to source good quality local products so she contacted local producers and travelled all over Shropshire to build up her supplier base. This includes a wonderful range of food and drink from Wroxeter Vineyard, Mr Moyden’s Cheese from Newport, Ironbridge Brewery, Fair Cocoa Chocolates from Telford and Simply Delicious Cakes to name but a few. The products are displayed in baskets which are also hand-made by Ted of Ellesmere. Jayne recognises that this hard work will pay dividends in the long term. “It is important to establish good business links with the suppliers and to get their support. Stock control at the beginning was difficult, and it helps if you have the co-operation of your suppliers.” The internet is very important to the success of ‘Simply Shropshire’ as it generates the majority of its business. “The website was set up properly and has a very professional look.” Now that her company is up and running, Jayne feels that her new way of life fits her needs. “I particularly wanted to work from home and be my own boss. It got decidedly hectic over Christmas, but I love working for myself.” THE FUTURE The business is doing well and Jayne’s commitment will ensure that the business will continue to evolve and expand. “Internet orders are gathering momentum but there is still more potential on this side of the business. I am also focussing on re-evaluating the products frequently.” In her rare quiet moments, Jayne allows herself time to relax. “I love to watch a film, listen to music and read historical novels.” When the time is right, Jayne has less hectic plans for the future, “I would love to go and live in the country, and with Shropshire’s green countryside there are plenty of choices"

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Open Direction “Maintain your networks” WHO? Professor Steve Bristow had worked in further and higher education in England and Wales before becoming Principal Executive of Shrewsbury College of Arts and Technology from 1996 to 2002. He is married with 2 grown up daughters and 2 grand-daughters. Steve describes himself as “An intellectually curious strategist who takes on too much.”

Professor Steve Bristow put his specialist expertise to good use when he established his business in 2003. He had enjoyed a long career in further and higher education and found himself able to exploit that experience when he set up his own company. He was very quickly awarded a prestigious contract and his business has evolved from there. Steve currently spends quite a lot of time in London and values the networking opportunity that EHQ can give him, hoping that it will help him to stay in touch with his colleagues in Shropshire.

01743 341565 slbristow@open-direction.com www.open-direction.com

WHAT? Open Direction Ltd provides “Governance and strategy for an open society. It is about assisting organisations to govern themselves effectively.” After leaving SCAT Steve set up the business because, “I was not ready to retire; I wanted to find a new role and pay the mortgage.” Steve found that the support and encouragement of his friends and colleagues was crucial to giving him the confidence that he needed to branch out into his new enterprise. They also gave him invaluable practical assistance in learning how to write tenders. HOW? Open Directions was established in 2003 and very quickly won a high profile contract. The Welsh Assembly Government asked Open Directions to review ACAC which is the body responsible for their curriculums and assessment, qualifications and learning. Steve says that success was the result of, “Persistence in tendering. Networking with past colleagues and consultants proved invaluable.” Steve has also found that membership of the Association of Business Consultants has been very useful. He currently spends much of his working week in London and is looking forward to networking more with the local business community through EHQ. Home working has been the perfect bridge from one career to another for Steve, whose wealth of experience spans a range of business areas. The flexibility of working hours and location suit Steve, although he has confessed that managing the work/life balance is still difficult: “I don’t effectively; this is partly due to the fact that I am a workaholic.” Steve uses freelance contractors when necessary, and says that the biggest barrier to the growth of his business is “My own time.” THE FUTURE Steve recognises that taking a back step from the day to day running of the business can be very difficult but has a clear idea of the direction that he would like the business to take. He has established a solid reputation for himself, through applying his guiding principle which is, “Do not try to take on anything that you cannot do well. Know what your own core expertise is and do not pretend it is something else.” In the future Steve intends to, “Stay open to opportunities that allow me to do most of my work through the business.” Steve relaxes by listening to music and enjoys the odd glass of wine. He admits that rather than a cottage by the sea, his dream for retirement is “To know when I am ready to retire before my body tells me!”

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Skylark Guitars

Voodoo Design

01630 685697 steve@skylarkguitars.com www.skylarkguitars.com

07870 2000 26 voodoodesign@ymail.com www.tristanking.moonfruit.com

The term ‘do something that you love’ could not be much more appropriate than for Steven Alden. Originally Steve had worked for 35 years in the chemistry industry, starting in a technical role then developing more into the sales and marketing area of the industry. Following a long career in the chemical industry it was reaching the stage where the long hours away from home was putting pressure on his home life and an agreement was reached with his company to make Steve redundant. This led Steve back to his lifelong passion of playing the Guitar and he decided to start a business selling guitars and teaching others to play. Away from guitars Steve has recently took on a diploma in stress management. After being in business for 5 years now Skylark guitars sell a wide range of guitars, amplifiers, accessories, along with offering repairs and customization, as well as mandolins and ukuleles. Steve’s sales mainly take place through his website- which is internationally recognised with enquiries coming from as far afield as Europe, USA and Australia. “I sell my own brand product, and also focus on Jazz Guitar, Resonator Guitar and Special Skeleton Guitars. Besides advertising in specialist magazines, I do most of my selling via the Internet through promotion of my website.” Five years on and Steve has no regrets about starting up Skylark Guitars. “It was such a good move for me setting up the business and making a living I am passionate about.” Doing something that he enjoys is of great benefit to Steve who suggests that others don’t be afraid of doing likewise. “I would strongly recommend to anyone who wishes to go it alone to have the conviction of their idea, believe in what they do and go with their instinct.”

Reports suggest that a recession is the best time to start a new business and this has certainly been the case for Tristan King. Since leaving college, Tristan has always worked in design, publishing and advertising. This was however this was tested when Tristan was made redundant during the recent recession. Unable to find a job of similar ilk Tristan decided to go self employed and set up business with Voodoo Designs in March 2010. “I design brochures, press advertising, leaflets, corporate identity, display graphics, packaging, menus, graphic design and print. After consultation with the clients and a clear picture of their wishes, I steer them professionally towards their decision, with the aim of a satisfactory response.” Tristan is also an illustrator and a cartoonist and brings his own inimitable style to his fast and completive work. Voodoo Design has the advantage of having a wide range of loyal clients from Tristan’s work past & present and relies heavily on word-of mouth to help expand the business. However Tristan is more than aware that business can come from just about anywhere, “I take opportunities when talking to people. In fact during a recent visit to a pool club I found it very beneficial to hand around my card, good things came of it.” The desire to expand the business drives Tristan who gives other entrepreneurs the following snippet of advice: “Say yes to everything, you can always find out how to do it later or act as a middle man and farm the job out”.

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Shopinsky Richard’s versatility is to be admired; from being the Managing Director of an international Insurance group, he moved into the world of hospitality and was quickly awarded a string of awards for his hotel and restaurant. His most recent venture is ‘Shopinsky’, which provides an innovative, internet based, interactive shop window for local businesses. EHQ is the ideal place for Richard to meet colleagues and clients, find out about new developments and help to balance his work and home life. WHO? Richard Drinkwater enjoyed a globe-trotting career as the Marketing Director of the Royal and Sun Insurance Group before embarking on a complete career change and opening a hotel with his wife. The couple bought a run-down country house hotel in North Wales in 2003, and over the following 4 years, transformed it into a four star hotel and restaurant. It won the award ‘Best Coastal Hotel of the Year 2005’ in the ‘Which Good Hotel Guide’, in 2006 they were included in the Michelin Guide and in 2007 they were runners up in the Johansen Conde Nash ‘Most Excellent Coastal Hotel’ category. Richard describes himself as “Positive, tenacious, inventive, sociable, economical with words and a sportsman.” He relaxes by running, listening to music, spending time with his family and enjoying good food.

07717 415720 rldrinkwater@hotmail.com www.shopinsky.com

WHAT? Shopinsky provides a local shop-front on-line. All types of businesses can take part in a relevant and timely dialog with local consumers. Richard confirms, “The idea was born out of the visible impact the recession was having on our local town centres... After some research it became clear that retailers needed a way to promote the latest offers and last minute bargains to local consumers. Transparency for both the business and the consumers is critical to our approach. We use a recognised approach of web development. The web site appearance gives an extra medium for sale, messaging out to mobile phones as well as PCs” HOW? His experience of the hospitality trade has been invaluable in developing the concept of ‘Shopinsky’ but Richard confirms that it is still growing and evolving. “It is still in its’ early days. My business partner lives in France and we communicate at a distance but it works for us. The businesses are coming on board slowly, contacted by email. We receive 1000 hits a month through Enterprise Nation and presently offer our services without charge. The aim is to build a fully functional, saleable brand by 2012.”

THE FUTURE Richard recognises that marketing and technology will be critical to ensuring that Shopinsky continues to grow and expand, but knows that with the right solutions in place it could become a global brand.

“Use a good complementary office facility, and enjoy the freedom and creative opportunities that working from home provides.”

Given his excellent track record to date, we look forward to seeing more and more local businesses using and benefitting from a Shopsinsky site.

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Sonic Boom Audio What started as an interest in helping out local bands, led Adam to tour with a band as their technician. Since then, Adam has adapted to the fluctuations in work that come with touring by developing a complete behindthe-scenes service for the music industry. Joining EHQ will mean that even when he’s working in a different part of the country Adam can connect with other members in the same industry in Shropshire. WHO? Adam Farnsworth: Whilst working in the motor trade as a parts advisor, Adam spent his spare time helping out local bands with their equipment. The opportunity to turn his hobby into his day job came during a visit to a recording studio, when Adam was offered the chance to tour with a band as a back line technician. He jumped at the opportunity, and toured with the band for 2 years. The only downside of his new life was that the gaps of free time between each performance could last for up to 3 months so Adam decided to become a freelance sound technician in order to fill those empty gaps.

WHAT? Sonic Boom Audio offers a complete service to the music industry including speaker hire, technician hire, and a service to organise band tours, events, festivals and concerts, from the planning stage to the day. Adam uses his network of contacts in order to make these services available.

01746 767148 adam@sonicboomaudio.co.uk www.sonicboomaudio.co.uk

“Offer a genuine service that people need”

HOW? Setting up his ideal business has required the commitment of time and money, “The purchasing of the equipment was the first obstacle, for which I had family support. I spent a lot of time researching the equipment, aiming for a high quality sound from the start.” Like many other small businesses, Adam recognises the importance of spending time developing his business and says, “I should have established a client database earlier; this is where all my efforts are going now.” His new venture suits Adam well - he is able to work in an area that he loves and where he has control over his working pattern. Adam works hard when he is on tour, but is able to switch off and unwind when he is at home. “I am quite relaxed; the two do not encroach on each other. The equipment is safely locked away when not on tour.” THE FUTURE Adam would like to expand the business and to find a like-minded business partner. “Finding the drive to work on my own is an issue for me, I would seriously consider a partnership with the right workmate.” He finds his work very fulfilling. “I take a lot of pride in seeing people enjoying themselves and knowing that I am responsible for it.” Adam knows that one day he will want a complete contrast to his current hectic life, and dreams that he will be able to go and live in Ireland. Adam loves his new life. “Although I have been in other employments, this is my passion and I miss it very much when I am not doing it.”

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Strawberry Fields Brand and Marketing coordination from Strawberry Fields means an enviable blend of professionalism, creativity and common sense providing marketing strategies for companies that are innovative but also practical. John’s unique ‘European Business Innovation Academy’ is now helping businesses to succeed in 6 different European countries. Joining EHQ has played a critical part in making John’s dream of an Innovation Academy come to life. “Coming to the Big Idea Open Day was extremely beneficial and revolutionised my business opportunities.” WHO? John and Barbara Rainford set up Strawberry Fields just after they moved to Shropshire 16 years ago. They have both been involved in the creative industries throughout their lives but from different perspectives. After finishing his degree at Staffordshire University, John’s first job was in the Public Relations department at Wedgwood where he worked for 6 years, since then he has been a director of several advertising agencies and creative companies throughout the UK. Barbara set up her first business in Birmingham at the age of 18 providing business services to the creative industry. She sold the business when she moved to Shropshire in 1992 and, with John, set up Strawberry Fields doing all the administration work but also a lot of the copywriting for brochures, websites and international PR campaigns. WHAT? Strawberry Fields helps businesses grow by creating innovative marketing strategies, promoting companies to the right people, in the right way, at the right time, using cutting edge techniques, clever PR and search engine optimisation to maximum benefit.

01948 840102 jr@strawberryfields.com www.strawberryfields.com

John believes there is a lot of truth in what management guru, Peter Drucker said: “There are two - and only two - things that matter in business - innovation and marketing - all the rest are costs.” HOW? Strawberry Fields combines John’s creative skills with Barbara’s practical business acumen to deliver marketing strategies that are creative and practical and deliver results for large corprates and small family companies like. Clients include Belton Cheese and Lower Lacon Caravan Park as well as Shell Global Solutions and Tibbett and Britten.

“When everything else is equal it is only creativity that really matters.”

THE FUTURE John is totally committed to his work and looks forward to realising his dream of an innovation academy in Shropshire. John and Barbara’s family are all involved in entrepreneurship. Their eldest son Dane (19) has his own video film business with his step-brother Adam – Rainford Studios. Kirt (16) loves programming and creates original soundtracks for their videos combining live music with sound engineering as Kirt3D.co.uk and Logan (10) is in business selling his home made handcrafted designs at local fairs, using his own photographs and drawings. It is clear that John and his family will continue to enjoy their business ventures for a long time to come.

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TSA Products Excellent planning paid dividends when Graham launched his solo venture and has rewarded this Shropshire entrepreneur with a client base across the globe. Working with trusted associates who provide the same level of technical expertise has given Graham peace of mind that his projects will always meet the customers’ standards. The networking opportunities of Enterprise HQ are available to widen Graham’s local client base, and the enterprise centres give him a perfect venue to meet clients to springboard his design ideas. WHO? Graham Shaw Graham’s 30 years of technology experience in an array of different businesses stood him in excellent stead when setting up TSA Products. An accomplished engineer and business manager, Graham’s final role before striking out on his own was a Director at AI Group Ltd in Wolverhampton, where he specialised in the design and manufacture of simulators for the international entertainment/leisure industry. WHAT? TSA Products Ltd provides engineering consultancy for product and process development, either for third party clients or for in-house manufacture. Having planned his start-up for years, Graham had no problems financing his company, which he began in 2004, having seen the success that engineering consultancy could bring. The company’s contracts vary from international work with a large architectural company, to bespoke product engineering for clients such as jewellers. Graham is passionate about making design ideas a reality for clients, and bringing products to market.

01743 790984 grashaw@aol.com www.tsaproducts.co.uk

Graham has a very reliable set of sub-contractors upon whom he can rely to deliver goods to spec when orders are received. Engineering and manufacture clearly run in Graham’s blood - he works with manufacturing specialists, four of whom are family members! HOW? Graham was able to make the move to home-working due to the advent of broadband – he was one of their first customers! “My biggest piece of advice when working from home would be to focus and not get distracted. Having a business partner, or a good sounding board, is also vital when setting up a new venture.” THE FUTURE Whilst he cannot imagine retiring at 65, Graham hopes to produce licensed products which will bring in income during his retirement. At the weekends, Graham devotes time to his other passions – he has a pilot’s license, and is a keen motorcyclist and clay pigeon shooter.

“Do what you say you will”

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50


Ultima Media At the tender age of 22 Chris Turton has an impressive range of business experience. He has worked in the music industry, started his own artist management company and then moved on to setting up Ultima Media, which specialises in web design. Chris is an enthusiastic member of EHQ, “Home-working is hindering for me, there are too many distractions. At EHQ I am motivated by the company of like-minded people. I enjoy the sense of community.” WHO? Chris Turton has been interested in internet development throughout his career. He worked in the music industry for 5 years, and found that he enjoyed the business aspect, especially business development. Chris decided that he would like to work for himself, and started a music business focused on artist management, before returning to working on web design, still on a self-employed basis. Chris describes himself as “Motivated, relentless, a thinker, with a fighting spirit, attempting to look at business with multiple facets, especially helping people. He confides that rather than using conventional methods, he relaxes through his work, “The best thing in my life is keeping busy.” WHAT? Ultima Media “is unique and individually driven, providing bespoke design and development of web sites and content management systems.” Chris aims to provide an excellent service at a fair price. “I look at the competition. I have been shocked to find out how the industry takes advantage of the lack of knowledge of the web design world.”

07525 498527 chris.turton@ultimamediagroup.com www.ultimamediagroup.com

HOW “I started officially in March ’09. I felt motivated to work for myself, initially it was difficult to get over the tendency to procrastinate all the time. I realise now that I did not put enough into it at first, because I was overwhelmed by this new role! “Starting out was difficult, it was a case of making sure that I could get sales in a competitive market. Business Link and Prince’s Trust supplied me with a fabulous mentor who supported me for 2 years. I also attended administration classes at Business Enterprise Support. Now I am really glad that I pushed myself to become self-employed.” Chris has learnt some important lessons along the way, “I found myself taking on too much work at first, taking too long to finish jobs. I now work on the basis of having a maximum of 3 jobs on the go at any one time. I also work as a freelancer for other companies as well as outsourcing for myself.”

“Once you have had an idea and researched it, don’t give up on it, do it.”

THE FUTURE Chris has achieved a lot in the brief time since he set up Ultima Media and recognises that expanding and developing his business will take time. In the short term, he has had to adapt to the current economic climate. “There is a tendency to be undercut by the eastern world. The recession is stopping people from investing in this field. Being my own boss I can change what I like and be even more competitive. I would like to develop a range of business internet services that are apt for the modern world. There is such a future"

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The Eureka Home “Don’t give up; it can be made to work. Get others to believe in you.”

Smart Home Technology is a relatively new business area, but establishing himself as an expert in this field has come naturally to Tom Garrett. A one off request by a well known rock musician developed into a business and a passion. Moving to Shropshire from London has meant that Tom will be able to benefit from the networking opportunities at EHQ, which will help to smooth his transition from city to country.

WHO? Tom Garrett is a qualified chartered engineer. Moving to London in 1995 from his roots in Brecon was a brave move for him, but it paid dividends. He began by working in a Hi-Fi business, where he met a member of a prominent rock band. Impressed by Tom’s personable nature, knowledge and his passion for all things audio visual. The musician asked him to build him a home theatre, and three months later, the project was successfully completed. The success of this first project resulted in him receiving plenty of orders. Clients included most of the players from the Chelsea football team and Tom went on to fill his order book with famous names from merchant banking, the Arts and other passionate individuals. Having established his reputation, Tom consolidated his success by taking professional qualifications in 2002. WHAT? The Eureka Home provides and installs Smart Home Technology, which responds instantly to the individual requirements of the user. It includes home cinema, plasma and LCD TVs and also multi-room audio video. Another specialism is Structured Data and Communication wiring which uses a standard wiring infrastructure which can be adapted to the individual requirements of the user as they evolve. HOW? A positive attitude to work and a reputation for excellence have been at the core of Tom’s business enterprise. “I believe I never do a bad job, therefore I never compromise the quality of my work.” Tom and his wife both knew Shropshire well and eventually decided that the time was right to make the move away from London 2 years ago. “We wanted to move to Shropshire, we could see the crash coming.” However, he has managed to retain his client database in London and can spend up to 3 days a week working down there which has helped him through the initial transition period. “Finding initial customers here in Shropshire, making myself known and letting people know that I exist, have been things that I have had to work hard at.” He has realistic expectations of the difficulties of establishing himself in a new location and his key is, “Perseverance. Never turn work down; a small project may lead to a bigger one. In fact a £2000 project has snowballed into a £42,000 one.” As a result Tom is planning to expand his business gradually over the coming years, “By September 2009, I will be taking on my first apprentice.”

01948 662868 info@theeurekahome.co.uk www.theeurekahome.co.uk

THE FUTURE A disciplined approach to time-management ensures that despite the success of his business, Tom benefits from the flexibility of home-working. “I make sure that I keep quality time aside for family life.” At home he is able to benefit from his own skills and enjoys listening to music around the house, drinking a glass of wine whilst listening to music in the garden and also loves watching films on his Home Cinema. His ultimate goal would be, “To build an Echo Techno house on the edge of Snowdonia.”

www.entrepreneursnetwork.co.uk

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Vida Studio “Once you have found the best strategy to make your business work, stick to it.”

WHO? James Wallace began his career studying Graphic Design Communication at Norwich Art College. His course comprised Branding, Print Design and use of the Digital Web. During his 3rd year James started gaining work experience and began to develop a client base. This helped him to realise that networking is essential to gaining access to the market place. He went on to do some marketing work for his father’s manufacturing company before starting VIDA in the summer of 2008. James describes himself as “Hardworking, creative, friendly, supportive, honest, impatient and intolerant.”

Setting up your own business early in your career, requires a strong entrepreneurial spirit, confidence in your abilities and business know-how. James Wallace possesses all of these qualities in abundance. His willingness to break away from the traditional business models and start from the basics has resulted in a unique and popular business. He learnt early on that word of mouth is an invaluable way of marketing a new and different business. “EHQ will be a great help to me as a networking base.”

01939 290093 hello@vidastudio.co.uk www.vidastudio.co.uk

WHAT? VIDA has been described in the press as “the future of the virtual design industry.” James is the Art Director of the project and analyses the brief from the client. He then approaches expert designers on a freelance basis to fulfil it and add value to the client’s business. Vida thrives through having low overheads which translate into low fees for the client. Its guiding principle is “Simplicity with an effective message.” HOW? “I began the business because I love design and being creative. The most difficult task initially was creating a client database. Once that was up and running, the first massive job was designing and labelling for Silver Spring mineral water.” James enjoys having his own studio, “I work from a large space, which is an extension of my very supportive grand-parents’ home. Home-working suits me well at present.”

The decision to set up VIDA was a natural progression for James, “I simply said ‘I am going into business’ and applied my ideas. I did much research, asking all my contacts if my idea was sound. I’ve learnt by experience. I spent too much time on an initial campaign for VIDA which gave out the wrong message. It was too complicated, but the next one was much better.” Getting VIDA off the ground has been a huge achievement for James, who has been fully committed to developing a successful business model. “I work all the time I have, as long as it takes.” THE FUTURE The hard work has paid off, and James has very clear plans for developing Vida. “I want to grow a design service that works hard for local clients, as well as national businesses.” He recognises the importance of giving his clients the right impression of professional reliability. “I would like to have someone working alongside of me full-time, creating a ‘firm’. In the longer term, I should work less at weekends. I should relax more and not let my business take over my life!” When he does allow himself to take some time out from working, James has plenty of interests. “I enjoy outdoor sports, such as hiking and golf and love walking Nelson, the Labrador.”

www.entrepreneursnetwork.co.uk

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Waterclean Chlorination Services

“If you have a good idea and you are willing to work hard, go for it.”

Who? Mike Brewer spent the first 30 years of his career at sea! Initially he was in the Navy, and then in the Merchant Navy. He enjoyed the lifestyle so much, that he went on to spend the following 21 years working for North Sea Gas. In 1980 Mike met his future wife in Telford, and that became his home base. By the year 2000, Mike was ready for a complete change, and he left North Sea Gas and for a while worked for a chlorination firm. He found that the experience that he had built up during his time in the North Sea was relevant to his new area of work, so he decided to start up his own water chlorination business.“I like to do jobs properly. I can be contentious, but am also helpful, I love my work, I like people."

Making the choice to leave a successful career and spend more time with his family came easily to Mike Brewer. He knew that he was ready for a complete change, and was lucky enough to find that his first new job on dry land suited him so well that he decided to set up his own business. He has already been awarded a significant number of local council contracts, and is looking forward to expanding his company still further, and making it a family concern! The new EHQ branch at Coalport is perfectly located for Mike.

01952 290939 wcsm.brewer@blueyonder.co.uk

WHAT? Waterclean Chlorination Services is a water treatment firm which controls and prevents Legionnaires Disease. The company can undertake yearly or monthly detailed risk assessments and also carries out water chlorination, tests of hot and cold water systems, yearly risk assessment/consultancy, quarterly de-scaling of shower heads, mixer taps, water sampling, monthly monitoring of temperature and chlorination of underground water mains pipes. In fact all of the services necessary to ensure that a company’s water supply continues to run smoothly! HOW Mike was clear about needing to set up his own business and made the move in 2000. “I wanted to be my own boss. Starting my own business allowed me to put my theories into practice. I use my son’s old bedroom, now called The Office.” The nature of his business made the concept challenging to market. “Initially, it was difficult to find a client base that would listen, which was particularly tough with the Councils.” However, Mike persevered and has now established a strong link with Telford and Wrekin Council. Telford and Wrekin started Mike off with 19 jobs, he now has 80 a year from them. The way of life suits Mike who agrees that, ”It helps, being always at hand to deal with the clients. But during the summer school holidays, which is the busy period, the social life suffers.” THE FUTURE Mike is pleased with the progress that his business has made so far, and his enthusiasm shows no signs of drying up. He looks forward to “Continuing to tender for jobs; I would like to raise my profile beyond the county boundaries, have a good client base, and still be active myself. Once that is achieved, I would love to live in a house in the country with a few acres.” On a more immediately attainable level, another ambition is, “To do less paperwork. I cannot do anymore!” In the absence of regular time off throughout the year, his annual break is important to him, “I love going on holiday to Cyprus for 2 weeks.” Let’s hope that this tops up his energy in preparation for lots more business!

www.entrepreneursnetwork.co.uk

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Watling Street Consultancy Faced with the prospect of uprooting his family yet again, Bob decided to take control and set up his own company. He has a talent for change management and loves being able to skilfully guide companies through turbulent times whilst keeping cost and disruption to a minimum. Networking through EHQ is important to Bob who appreciates the importance of raising the profile of his business, and keeping abreast of changes in the market. WHO? Bob McKenzie has worked for most of his career in a trouble-shooting capacity, employed by companies to take on the role of change manager/facilitator/implementer. In his last post with the large group Autobar, he took on the management of newly acquired satellite companies, with the aim of incorporating them into the mother company, both training and mentoring the new team. However, when he was asked to relocate for the fourth time, Bob decided to go it alone and Watling Street Consultancy was born. In his own words, Bob is “Big, collaborative, has a sense of humour, relaxed, driven, frank, honest, reliable, numerate“ WHAT? Watling Street Consultancy Ltd “Puts your business on the road to success by collaborative consultancy.” Bob decided to use his 30 years of experience in logistics to help companies ensure they are getting value from their warehouse and transport operation whilst maintaining their quality of service. Where new premises are on the agenda Bob can assist in the setting up of the operation either on a consultative basis or if required to project manage the whole move.

01694 724764 bob@watlingstreetconsultancy.com www.watlingstreetconsultancy.com

HOW Bob explains, “I did not want to move from Shropshire, so the company was formed in 2009. I created a web site and the necessary business stationery. I obtained some funding from “Routeway.” Bob has a gregarious nature and his love of meeting people means that he networks incessantly with the aim of making his company known. Bob works alone, but when the need arises, he can accommodate additional demands, “I use long established contacts in a variety of industries to support my business when necessary.” Setting up a new business is always challenging, “I sometimes find it difficult convincing clients that there are more efficient ways to operate that could produce financial benefits. However, networking is an ideal medium for getting the message across as word of mouth spreads the story of any successes and can and does lead to further business opportunities."

“Do it; believe in yourself and your ideas.”

A major advantage of being based at home is that Bob is able to keep his overheads to a minimum and is able to charge roughly a third of the price of a large consultancy. Bob enjoys working from home; his only complaint is that he has to share his link line with his sons! THE FUTURE Bob’s work on his new company is well underway, but there is still a lot to achieve!

www.entrepreneursnetwork.co.uk

55


Whalebone “Think laterally about your business; venture into new areas”

WHO? Steve Downs, Charlotte Watson, Sarah Hibberson Whalebone was formed by Steve Downs and Charlotte Watson. Steve had 26 years experience as a professional freelance guitarist and Charlotte was also a guitar player. Their new venture was warmly received and when they met Sarah, a keen violin player, in 2006 they realised that she was the “missing ingredient” and invited her to join them. At the moment only Steve has given up his day job - Sarah runs her own cafe and Charlotte is working with her parents, but both are hoping to join the band full-time when things progress. WHAT? Whalebone is folk band in the broadest sense, playing traditional music and pieces written by them. They describe their sound as, “Free spirited, fast and funky.” They are very lively and entertaining and played with fun in mind.

Having been a professional freelance guitarist for 26 years, Steve was keen to develop his own musical identity. Whalebone was formed when he met Charlotte and completed with the addition of Sarah who plays the violin. Whalebone play folk music with a “free spirited fast and funky” slant, but they do also recognise the importance of the business side of their venture. EHQ was delighted to welcome Whalebone as their first folk band members and invited them to play at the all important funders launch in Coalport on 12 February 2009 – Whalebone added musical supremacy to an evolutionary business event!

01746 765268 steve_downs@btinternet.com www.myspace.com/whalebone7

Despite their lively stage presence, Whalebone are very aware of the importance of, “The business side of the band.” They have been flexible and open minded in their approach to establishing themselves in the marketplace. This has worked well for Whalebone, who say, “The best thing we have done has been to look at different marketing opportunities, for example we are members of Made in Shropshire; we attend their markets, where we play and have very good sales of our CDs and pick up bookings.” HOW? The idea for Whalebone came to Steve, who says, “I had worked for other people and now wished to do my own thing, working with the same musicians, playing music that we could develop and show our identity.” The business has grown gradually, “We picked up bookings and eventually I (Steve) gave up the freelancing, but continuing with teaching guitar, to dedicate more time to Whalebone and promote our own compositions. Charlotte developed the advertising, designing the website and our posters.” It is evident that Whalebone have managed to stick to their guiding principle, “to do something you believe in and present your business well.” Whalebone are looking to manage their business on a professional level and to make the most of the support available in Shropshire. They have benefited from grants from Bridgnorth District Arts and as members of EHQ are looking forward to using the networking and meeting opportunities. The guiding principle for Whalebone has been, “To do something you believe in and present your business well.” THE FUTURE Developing a talent for and a love of music into a viable business idea has been a labour of love for Whalebone who reveal: “The biggest barrier is getting involved in the national music world. Catch 22: people are not interested in you if you are not making a lot of waves.” Once the business has developed Whalebone are looking forward to having their CDs produced for them. These barriers are not going to deter Steve who relaxes through his music, and thinks “We should do more playing, although we rehearse twice a week.” His passion for his music is his driving force - even in retirement, he looks forward to, “More of the same. I cannot imagine not playing.” .

www.entrepreneursnetwork.co.uk

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Š2011 www.entrepreneursnetwork.co.uk

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The Power of Enterprise 2011  

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