Wednesday, October 30, 2013

You’re Hired - Considerations When Taking On Your First Staff

Taking on your first staff can be tricky, especially when it’s a totally new process you’re not used to.

When taking on your first staff there a few things you need before you go searching for employees. These things are:
  • You need to decide how much you are going to pay the employee. Bear in mind that you must pay the employee at least the National Minimum wage
  • You need to make sure that you are insured as employer. You will need Employers’ liability insurance
  • If required, you may need to apply for a DBS check (formerly CRB)
When you’re looking at employee candidates, it’s important to take the following into account:
  • Does the candidate have the legal right to work in the UK?
  • Does the candidate have a disability or condition that may impact work?
  • Does the candidate have a criminal record?
It is important to make it clear what the job entails and then advertise it. You can advertise it a number of different ways; for example, you could consider a free listing on a jobseekers website or you could seek out industry specific sites. You could also utilise HR software such as oneHR, which will help you to manage the recruitment process, from placing the initial advert to making an offer of employment.

Create a list of specifications that would be required by the candidate, and make sure these are clear in the job advertisement. Include such things as minimum qualifications needed or even certain personal traits that you think would make a candidate perfect for the role. Making a clear list of specifications makes it a lot easier to look through CVs and see which candidates are well suited to the role and which aren't.

The next stage is interviewing, this gives you a chance to see the person behind the CV and to see if they live up to their life on paper. It would be helpful to know what you’re going to ask the candidates before the date of the interview, writing a list of relevant questions will help keep the interviews consistent and fair. That being said, it’s fine to ask a few more challenging questions to candidates who you think are up to the task.

Give yourself a few days to mull over your decision and to really review the candidates. Taking notes during the interview process will really help at this stage.

Once you've settled on a candidate, it might be wise to have them come in on a trial. A week or so should let you see whether or not the candidate is the correct one for the job. If things don’t work out, you can agree with the employee for the employment to end after the week is through.

It is important to note that a contract of employment exists as soon as the candidate accepts your job offer, so you can’t be going back on your word. This is why it is incredibly important that you make the right decision when selecting a candidate.

You are also legally obliged to give your new employee a written statement of employment. This should include all the terms and conditions of their job role including hour, salary and holidays.

To conclude, when employing your first staff, being prepared is vital. You allow yourself to be one step ahead of the game and you will make the whole process a great deal easier for yourself, and also for potential candidates.

Have you ran into any issues when hiring your first staff? How did you handle the process the first time around? Let us know in the comments below or tweet s us @HPC_HRservices.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Arts, Craft and Gift Fair, Supporting Local Independent Talent

Friday 29th 3-7.00pm and
Saturday 30th November 2013 11- 3.00pm

54 St James Street, Liverpool
L1 0AB

The focus is on local independent business that create unique and affordable gifts for Christmas or beyond.

The two-day event aims to provide a business-to-business networking opportunity, a showcase for local talent and a selling platform; in addition to the established craft fairs.


The venue provided by The Women’s Organisation and SIREN is a world-class new build, in an area of renewal, fabulous local talent and a wide range of independent businesses

Contact, or find us on Twitter @SMC2020 and Facebook, SMC2020 Management Consultancy

Monday, October 28, 2013

Ever Wondered How Politics Effects Business? #WOBusinessClub 20th November #GEWFwd

This Global Entrepreneurship Week in Association with National Parliament Week...
The Women’s Organisation Business Club
& University of Liverpool Management School Discuss

‘Women, Business & Democracy’

Held on: Wednesday 20th November 6.00pm-8.30pm

Held at: The Women's Organisation,
54 St James Street, Liverpool, L1 0AB

Join our leader’s network for a panel discussion

How does politics effect business? How can businesses influence policy?

Our Panel of Experts debating this topic includes:

·       Councillor Roz Gladden - Deputy Mayor, Cabinet Member for Adult Health and Social Care, Councillor for the Clubmoor ward in Liverpool
·       Professor Laura McAllister - Professor of Governance at the University of Liverpool’s School of Management with an academic interest in gender & politics
·       Lady Sheila Newby (Host) – Ambassador for the University of Liverpool following a career in senior management positions at the Universities of the West of England and Dundee, and PriceWaterhouseCooper LLP
·       Maggie O’Carroll – CEO of The Women’s Organisation, Chair of Vivark Ltd.  and Chair of UK Women’s Enterprise Policy Group (WEPG)

Business woman Jenny Radcliffe will start our evening sharing her insights
 Founder of Radcliffe Training Associates Ltd Jenny is an expert in non-verbal communications.

Tickets are just £10 and open to women in the north west
For info & bookings contact 0151 706 8111 or email

Sponsored by:

24 Year Old Ciara Turns Her Passion For Equines and Photography Into A Full Time Business

At the age of just 23, Ciara Doone Rush took a leap of faith by starting up her own photography business, specialising in Equestrian photography and videography.

Photo by VGGVART


‘I have always had a huge interest in photography and got my first decent camera whilst travelling. Following on from that, having worked for Canon and gaining a huge amount of experience I started setting up projects and building up a portfolio… Horses are another passion of mine and so there were so many ticked boxes, I couldn't not look to set up my own business specialising in Equestrian photography!’

Using a combination of video and photography, Doone Rush Photography offers tailor made shoots for Equines and their Humans, both at competitions and at home. She uses the close bond between the pair to capture and document dynamic and powerful action moments, as well as producing stand alone pieces of art.

Prior to starting up her business, Ciara worked in theatre, film and TV and had always been involved in the creative industry. She went on to work for Canon, further expanding her knowledge and expertise in her chosen field.

With a strong desire not to be tied down to the Monday to Friday routine, she had always wanted to become self-employed.

‘I started talking to people, explaining my idea and constantly brain storming. It was suggested to me that I ought to write a business plan but having no background in business I had little idea as to what that would entail.’

A friend told her about a ‘Meet the Advisor’ drop-in morning The Women’s Organisation was holding in LEAF on Bold Street. Ciara popped in to find out what free start-up support and advice was available to her.

She explained: ‘I was given a one-to-one business advisor who helped me right the way through writing my business plan and helped me to secure some finances through a credit union start up scheme. I attended several courses…including ‘Planning for Success,’ ‘E-marketing,’ ‘Book Keeping’ and ‘Tax and NI.’ I also received a £200 start-up grant,’

‘The Women’s Organisation has been such a positive influence over the past 9 months and I don’t know where I would be without all the lovely ladies! Even now that the business planning is all over, their Business club offers that space and support where you can connect with other like-minded women and share inspiration, advice and learn from people with more experience.’

Doone Rush Photography has gotten off to such a good start that Ciara has been able to leave her part-time job to focus completely on her business. She is now working full time as a photographer, both through her business and freelance. After working endlessly to gain contacts in the North West Equestrian industry, with just moving to Liverpool 18 months ago, the hard work is paying off.

‘I have continually been inspired throughout the year by other photographers and their work as well as other people, women in particular setting up their own businesses... I feel a great deal of pride that I am now self-employed and look forward to everything that is to come with my business.’

The now 24 year old is enjoying the creative freedom and control of being her own boss. Being able to create her own work and decide which projects to embark on, as well as how to go about them, is one of her favourite things about running her own business.

‘It’s empowering, if not a little daunting, that I am in control of my business and the potential that goes with it. I always look forward to ‘going to work’ and love the people and animals I meet and work with on a constant basis.’

With her business in full stride (no pun intended), Ciara’s advice to people considering starting up a business is to ‘write a business plan and to get some support from an organisation like The Women’s Organisation… Getting the right advice from day 1 is essential… You have to be 200% committed if you’re going to make it work.’

If you would like to view Ciara’s work you can visit
Or to enquire about her services, contact her directly at or 07857823296

‘I love to hear from people – whether it’s for advice, opinions, talking about what I offer or just having a good old natter about horses or cameras!’

If you'd like to take control of your career and turn a hobby or passion into a business, contact The Women's Organisation on 0151 706 8111 or for free start-up support and training. 

By Beckie Kinsella

Friday, October 25, 2013

@54StJamesStreet Tenant of the Week: @orchidblush

Our brand new £5.3mil centre at 54 St James Street is home to a number of fantastic local businesses, so we have decided to hi-light a different one each week.

This week our 'Tenant of the Week' is Orchid Blush, Owned by Ruth Marcella.

Orchid Blush are a team of dedicated, professional make-up artists and hair-stylists and beauticians.They were established in 2009 by Hair and Make-up artist Ruth Marcella who has over ten years in the fashion industry. She wanted to provide make-up and hair services that would allow clients to experience the services normally reserved for celebrities. Since then Orchid Blush has grown into one of the North West leading providers of make-up and hair services. They offer a mobile service and will come to the location of your choice.All the artists are fully qualified and highly experienced in their field of make-up, hair or beauty

They offer full services for a wide range of occasions including weddings, graduations, photographic and events. They also offer full airbrushing make-up service for a fully High Definition make-up look ,used on shows such as X-Factor and London Fashion Week .This service is very popular with their brides's as it's flawless and photgraphs so well.

Orchid Blush also offers a professional media team who specialise in commercial events such as photo-shoots, red carpet, television and personal appearances.The team's clients have ranged from celebrities to major brands and national publications.Each of their clients are individual and the services we provide always reflect this. Their clients have included EMI Records, Sky One, Microsoft,Honda, Peroni, Kellogs, London Fashion Week and many more international brands.

If you’re planning a wedding, or have an important event coming up and would like to fantastic hair and make-up then, visit or find Orchid Blush on Twitter @orchidblush or Facebook ( )
For more information on our venue here at 54 St James Street, our meeting and conference rooms to hire in Liverpool, contact our team via or 0151 706 8100.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Building Businesses... And Bus Shelters

Thanks to grant funding received from the Department for Transport’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund, Merseytravel’s Smarter Choices team, The Women’s Organisation is pleased to unveil the installation of a bus shelter outside our building 54 St James Street in heart of the The Batlic Triangle area.

The Mersey Travel  Employer Small Infrastructure Grant 2013 is a grant scheme aimed at improving the sustainable transport infrastructure at workplaces across the Liverpool. Through a successful grant application, The Women’s Organisation has secured sufficient funds from the Employer Small Infrastructure Grant 2013 to support the installation of a fully lit, cantilever bus shelter at the existing bus stop directly opposite to our building at 54 St James Street.

The Women’s Organisation Operations Manager Lynn Kelly said, “Given the large number of women accessing our building at 54 St James Street, having an illuminated bus shelter will improve comfort and safety for users and impact positively on the attractiveness of the use of public transport as an option.”

The Bus Shelter will facilitate an increase in use of the available bus service and support sustainable travel cross all company activities and for the wider community within the Baltic Area.

54 St James Street is a stunning and unique new building conveniently located in the Baltic Triangle area. From this location, The Women’s Organisation delivers a range of gender focused enterprise and economic development programmes to increase and improve the economic independence of women in Merseyside. This prestigious and fully accessible location offers a range of individually styled rooms for hosting meetings, conferences and private events and provides a range of tenanted office space and virtual office facilities.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

'Selling Online' From Ebay to Etsy Course


‘Selling Online’


From eBay to Etsy


FREE half day workshop -
Suitable for all levels

Are you thinking of selling online?

Got a hobby that you may be able to turn
 into an online business?

 Confused by the options, and don’t know
where to start?
Want to know the legalities and logistics of
trading online?
BOOK NOW for this informative session
FREE places offered to women based in
On: Thursday 7th November 10am - 1pm
Thursday 28th November 10am - 1pm
At: 54 St James Street, Liverpool, L1 0AB


Book now via 0151 706 8111

Monday, October 21, 2013

Muma Leary Shares Her Experiences of EBEL Master Classes

Over September we invited women in business to take part in our EBEL (E-Business Enterprise Learning) Marketing Master Classes in association with our partners from Norway, Slovenia and Ireland. We piloted our modules around: Marketing Planning; Promoting Your Business Online Strategy; Twitter for Business; Facebook for Business; Linkedin for Business; Google for Business and Thinking About Websites.  
We asked Tanya Leary, mother of 2 and Mummetamorphosis blogger to feedback on her experiences of the EBEL Master Classes.
‘So, it's official, I'm a Stay at home Mum.

Yesterday I had a phone call from my boss. She called me as I was walking back from an unsuccessful trip to the doctors where we had been to have the baby's VERY late 6 month jabs. (Today she is 9 months old and utterly beautiful.)


She (boss, not baby) wanted to check what my plans were in relation to returning to work after my maternity leave.
Let me be clear, we had discussed my move to the Wirral and the fact that it was unlikely that I would return to my job as an Assistant Team Manager but legally they have to check that I haven't changed my mind before they advertise the post...SO, deep breath...

I am not returning to work.

Well, I am not returning to that job nor do I have anything else in the same field lined up at the moment.
It is the end of an era and the beginning of a new and very exciting chapter.
I have wondered and panicked and stressed about this for some time now without coming to any satisfactory conclusion about what to do.
When I began writing this blog in April I was so incredibly naive I actually, genuinely thought that I could earn money through blogging straight away.
Don't get me wrong- people DO earn money through blogging but they are the exception rather than the rule and, with over 7,000 parenting blogs competition is stiff. I needed a wakeup call and a plan of action so, last week, following a chance meeting at my local library, I went to some EBEL training days at The Women's Organisation, Liverpool.
I had no idea what to expect beforehand and, after 9 months of toddler talk, tantrum taming, weaning woes and various vomit incidents I was very nervous about meeting professional grown up people!


It was amazing and really inspiring to talk to women who have a plan and a vision and are making absolutely sure that they have all the info they need to make it work.
The questions and workbooks used in the EBEL training sessions force you to focus on the detail of your idea and consider how you are going to make it work.
If your idea isn't watertight the training allows you to see that and consider what changes you might need to make.
What it made me realise is just how much I love blogging and how much I want to make an income from writing it.
A happy side effect of the training was that I was able to have a proper, grown up conversation with my husband about something other than the girls or his work. I had forgotten how much I like and need to interact with adults in a professional capacity and feel like I actually have something of interest and value to say. It made me feel a little bit more 'me' and a bit less 'mum' plus, it got me out of the onesie for the day which can only be a good thing!
I am not in any way saying I don't love being at home with my children but, I think that I am at my best when I have some time away from home so I don't begin to take them for granted.
I don't want to ever become bored of talking to them, answering their questions and playing with them and lately I have been playing with them whilst responding to emails on my IPad.
This is not the way I want to be mummy to my girls. I want the playroom to be a technology free zone because they deserve my full attention when I am with them. I don't want to do two jobs badly, do you know what I mean?

Anyway, back to the training...
It made me acutely aware that this will be a lot of work and a long road.
I need to continue to develop 'my brand' and ensure that my followers and subscribers are enjoying what I write and returning to read my new posts (as well as telling their friends about me).
Some of this is already happening, since April my blog has had nearly 22,000 unique views which I am really pleased with.
Check it out here if you haven't already.
But, until my blog does bring me an income, I need to ensure that I get a wage from somewhere. Happily; an opportunity presented itself and so I am now the joint area manager for the website 'Mums in the Know- Wirral'.
It is part of a national company which tells parents what is on in their local area every day in terms of clubs, classes, free events and so on.
Feedback so far has been brilliant and we are building up a strong following so that is great.
Hopefully this will allow me to continue to be at home, working on my blog and brand and further build my audience.

Finally, in the words of the great Columbo; Just one more thing...
Jo Austin and the ladies at The Women’s Organisation seem to think that networking is the way to go in terms of making yourself a success in business and so, to prove just how much I learnt on the training- please get in touch if you'd like to collaborate with me either on my blog with a guest post, a review of your product or service or anything else that you feel might work for us both, OR, if you would like to know more about featuring on or advertising with Mums in the Know. I'd love to hear from you.

You can find me in all the usual places;

FB: Muma Leary- Wirral
Twitter: @MumaLeary
Sofa: with a glass of red ;-)'

Liverpool's Francesca Shows 'Baby + Woman = Business, No Problem'

For Francesca Aiken, creativity has always been an essential part of her day to day life. She enjoys anything from sewing and dressmaking to knitting and crochet. She had, however, never felt confident enough to make clothes. This all changed with the birth of her first child.
Photo by Sane Seven
After Scarlett was born, the first time mum found herself increasingly conscious of the divide between the clothes and toys of young boys and girls.

She explained: ‘Why do boys get Space, Dinosaurs, Aeroplanes and Bugs?! All the fun things, all those great starting points for enjoying Science and History. Why for girls do we fill every birthday and Christmas with pink, princesses and smug unicorns? Ultimately I didn't want Scarlett to think being passive and looking good was important.’

Francesca quickly began addressing the issue by making her own baby clothes.  These included ‘dinosaur skirts, space bunting for her room, patchwork quilts covered in woodland animals rather than fluffy kittens and vacant princesses.’ This consequently led to the idea behind Sewing Circus, making comfortable unisex play-wear, and specialising in clothes for girls in themes and prints that the high street only sells to boys. However, the road to self-employment was not an easy one.

She had worked in Museums for almost 10 years and was responsible for curating the exhibition on Liverpool's Chinese community in the Global City Gallery – part of the new Museum of Liverpool. Only 2 weeks after the museum opened in 2011, Francesca was made redundant.

‘Despite a steady stream of applications and interviews I eventually ended up on JSA. For the first time in my life I had no direction.’

The Liverpool woman used her redundancy money to fund her passion for sewing. She bought a new sewing machine and various materials to experiment with, along with instructional books. Her intention was to make gifts for her friends and family, not feeling she had the confidence to take it any further.

The mother of 2 told us: ‘By January 2013 I was starting to feel like I'd lost control of my future - my career had totally disappeared and I wanted to move forward my way, my ideas, my work. I worried about how Gareth and my girls would come to view me - I felt like a shell of my former self. ‘

That was when Francesca decided it was time to progress with her idea and beliefs, so joined Liverpool based social enterprise The Women’s Organisation's Accelerating Women's Enterprise programme which is part funded by European Regional Development Fund.

‘I knew what I wanted Sewing Circus to be about, what I wanted to make – the look and feel, but for the business side I was clueless. Bookkeeping, pricing, tax, marketing – where to start? The Women's Organisation changed all of this and gave me the confidence to take my ideas forward.'

She continued: ‘The Women's Organisation has been integral to the building of Sewing Circus as a viable business. Two years ago I had no direction, just an idea and this insurmountable feeling that I would never be able to start my own business. With the Women's Organisation there was no waiting around, it was clear attainable steps towards building my plan, and making Sewing Circus a reality.’

A few months on, Francesca is now working to a waiting list and is receiving interest from as far as Australia. Furthermore, she has achieved all of this whilst juggling her business with her family.

‘I am Mum to two girls – Scarlett 5, and Evie 6 months. It is HARD. I work all the time and have very little “me” time – but I love it! I cut fabric during naps, sew only in the evening when I know I won't be interrupted and I’ve found breast feeding my youngest has been fantastic. It has allowed me a lot more freedom and time to grow my business.’

‘My oldest Scarlett is really supportive… I regularly tell her to go and see what is hanging up in the lounge and hear her scream “THANK YOU!” at the new skirt or dress I've made her. I love telling her – look what you can make if you put your mind to it.’
With the success of her business, the mother of two is now enjoying the financial stability and is keen to continue expanding her business.

‘I love my business. Sewing Circus is something I am incredibly proud of and has given me back my place in the world.’
Due to the amount of requests Sewing Circus has had, it is now providing adults clothing and is offering to work with community groups, museums and campaign groups that share her passion for giving all children the same opportunities and choices.

To treat your little ones and make their wardrobe more adventurous, contact Sewing Circus on Facebook: or Twitter: @SewingCircus
You can also follow the wider campaign here:

If like Francesca you have a strong belief that you feel you could turn into a business, contact The Women’s Organisation on 0151 706 8111 / or visit

By Beckie Kinsella

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sefton’s Katherine Took Back Career Control Setting Up K.L.Web Ltd

Since leaving University each time Katherine Webb thought her career had started, she found herself facing redundancy.
“I think with the recession the IT sector seemed to take a big hit. With one company I worked for I literally had a job when I left on Friday, and by Monday I didn’t” said Katherine.

When her final contract came to an end Katherine decided it was time to take control over her own job and success.

“I had always done web development, but for other people in both the public and private sector” she told us. “I had the skills there, so decided to take those skills and use them to work for myself. Going self-employed feels like jumping in at the deep end. I was lucky enough to find The Women’s Organisation to help me.”

Katherine was linked with a business adviser at local women’s enterprise support agency The Women’s Organisation to help her to develop her business plan. Reflecting on the free business start-up support she received Katherine said:

“My adviser was really helpful. I also did the Planning for success course and was supported to access a £200 grant.  I decided to set myself up as a Limited Company which can be tricky, but I found an accountancy firm through The Women’s Organisation network to help me and was able to use the grant to help me cover the costs and get that extra help with accounts and tax which was what I had found most daunting.”

K.L.Web Ltd. was developed offering website design and development, email marketing and social media services. Katherine says her unique selling point is having “a good balance of creative and technical expertise. Sometimes people are one or the other, but I like computing and am quite creative, so I can utilise all of my skills to offer a well-rounded service. I am also conscious of keeping things simple when talking to a client. They don’t need technical knowledge to chat to me. I discuss things in layman’s terms.”

Sefton resident Katherine says the best thing about being self-employed is “having control over what happens. I don’t have to worry about what is going on higher up the chain or have to run things by someone else and have them sign it off. I can have direct contact with clients and make the decisions.”

To find out more about Katherine’s services visit or contact 0151 203 6445.
If like Katherine you are looking to take back control of your career and go self-employed her advice is “Don’t struggle on your own. Ask for help. There is advice out there from organisations like The Women’s Organisation, and chat to friends who have been in business themselves. The more support you can get the better. I’m lucky that my fiancĂ© is really supportive. He gives me a kick up the rear when I need it.”

For free business start-up support contact The Women’s Organisation on 0151 706 8111 or

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

How to spend nothing on promoting your business: Web Platforms

When starting a business from scratch finance can be limited to begin with until sales are generated - however the problem is that without promoting your new product or service effectively, potential customers will not know that your business exists.

Here are the second in our series of suggestions for free/cost effective ways you could factor into your marketing plan to help reach your target customer:

1.     Website

Research shows that customers prefer businesses that also have a website not just a social media page. There are several free DIY (Do It Yourself) web builder sites such as –, and (being three of many).  These sites provide templates online for you to create your own free website. It is advisable that you research the DIY websites available and the advantages/disadvantages of setting of a DIY website or acquiring a web developer. Just remember there is no point in creating a wonderful website if no one can find it, so you will need to think about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

TIP: Note that often with sites that advertise themselves as ‘FREE’ there can be hidden costs attached to the domain name, web hosting, add on features etc. So thoroughly

2.     Blogging

Blogging is a cost effective way of keeping customers interested in your business products/ services or informing them of updates such as new product launches to build excitement and encourage word of mouth. Blogging can be run on free software such as Word Press (, Blogger ( or Movable Type ( - all it costs is your time. A standard blog post will be between 50 and 500 words, and should be informative and opinion based to build a following.

TIP: Use Google Alerts to help you to follow latest news and trends in your industry. This can help to build ideas for informative and up to date blog articles while showing yourself as a real expert in your field.

3.   YouTube                                                                                                                     
Youtube is now the second largest search engine worldwide, so if you can leverage its online force to communicate your product/ service and engage your audience it can be an indispensable tool for business and marketing.  You can build your own ‘channel’ to share videos, whether it be a tutorial showing how to operate your product or use your service or showing a funny/ creative behind the scenes video to giving a personal touch to expose your business to social media users in the hope it goes viral.

TIP: Think less is more when building videos. People have a very short attention span, so short and snappy works better than a 10 minute interview.
If you missed the first in this series around social media, hop back to it here.
For more advice on starting or growing your business contact The Women's Organisation on 0151 706 8111 or
Blog by Enterprise Enabler Francine Taylor & Engagement Officer Jo Austin