Thursday, May 28, 2015

Should You Franchise? Join The Women's Organisation For Our Franchise Workshop...

Recent figures have shown that more and more people are choosing to become a franchise owner, with numbers increasing hugely over the last 5 years. If you are someone thinking about buying into a franchise, here are some things to consider.

Whilst becoming a franchisee is technically starting up your own business, some see it as a less daunting transition as they are buying into an already proven brand. There are many reasons why people purchase franchises. They may not be able to get a job or have been made redundant. Some have jobs but are unhappy and some simply have savings they wish to invest into something rewarding. Regardless of the circumstances, the underlying reason tends to be that they want to be in control of their own career.

If franchising is growing in popularity, there must be some benefits right? Of course there are! Both for the franchisor and the franchisee.

The fee’s that you pay to the franchisor allows them to expand on their own business, as well as fork out for further marketing and promotion.

As a franchisee, you will benefit from working with an established brand that is ready to share its experience with you. Taking the name of a ready-made brand can offer instant recognition dependant on the scale of the core business. If it is well known, business will come in much more quickly.

However, the brand is only part of it. You should always find out exactly what support is offered as part of the deal. Many franchisors offer support with the initial structuring of your business and marketing support.

It’s important to remember that all franchisors are different, but they are all in a position where they should be able to offer some support to franchisees as they have been in the same situation before. When buying into a franchise, it is crucial to know what support is available so here are some questions you may want to ask:

What help will be available to guide you through all the aspects of your new business?

What processes are in place and how can these help franchisees adapt to operating procedures?

In order to market the business, does the franchisor deliver any online marketing or public relations support?

As well as the support that the franchisor will offer, there is extra support available from external organisations. If you are considering buying a franchise, The Women’s Organisation’s free business start-up programme is an extra avenue of support to access, to give your new franchise the best chance of success. For more information, visit www.thewomensorganisation.org.uk or contact us directly on 0151 706 8111 or  hello@thewo.org.uk

On Monday 1st June, from 10:00am - 12:00pm, The Women's Organisation will be holding a free workshop called 'Should I Franchise?'

The workshop will be looking at the following points...

How do franchises work?
Steps to take when buying a franchise

What to look for in a franchisor
Preparing a business for franchising
Is your business suitable for franchising?
Hints and tips

All taking place in the home of The Women's Organisation, 54 St James Street.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Thought Leader #3 | Lisa Pearson | #WIBA Nominee & Previous Winner

The Women’s Organisation Thought Leader Series is back with our third interview! We have previously spoken to Hana Awwad from Chocolate Envelope Designs, and Jennie Riding from Ancorra Environmental Services Ltd, and now, we were lucky enough to sit down for a chat with Lisa Pearson, Head of Marketing and Business Development with the HHL Group. 





































The Women’s Organisation started this series of interviews because we wanted to celebrate those women who were really excelling, and making changes in their career. A Thought Leader, by definitions is ‘An individual that is recognised as an authority in a specialised field, and whose expertise is sought and often rewarded.’ For The Women’s Organisation, these Thought Leaders are experts in their field, achieving in their careers, and successes in their business, and we want to talk to them about their views, thoughts and opinions.


Thought Leader #3 is Lisa Pearson, Head of Marketing and Business Development with HHL Group. Based out of the historic Edward Pavilion at Albert Dock, the Group encompasses leading personal injury law firm, Hampson Hughes Solicitors and the professional legal services firm, Cassell Moore as well as The Hampson Hughes Charitable Foundation. Lisa was the winner of Best Marketer at the Downtown Women in Business Awards for 2014, and was over the moon to be nominated again in 2015.

So, The Women’s Organisation sat down with Lisa to talk about the future of marketing, her career and what it means to be a woman in business today. Lisa has a lot on her plate, currently on Maternity Leave but still popping her head round the door to check in with her team of 8 to make sure everything is ticking along whilst she is away.


As Head of Marketing and Business Development, Lisa’s role is to develop & oversee how each company within HHL Group markets itself, ensuring anything put out in terms of marketing activity is ‘right’ for the individual company as well as for the Group as a whole.


Lisa Says; Obviously, there are different messages that need to be communicated in our marketing activity depending on which element of the group I am working on. My job is to work on the marketing strategy, develop opportunities for the Group and oversee the marketing process from start to finish – overall making sure that everything we do via our marketing generates new business’

She has been with HHL Group for 3 and a half years, previously spending 7 years in the Sponsorship & Promotions Department within the Commercial Team at Radio City 96.7 (part of Bauer Media)


It’s clear when speaking to Lisa that her time at Radio City made a huge impact on her career development. She says it is where she learnt a lot of her craft and the skills that have led to her being named Best Marketer at DWIB2014. ‘I spent seven brilliant years at Radio City 96.7, joining in 2004 as Sponsorship and Promotions Co-Ordinator, working my way up to Sponsorship and Promotions Manager. I really feel that I ‘grew up’ there and honed my skills. So many great things happened in my personal & professional life whilst I was part of the Radio City team, including forming a very close knit circle of friends who I still keep in touch with today’

But, after meeting Paul Hampson and John Hughes – the founders of Hampson Hughes Solicitors & HHL Group, an opportunity came up that was impossible for Lisa to turn down.
This was the opportunity to join Hampson Hughes Solicitors and head up their Marketing team, which at the time consisted of, well, just Lisa!

‘It broke my heart to leave Radio City but I knew it was time to move on. When I met John and Paul it was so exciting to hear what they wanted to achieve. These guys didn’t just want to take over Liverpool as the personal injury ‘go to’ firm - they wanted the whole country to know about Hampson Hughes! I thought ‘Right, let’s do it!’

Since joining in September 2011, Hampson Hughes Solicitors has gone from local to regional to national with its presence - taking over the country through radio advertising, billboards, social media campaigns, TV advertising, sponsorship of events, being involved in unique partnerships and producing quirky branded merchandise to name but a few marketing successes. 

Lisa says; ‘We’ve utilised every opportunity we can in terms of marketing platforms to promote Hampson Hughes Solicitors and we’ve become very well known as a result of this. I’ve watched the Firm grow into a huge player in the personal injury industry and I am incredibly proud of the role I’ve played in making that happen. In 2013, the Group launched Cassell Moore, which of course requires a completely different marketing approach because of its unique offering as a professional legal services firm. It has been really exciting to work on Cassell Moore from the very beginning – from its inception”




Now, as HHL Group continues to grow (requiring an office move to bigger premises on the Albert Dock in September 2013), Lisa’s family continues to grow too.She is currently on maternity leave following the birth of her second child in November last year but keeps up to speed with work, making sure emails are checked and responded to daily as well as spending time working in the office for a day or so each month.


For Lisa, something that she must always keep an eye on is the advancement and changes that the marketing world is constantly going through - in particular, finding new and exciting ways to utilise Digital Marketing in her activity. 

She says; ‘Everyone has really got to get their heads around digital marketing & using social media, utilising both properly. For example, it’s all very well having a Twitter profile but if what you’re putting out through it is not engaging, relevant or helpful then it’s not going to make an impact for your business. The way we now function day to day and consume our news and information means that everyone lives on their smartphones. We take in things differently than we did even 2 years ago, and as a business you have to make use of that opportunity. For the Group, it’s also massively important to learn from every single campaign we run with – the positives & the negatives. I am constantly assessing what worked, what didn’t, what can we do better next time, what haven’t we tried yet?’

During her time with HHL Group, there have been many campaigns and projects she’s worked on, some Lisa remembers more deeply  than others “Before we launched our first TV ad campaign for Hampson Hughes Solicitors, I had so many sleepless nights. This was about to become the biggest thing we’d ever done and I felt hugely responsible for the campaign, and the investment put into it. I’d been involved in everything from the creative ideas stage through to on-set filming of the TV ad itself. I remember watching the ad go out for the first time and then seeing new client enquiries coming through by email & text straight away. I slept that night.”

Another hugely important factor in her role is the reputation of the Groups’ brands and the knock-on effect this can have for future business. Lisa says; ‘We have a huge focus on our clients leaving us happy. We aim to ensure they have a positive experience from day one and would recommend either of our Firms to a friend, family member, co-worker or neighbour. If you have a good experience you maybe tell a few people, but if you have a negative experience, you’ll tell everyone you know. Our objective is always to deliver a positive one!’

From talking to Lisa, it’s easy to see how she has made such a massive impact on the HHL Group and how her tenacity and dedication to doing well has powered her through her career.

She says; ‘I am incredibly determined and I don’t remember ever not being. Starting on my career path when I was younger, my determination was fired on by my Mum as I saw how hard she had always worked for us as a family. Now I’m a Mum myself I feel a different kind of determination and my focus is on doing well for my children, hopefully to be an inspiration for their futures.’

For Lisa, grasping the opportunities when they arise, like her meeting with John and Paul back in 2011, is key to progressing. ‘I have one small piece of advice that I would give to anyone, regardless of the stage in their career or business, and that is to be open to opportunities and challenges - even if they seem daunting. This is your life and your career or business - if you don’t step up to these unique moments, no one will do it for you and something absolutely amazing could pass you by’

Amazing things haven’t been passing Lisa by, and as well as crediting her Mum to the success that she has achieved in her career to date, Lisa was lucky enough to have a business role model in her time at Radio City 96.7. 

Vicki Allison, now Station Director, has been a major influence to Lisa. ‘Vicki was a huge inspiration to me. When she came in to Radio City as Sponsorship & Promotions Manager in 2005, she brought a new way of doing things and a whole lot of positivity & creativity with it. She made me feel that I had her support and could and should push myself further in my career,  even  if the challenges I would face felt scary and uncertain’

And outside of her personal life, Karen Brady is mentioned again as an inspiration for business women with Lisa telling us; ‘She’s a Mum with an incredibly successful career and a great attitude to work and getting things done. To me, she’s a good role model - I have a lot of time for her. Closer to home, I am lucky to know some truly amazing women who inspire me – friends & family members who’ve decided to take a leap of faith and go it alone to forge a career out of doing what they love and doing it for themselves & their families. It takes guts to set up your own business and I admire anyone who goes for it’


Lisa Pearson is a woman who isn’t afraid to take that leap into the unknown, and has reaped the rewards of doing so.

 As we finish up the interview she reminds us of how important it is to pass the support forward, and encourage other women to do well; ‘Women need to support each other as much as we possibly can, acting as positive influences in all our lives and careers. Women are always harder on themselves than men are, and sometimes, you  have to remember to give yourself a pat on the back and say; ‘Yeah, I am doing alright…’ 

Lisa is also a Trustee of The Hampson Hughes Charitable Foundation, formed in 2013.  This year, the Charitable Foundation has chosen The Whitechapel Centre and ACSIL as it's nominated charities. Fundraising activities will take place over the year to raise money for each cause. 







Friday, May 22, 2015

Top 10 Tips For Women In The Workplace...

Source: The Telegraph

As women are predicted to overtake men in sheer volume in the workplace next year, the Telegraph women business panel shared their top 10 tips for how female employees can seize the opportunity...
 
Louisa Hogarty, Director of HR Operations at Select Service Partners (Food Travel Company)

1. ‘Surprise people, take on the unexpected tasks and projects and deliver a great result’

2. ‘Build great networks both internally and externally, relationships are key in business’

Dessi Bell, Founder of Zaggora (Sportswear Manufacturers)

3. ‘Make sure your accomplishments are recognised by voicing your own achievements. Women are not as proactive as men at blowing their own trumpets’
 
Heather Jackson, Chief Executive, The Women’s Business Forum (Networking Forum)

4. ‘Listen to constructive criticism and act on it quickly and effectively. Listening is the hardest skill I have had to develop to enable me to grown and deliver my organisation’

5. 'Accept that as a skilled and capable woman you will bring great benefits and qualities to a team; walk tall with that realisation and you will undoubtedly stand out’

Dr Olga Kubassova, Founder and Chief Executive of Image Analysis (Healthcare)

6. ‘The most relevant skill in the workplace of tomorrow will be what it was 100 years ago – logic. Common sense is key, so don’t be afraid to ask the obvious questions and challenge, constructively, what you’re being told’

Barbara Kasumu, co-founder of Elevation Networks (Youth Employment Charity)

7. ‘The internet economy accounts for 8% of GDP. More women should be working towards acquiring much sought after tech skills, whether as budding entrepreneurs or tech pioneers. So; coding, apps, website design, STEM subjects etc.’

Karen Mattison, founder of Timewise (Part-Time Jobs Recruitment Site)

8. ‘Turning the rise of flexible working to your advantage, so that where you work is less important than how effectively you work, is a key skill for all.’
 
Liz Bingham, Partner at Ernst & Young (Accountants)

9. ‘Whether you are starting out in your career or racing up the ladder, build a strong support network around you. It’s certainly helped me along the way.’

10. ‘My latest bedtime reading backs me up. The Athena Doctrine is based on research which shows that many of the skills needed for successful leadership are often perceived as traditional female attributes. People who are collaborative, empathetic, loyal and selfless were shown to be more successful than those who were deemed proud, resilient or independent. This doesn’t mean we all need to start volunteering to do the tea run every hour or set up yet another committee. But I do think it’s a useful reminder not to underestimate the importance of team work or to take collaborative working for granted’

What do you think? Do these women have good advice and tips to offer to other women? Do you have any other tips to offer? Let us know! Tweet us @TheWomensOrg


Monday, May 18, 2015

You're Hired! Our Top Tips For Taking On 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.

Overall, 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.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Women’s Organisation HIT Their Teenage Cancer Trust Target!

For the past year, The Women’s Organisation have been committed to raising £1000 for Teenage Cancer Trust’s Merseyside appeal, and this week we have reached our target! We wanted to let you know all about what we have been doing to raise this money for such an important cause.

Teenage Cancer Trust Merseyside are hoping to open a new unit to support young cancer patients and The Women’s Organisation joined a number of local businesses to help them reach that goal.

We have held many fantastic and fun events to raise funds for this appeal, and on Tuesday evening, with our ‘Eat Cheese for Charity’ event, meant we reached the target! Over the past year, members of The Women’s Organisation team have taken part in sponsored runs like the LiverpoolSanta Dash, and the Run or Dye 5km, and we have enjoyed lots of delicious food here at the office to raise money for the fund.

Back in November we held a ‘Great Big Charity Bake Off’ here at 54 St James Street, with lots of members of the team making delicious cakes and treats and raising over £150 in one afternoon for the fund. In March, an afternoon was dedicated to ‘Food Hour’, were we donated money and brought in food and drink to share all afternoon. Other events such as a World Cup Sweepstake and Light Night Raffle helped us gradually make up the amount of money for Teenage Cancer Trust.


Tuesday was to be our final event, an ‘Eat Cheese for Charity’ evening at Siren Liverpool. Vickie from Liverpool Cheese Company Ltd joined us and with her platters of 12 delicious cheeses guided us through the history and process of making such varied bunch of cheeses. Vickie’s knowledge and passion for cheese shone through and she kept us all entertained with interesting anecdotes about Cheddar and Brie, and finished the evening off with a tough quiz on cheese.

As well as all the eating and drinking that was going on, we were joined by our friends, Julie and Paula from Santander Universities. Santander helped to sell raffle tickets for a selection of great prizes which were donated from Independent Liverpool, Liverpool Cheese Company Ltd, Becka Griffin Illustrations and Grab Your Spoon. Santander kindly agreed to help us match the amount that we raised on the evening to give to Teenage Cancer Trust. Sian from the Teenage Cancer Trust was also there, and reminded us of the importance of what we were raising money for, and how the funds would really make a great difference to a teenager living with cancer.




So thanks to Santander Universities we raised £700 last night meaning that we've succeeded in reaching our target and raised over £1200! 

We are over the moon to be able to give this money to such a fantastic charity, and have enjoyed a lot of good times helping to raise the money.

Well done to everyone at The Women’s Organisation who have put in their time and effort to organise and host the events that have been going on, and thank you to everyone who has supported us raising the money along the way! 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Up Your LinkedIn Knowledge With The Women's Organisation...

LinkedIn, it’s the Facebook of the ‘Professional’ world, but so many people are unsure of how to use it. Although you may have a LinkedIn profile, is it really working for you? Are all your sections filled in? Up to date? Do you have a professional photograph? And are you endorsing and connecting in the right way?

To help combat some of the confusion that comes from using LinkedIn properly, we are holding a LinkedIn for Business event, here at The Women’s Organisation. On Monday 18th May from 10am-12pm, we will be joined by a host of business owners to discuss the benefits of using LinkedIn properly.

If you are thinking about starting or growing a business that provides service to another business, then this session on LinkedIn is particularly aimed at you! We will be looking at using LinkedIn as a marketing tool for your business and providing you with useful hints and tips to get you started!
The Women’s Organisation Senior Business Advisor Francine Taylor will be chairing the event and will be joined by representatives and owners from Pink Media, Just-Bella, Greengrape Solutions and Sane Seven. All of these business women use LinkedIn to effectively build their business.

Sane Seven’s Viktorija Grigorjevaite says; ‘LinkedIn is an efficient way to keep our important business contacts organised in a simple, easy-to-use fashion, where information about them gets updated automatically. It’s also a good source for new clients and potential clients.’

Our LinkedIn for Business event is perfect for you if you have the basic knowledge that surrounds LinkedIn and how to use it, but want to find out more hints and tips on how to use it better for your business. Book your spot on our Eventbrite our get in touch with us to find out more details! 



Friday, May 8, 2015

Join us for our Business Club, Meet the Media Event!

On Thursday 21st May, we will be holding our annual Business Club Meet the Media event, and we would like the women of Merseyside to join us! 
We have a fantastic panel of representatives from the world of Public Relations, Newspapers, Radio and Publishing and we will be discussing how you and your business can engage with the media in different ways. 
The event will be hosted by our very own Training Co-Ordinator, Bernie Cox, and there will be time, as always for a Question and Answer session and networking.
On the panel, we will have, Nicola Pink from Pink Media Ltd, Melissa Bragg from Let's Go! Publishing, Tony McDonough from the Liverpool Echo, and Jimmy McCracken from BBC Radio Merseyside. 
The world of Public Relations and making contacts and connections within the media can be a confusing one and may sometimes seem like a Secret Club, you're not invited to, BUT, it's not! This event will spill some secrets, and let you interact with those who decide what makes the media, We're inviting you to meet them...

Places are limited and we have nearly filled up all our spaces at this event, so if you are a business woman in Merseyside who is interested in attending the event, make sure you book your spot!

Head over to our Eventbrite, fill in all your details, and get your ticket! 




Thursday, May 7, 2015

Valerie Hughes and her business House of Pearl, now stocked on ASOS...

The Women’s Organisation Client Success Stories, are our favourite type of stories to tell the readers of our blog, and we have a great one this week!
House of Pearl @ ASOS

Valerie Hughes, owner and founder of her fashion label; House of Pearl, now has her collection available on ASOS and their website!

ASOS, the massively successful online retailer, just keeps growing and gives the opportunity to independent retailers to sell their clothing alongside massive designers.

Valerie says of House of Pearl; ‘My objective was simple, a flattering cut, a stylish edge and a look to suit any occasion. My inspiration comes from past and present trends, high street, vintage pieces and unique finds in local charity shops.’

In the past Valerie has received help and support from The Women’s Organisation when she was launching House of Pearl and was paired up with Business Advisor; Francine Taylor.

Valerie Hughes
She said; ‘The Women’s Organisation has been fab. They were great for me because I had no business background and didn’t know how to start writing a business plan. Fran, my advisor, made me realise the importance of having a business plan. I couldn’t have had better support from anywhere else.’

Recently, Val has been very busy, working hard on House of Pearl, and making sure that everyone in Liverpool, and beyond knows about the label. As well as being stocked with ASOS, Valerie showcased her designs at the Liverpool Titanic Hotel, for their Black Tie Charity Dinner and Fashion Show Event. She has also been featured in Issue #2 of #INSPO Magazine, for a piece called; ‘The Making of House of Pearl’, and are also stocked in Moo-Boutique.

It’s clear to say that Valerie has achieved great success with House of Pearl, and is continuing to grow her business both locally and across the country. We wish Valerie all the success in the world with her fantastic label, and are extremely happy to have helped her in the beginning and throughout her journey. 
#INSPO Issue 1 & 2

House of Pearl



Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Amanda Casey Started Her Business And Stood Out, As An Accountant With A Difference...

Amanda Casey who set up Lotus Accountancy Ltd has a motto, and it’s a good one; ‘I am an accountant with a smile’.

She says; ‘I don’t want to be the accountant you go and see each year when your accounts or tax return is due, I want to help any way I can and build a relationship with my clients so that they feel at ease asking for my help.’

And considering the fact that most start-up businesses are at risk of failing within the first three years, Amanda is keen to promote the fact that although people may be skilled in their business, they are not necessarily skilled to keep accounting records, manage cash flow, and all of the other things that come with running a successful business.

‘I know a lot of people don’t like to appoint an accountant when they start up in business, but if there was any advice I could give them, it would be to appoint an accountant as soon as possible to ensure you are aware of what is ahead, and can make the correct decisions.’

As well as offering all the usual accountancy services such as tax returns and annual accounts, Amanda also offers her clients advice on starting up their business; ‘With my clients I want to make sure that they get the best advice from the start so they have the best start in their business.’

Previous to starting her own business, Amanda was an accountant in a medium-sized firm in the City Centre. Here she managed a diverse portfolio of around 300 clients and managed and trained a team of 4. Amanda admits that setting up her own business was never something that she really thought about, but had always wanted to be an accountant. ‘From a young age I was taught, as we all were, to do well at school, get qualified and go out and get a job. I studied for nine years and began working full time, then got settled in employment and thought I was in it for the long haul.’

But it was two years ago that Amanda began to feel unhappy in her situation, she was working 60 to 70 hours every week but although she was working harder than ever, with the cost of living rising, and her wages flat lining, she wasn’t moving forward; ‘I found myself thinking; Is this what I have spent all of those years studying for?’

At this point a friend introduced her to Arbonne, a range of skincare products made using natural and botanic ingredients, and a business model in which Amanda became a partner and representative of. Working on this business Amanda says: ‘It was when I started my Arbonne business that my eyes were opened to the power of time leverage and the fact that the 9-5 grind of a job was no longer the only option.’


From here Amanda realised the possibility of self-employment and began taking the steps towards setting up her own Accountancy firm. She came to one of The Women’s Organisations Business Club Networking events and learnt about the services that we offer, with support from RBS Inspiring Enterprise, and then set up a meeting with Business Advisor John Jones; ‘He helped put my ideas into action and I put together a business plan and started to connect with people I knew in business who could benefit from my services.’

She was able to find clients and get her started doing freelance Accountancy work 2 days a week. ‘Starting out on my own has been one of the scariest things I have done to date. After being employed for as long as I have, and being reliant on the monthly pay cheque, I felt all the emotions you would expect; anxious, fearful and nervous, but I knew these were all part and parcel of stepping out of my comfort zone.’

‘With the help and support of my friends, family and The Women’s Organisation, and a positive mind set, I have felt the fear and done it anyway.’

Amanda was particularly lucky in finding a Business Advisor like John Jones who is also a qualified accountant. She says; ‘He has been amazing, and has pulled out all of the stops’. Although Amanda had knowledge of setting up businesses from her role as an Accountant, she struggled with other areas of the business, particularly Social Media;

‘John ensured that I had the guidance and information I needed to fill my voids and set up a one to one with the fabulous Jo Austin (Digital Media Co-Ordinator), who talked me through LinkedIn and the possibilities around using this as a business tool and platform for my business, which left me so excited about the possibilities.’

Although it is still early days for the business, Amanda is finding that things are going well and has enough clients to keep her busy and is excited about the future. She says that one of the best things about running her own business is the flexibility it offers; ‘Not only with my time, but the flexibility to run my business the way that I want it to be run’, and establishing the right relationship with her clients which she believes is paramount; ‘I no longer have to conform to somebody else’s ideas and views on running a business.’
Lotus Accountancy Services (with the name being inspired by the Lotus flower which symbolises new beginnings) and The Women’s Organisation look to be firm friends for the future as Amanda is passionate about the work that we carry out; ‘Women are still so under-represented in business and I love the fact that The Women’s Organisation is there to help empower women and help them to become the amazing women that they all are. My dream is to empower as many people as I possibly can to be the amazing person they truly are.’

And any advice for those who are thinking about starting their own business; ‘100% go for it! There are no right or wrong decisions in life, just lessons to be learnt, so if you have that fire in your belly to get out there and do it yourself, then get yourself out there, get an appointment booked at The Women’s Organisation and get all of the information you need to get the ball moving.’

‘There are so many people out there working each day in a job that they hate, not realising that this affects them in other areas of their life, and most people are capable of so much more. So find your passion and go out there and get the advice and help you need to get started – because it will change your life.’

If like Amanda you would like to set up your own business, then get in touch with The Women's Organisation to find out what support is available to help local women. Whether looking for guidance on how to build a business plan, understand tax, national insurance and other legalities, or gather practical tips on how to use social media to market your small business, contact 0151 706 8111 or hello@thewo.org.uk to find out more. 


RBS Inspiring Enterprise is encouraging a more entrepreneurial culture. From the classroom to the boardroom, RBS are inspiring and enabling enterprise at every stage of the journey. As part of this, RBS has committed to inspire and enable 20,000 women, by the end of 2015, to explore and unlock their enterprise potential. Inspiring Enterprise is encouraging more people in more communities, to explore enterprise, build their skills and start up and succeed in business. 


If you would like to find out more about Amanda, her incredible passion for life, and the work that she does with Lotus Accountancy Services and Arbonne, then you can use the contact details below. And if you would like help, advice and support, like Amanda received from The Women’s Organisation, then get in touch with us by emailing hello@thewo.org.uk or phoning 0151 706 8111

Photo Credit: Kate Williams 

T: 07789645144

T: 07789645144