Monday, December 4, 2017

The Advice Corner | Improve Your SEO With Fran's Top Tips Part 1

We're back again with more from The Advice Corner!

Introducing...The Advice Corner!

We'll be regularly sitting down with our team of skilled Business Advisers, picking their brains and sharing their knowledge with you right here on the blog. Our Business Advisers have helped thousands of women get started into the world of enterprise. From bakeries to bookkeeping, from hairdressers to handywomen - Businesses are their bag...So they've got a lot of advice to share with you!

Next up on the blog we have tips from our Business Adviser Francine Taylor on Search Engine Optimisation or SEO!

Francine Taylor is a fully qualified Business Advisor with 9 years’ experience of providing business support to both new and established women led SME's across a wide variety of different sectors, helping them to successfully start or grow their enterprise. To date she has successfully assisted over 500+ businesses across Merseyside at both stages, providing each client tailored support to their identified business needs. Francine is passionate about helping people be the best they can be, empowering them to realise their full potential.

So, let's hear the first part of Francine's tips on SEO, and keep your eyes peeled for part 2!

Francine being a FAB Adviser!

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation . In a nutshell it is about methods of getting your website to the ‘Top of Google’ - ideally (Number One) in the search engine ranking results for when a potential customer searches for your product or service using a specific ‘key word’ or ‘phrase’.

Why is SEO Important?

The higher your website is ranked in search results, the more visitors it is likely to receive, and with the ever-increasing amount of consumers shopping online and competitors migrating online, SEO for businesses has become more important than ever!

For example, here at The Womens Organisation we provide Business Support Services across Merseyside. 

Therefore, if a potential customer typed in the following phrase such as ‘Business Start-up Support in Liverpool’, it is crucial that we are at least on the first page of Google, as the Google Search Engine Results below highlight that we are competing with whopping 2,910,000 results from prospective customers searching online for ‘Business Start-up Support in Liverpool’

From the competitive results, it clearly highlights that if your business is not on the first page of the search engine ranking or near the top, it is highly unlikely that you will attract any visitors to your website due to poor visibility, and consequently will not achieve your online objectives i.e. To increase online sales.

The higher your website is placed in the search engine rankings, the more credible and reliable it is also deemed to be to both Google and the prospective customer. As a result, your website link is more likely to be clicked on, as opposed to a competitor’s website that is near the bottom of the search engine ranking.

SEO is not a ‘One Off’ Task

It is important to remember that as with any form of marketing for your business, SEO is an ongoing activity that needs to be monitored and maintained on a regular basis to help improve your chances of not only reaching, but maintaining that all prominent position on Google.

Below are some key considerations to help improve your SEO.

Content is King/ Queen 

Provide relevant content that is: 

Useful and Informative - Ensure that information on your website is useful/ informative I.e. If you are launching a site for a restaurant, include opening hours, the contact number, menu and blog to share upcoming events.

More Valuable and Useful than Other Sites – If you write about how to train a dog, make sure your article provides more value or a different perspective than the numerous articles on the web. Therefore, it is important to check out what your competitors are writing about.

Credible – Show your sites credibility by using original research, citations, links, reviews and testimonials. This can help boost your sites trustworthiness and reputation to both Google and the customer.

High Quality - Search engine providers such as Google prioritise quality content and publish clear guidelines on ways to improve your search-engine ranking. For best practice guidelines for Google go to Content Guidelines. Your sites content should be unique, specific and high quality. It should not be mass produced on a large number of sites. Most importantly your content should be created primarily to give the visitor a good user experience.

Engaging – Bring colour and life to your site by adding images of your products, your team etc. Make sure visitors are not distracted by spelling, stylistic and factual errors. Engage visitors by interacting with them through regular updates, comment boxes, or social media widgets.

So! Some fantastic tips from Fran! And there's more to come in part 2...If you've enjoyed this be sure to check back on the blog for more tips from The Advice Corner or you can subscribe and receive them straight to your inbox!

If you're thinking about starting your own business, and would like to receive one-to-one support and advice from ourselves, get in touch with us! Email us on or ring us on 0151 706 8111 to see how we can help you.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

๐ŸŽˆ 21 Years of The Women’s Organisation | Launching Our Film! ๐ŸŽˆ

2017 has marked 21 years of The Women’s Organisation. That’s 21 years of supporting women. 21 years of celebrating their successes. And 21 years of being inspired, every single day by the women we get to surround ourselves with…

And we’ve been making full use of our 21st birthday this year with celebrations, parties, and events throughout the year – Just so nobody forgets!

So far this year we’ve launched an art collaboration with and currently have an exhibition here at 54 St James Street. AND, we’ve been working on a book which is going to be launched in early Spring 2018.

And the last thing that we’ve got to share with you is something we’ve been waiting to launch for many months…Our very own film!

We were lucky enough to work with the incredible team over at Bad Bug Media to put together this short film about The Women’s Organisation. We got together our founders, our staff team, our friends and our clients and sat them down for a moment of reflection of what we have achieved over the past 21 years and the work that is still to come.

We are delighted to be able to launch this film!

Give it a watch!

We believe it encompasses everything about us. Our mission, our vision and most importantly, our values.

It was a real pleasure to work with the Bad Bug team who are a credit to their industry. They spent lots of time working closely with us to find out all about the organisation and created a fantastic piece of media that really illustrates what we are about, all in under 2 minutes.

So please…Give it a watch! Share it around and let us know what you think of it. 

Because this video is about all of us. 

For 21 years we have been working for the economic development of women and we know we’ve made a difference, but we also know our work is not over yet. That’s why we are continuing, we are persisting, and we are working hard every day. For women. Everywhere.

Because when a woman is empowered, women are empowered…

Thank you for 21 years, here’s to another 21 and more!

The Women’s Organisation

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Meet T'shana, Our New Trainee Receptionist!

We’ve breathed new, youthful life into our W.O office in the form of two new lovely Trainee Receptionists that keep us smiling all day, Sophie and T’shana! We love staff introductory blogs, as we get to find out loads of interesting things about our new members of the team (like when Ellie told us that she has a qualification in archery).

First off, we’ll be introducing you to T’shana – if you’ve popped into 54 St James Street recently you may have had the pleasure of meeting her. Have a little read below to find out more about T’shana and just how she ended up with us here at The Women’s Organisation. And be sure to say hello to her next time you’re here! 

T'shana and Sophie

What’s your full name and where are you from?

My name is T’shana Braithwaite and I am from Liverpool.

Tell me how you first found out about The Women’s Organisation and become part of our team?

I first came to hear about The Women’s Organisation through one of my tutors at college. I had been looking for a role which offered more progression and development than my then current role at McDonalds.

What kind of things have you done prior to coming to The Women’s Organisation?

Prior to coming to The Women’s Organisation, I completed numerous traineeships and employability programmes whilst working at a fast food restaurant. I also carried out a voluntary work placement at a sheltered scheme near me, as a way of helping the elderly and giving back to my community.


What has surprised you about working at The Women’s Organisation?

One of the things that surprised me about working at The Women’s Organisation is how welcoming the staff are and how quickly I have felt a part of the team. It’s also rather surprising how much I love coming to work every day!

What’s the best thing about working at The Women’s Organisation?

The best thing about working at The Women’s Organisation is the practical side of the role. For me, the thing I enjoy most is setting up for conferences and events held here at 54 St James St. It’s very hands on and it isn’t always easy, but still the best thing for me personally.

Could you describe one of your typical workdays?

No two days are the same working at the reception desk here at The Women’s Organisation. The job roles vary from setting up events to intensive filing! Some days can be extremely busy and others, not so much.

T'shana on Reception Duty

What might (someone) be surprised to know about you?

Maybe that I taught myself how to play the keyboard by ear and sometimes in my spare time I like to teach myself new songs.

What do you do when you aren’t working? 

Outside of work, I tend to spend most of my time shopping! When I am not shopping, I enjoy spending time with my boyfriend and my family. After all, family time is the best time!

Thanks T’shana – welcome to The W.O family, it’s great to have you here. 

Next up on the blog, we’ll be introducing you to Sophie – stay posted!  

Monday, November 27, 2017

The Advice Corner | In The Hospitality Industry? Why You Need TO Be Online!

Exciting news from The Women's Organisation HQ! We have a brand new blog series starting right here!

Introducing...The Advice Corner!

We'll be regularly sitting down with our team of skilled Business Advisers, picking their brains and sharing their knowledge with you right here on the blog. Our Business Advisers have helped thousands of women get started into the world of enterprise. From bakeries to bookkeeping, from hairdressers to handywomen - Businesses are their bag...So they've got a lot of advice to share with you!

First up in The Advice Corner we have tips from John Jones!

John is a Senior Business Adviser at The Women’s Organisation and has worked there for 8 years. John is a qualified accountant and prior to joining The Women's Organisation her ran his own consultancy and financial training business that specialise in the insurance sector.

For this blog John told us all about why he believes if you're running a business in the hospitality sector, you NEED to be online! 

Read on to find out more...

The hospitality industry in The UK has experienced significant growth in recent years and this is forecast to continue into 2018. 

A recent survey by PWC states ‘The good fortune of the hotel sector continues but as uncertainty weighs in, is this as good as it gets? UK hotels have enjoyed record trading, underpinned by the boom in overseas leisure travel.'

'PwC forecasts a slower pace of growth in 2018 as the stimulus of the weak pound starts to weaken, and new supply kicks in. Add into the mix, global political volatility, an expected deceleration in UK economic growth and continued Brexit policy uncertainty, and we look to a cautious, but still reasonably strong growth forecast in 2018’

Hospitality, however, covers more than just hotels. As we know on Merseyside there has been a rapid increase in the number of new restaurants, cafes and venues that host a range of events to tempt visitors from throughout the UK and increasingly, overseas.

Given this opportunity, it is important for hospitality businesses on Merseyside to ensure they make full use of their online presence...

Being online is no longer just about websites! 

Whilst it is important to drive traffic to your website it is just as important to encourage customer engagement. This is all about content i.e. you want your customers to engage with your content, share it and use it. This is on social media sites, not on the traditional internet.

Get people talking about your business

Being online gives you a great opportunity to get closer to your customers. Social media provides lots of examples to promote your hospitality business using special offers e.g. using Facebook Advertising or sites such as Groupon and Wowcher. Simply making sure you are active on the major social media channels can allow you to respond to customers queries quickly (and could even lead to bookings)

Encourage feedback from your clients

Before I booked my last overseas holiday, I spent a good 30 minutes reading reviews about the hotel on Trip Advisor. The importance of online reviews for hotels and restaurants will continue to grow. Having positive feedback can help your business stand out from the competition. I experienced this recently when a colleague started an Airbnb business. She was really careful to ensure her customers would leave good reviews, thus encouraging new, potential customers to use her offering.

Seeking new, potential customers 

Hospitality businesses without an online presence risk not being found by new, potential customers (who will not be aware of your existence). It is common practice, nowadays, to use a search engine to find restaurants and hotels etc. Having your own website and using SEO techniques can improve your chances of customers finding you 

By engaging fully with your online presence, the result should be to increase your bookings. 
By using comparison and bookings sites (e.g. and, customers can now find a wealth of information in one place. 

Having a website that allows customers to book online will also help your business stand out. Your site, however, needs to be mobile-friendly as smartphone bookings continue to rise. 

Finally, don’t forget that lots of people use comparison, booking and directory sites. Having a presence on such sites will give you access to these additional, potential new clients. Just a few reasons of how ‘being online’ can make a positive impact on your hospitality business and ultimately increase your number of bookings!

So! That's all from John and his tips for getting your hospitality business online...If you've enjoyed this be sure to check back on the blog for more tips from The Advice Corner or you can subscribe and receive them straight to your inbox!

If you're thinking about starting your own business, and would like to receive one-to-one support and advice from ourselves, get in touch with us! Email us on or ring us on 0151 706 8111 to see how we can help you.

Monday, November 20, 2017

GEW17: Reflecting on Our Panel of 'Accidental Entrepreneurs' at Business Club!

On Thursday we marked the celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week by paying homage to ‘The Accidental Entrepreneur’. The accidental entrepreneur is the person who one day found themselves running a business and asked themselves, ‘how did this happen?!'

You may be one, or you may know one. Either way, the accidental entrepreneur had a business idea and they made it happen. And here at The Women’s Organisation, we think that’s something to be celebrated! 

That’s why we drew together a panel of four incredible (and accidental) entrepreneurs for November’s Business Club. Taking to the hot seats was; Nicola Wass, CEO of So-Mo, Denise Chilton, Executive Business and Life Coach, Nicola Idowu, Founder of Tap in Marketing and Ify Unwandi, Founder of Uufey Ltd. 

The panel shared their experiences of starting a business and offered their advice and tips to the aspiring and/or established entrepreneurs in our audience. The event was chaired by Learning & Development Trainer at The Women’s Organisation, Jenny Wallwork. 

Denise Chilton began chasing her entrepreneurial dream in 2002 with a passion for championing female business owners and senior female leaders by encouraging them to see their true potential. Denise told our audience “You have to ask yourself what is your big ‘WHY?’ for getting up in the morning. Mine is to help people. If you follow your passion, the money comes”. She added, “Don’t try to fit in with everyone else. Do it the way it’s going to work for you, that’s more authentic and real!”

Nicola Wass referred to herself as once being an ‘intrepreneur’ – someone who possesses all the skills of an entrepreneur whilst being employed by someone else. This was when she realised she wanted to start her own business, she is now into her 6th year of running So-mo, a successful company based in the heart of Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle. Nicola’s advice to our audience was “You learn by doing. Don’t wait for the right moment - just do it and learn from it”. She added, “There isn’t one way to being successful. Success is about being happy and being able to pay your bills at the same time. I love my job. You take the good with the bad and you find a solution”.

Nicole, Denise, Ify, Nicola and Jenny

Ify Unwandi graduated from University of Liverpool with a masters in Entrepreneurship following her passion to reach out and be a part of people’s lives through business. She was selected by the university business panel as a student with a desire to start a business, following this, Ify founded shoe company Uufey Ltd. Ify’s biggest advice was to “not be scared to ask for help when you need it”. 

Lifelong fan of Arsenal, Nicole Idowu quit her job and moved to the UK to follow her dream of working in the football industry. She graduated from University of Liverpool with a distinction in Football Industries MBA program and set up a sports digital agency centred on connecting European brands to American audiences. Nicole provided a fascinating insight of working in a male dominated industry and on the topic of role models said: “I see Karen Brady as a real role model, a woman who has made it to where she is in football”.

It was a brilliant event that left the room feeling inspired and motivated! Comments included:

“Amazing speakers and so insightful! People need to hear their wisdom”

“I thoroughly enjoyed and took a lot from what was said by these amazing successful women. I feel lucky to have heard the advice they gave”

“Wonderful words of wisdom”

“Really enjoyed my first event. Great panel, very interesting and inspiring”

It was great to have our event partners from University of Liverpool Management School in attendance. The Management School delivers innovative and established portfolio of undergraduate, postgraduate and research programmes covering key management disciplines and strive to enhance the employability of students and inspire future leaders to become socially responsible global citizens.

If you are interested in finding out more about The University of Liverpool Management School, please visit 

Our next Business Club event 'Festive Networking' is on 5th December, 6-8:30pm at 54 St James Street, L1 0AB. 

To see what we're getting up to and be the first to hear about our events, follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

From Books To The Body Shop; Our Top British Entrepreneurs For #GEW2017

It's Global Entrepreneurship Week! So in the spirit of all things entrepreneurial we took some time out to take a look at some of our favourite british entrepreneurs. When scouring the endless list of top entrepreneurs on the internet, we were shocked by the lack of women topping these lists. In the words of our CEO; Maggie O'Carroll; 'One of the critical things is that women are not visible. When we think of entrepreneurs, we automatically think of the likes of Richard Branson and Lord Sugar." (Read Maggie's full interview here!)

Well of course, at The Women's Organisation, that's not what we're about! We see these female entrepreneurs and we want to celebrate them. We want to tell the whole world about their accolades, shout it from the rooftops about the fantastic work that they have done and that they will continue to do!

We have the privilege of working with amazing female entrepreneurs every single day...And on this day, we wanted to take a moment to tell you about a few of our favourites...

Do you have a favourite entrepreneur? Someone who inspires you and motivates you? We want to know who! Get in touch and let us know...

And read on to find out who's on our list...

Sharmadean Reid MBE –Founder of WAH Nails

Sharmadean Reid is a British Jamaican entrepreneur and founder of WAH Nails. Sharmadean started WAH whilst she was at University, where it was originally a hip hop zine focussing on a new wave of street smart feminism. WAH Zine developed into a blog and events as the brand continued to grow – it opened up opportunities for women to get together and discuss careers and ideas.

Sharmadean was driven by the idea of WAH being a place for women to ‘hang out, form friendships and build communities whilst being able to have whatever you wanted on your nails’ and she opened her first nail salon in August 2009.

Today WAH Nails has pop-up shops around the country, including its longest standing at Topshop Oxford Street founded in 2010. She also has a brand in Boots, two published books and worldwide following.

Last year, Sharmadean also launched FutureGirlCorp, a pioneering female business training camp for today’s entrepreneurs. In 2012, The Women’s Organisation were delighted to have Sharmadean visit us in Liverpool at 54 St James Street when we were part of a live recording of BBC Woman’s Hour!

Born in Sussex, Dame Anita Roddick, DBE was a British businesswoman, human rights activist and environmental campaigner, best known as the founder of The Body Shop, a cosmetics company producing and retailing beauty products that shaped ethical consumerism.

Roddick was involved in activism and campaigning for environmental and social issues, including involvement with Greenpeace and The Big Issue. In 1990, Roddick founded Children on the Edge, a charitable organization which helps disadvantaged children in Eastern Europe and Asia. In 2003, Queen Elizabeth II appointed Roddick a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. In 2004, Roddick was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis due to long-standing hepatitis C. After she revealed this to the media in February 2007, she promoted the work of the Hepatitis C Trust, and campaigned to increase awareness of the disease.

Roddick was known for her campaigning work on environmental issues and was a member of the Demos think tank's advisory council. Children on the Edge (COTE) are an organization that Roddick founded in 1990, in response to her visits to Romanian orphanages. Upon seeing the conditions the children were in, she created COTE to help manage the crisis and worked to de-institutionalize the children over the course of their early life. COTE's mission focuses on disadvantaged children affected by conflicts, natural disasters, disabilities, and HIV/AIDS.

On 13 December 2005, the National Post reported that Roddick had decided to turn her back on the world of commerce and give away her fortune, worth some £51 million ($104 million). Roddick also wrote the book Take It Personally, which encourages equality and an end to the exploitation of workers and children in underdeveloped countries.

Kanya King MBE –Founder of the MOBO Awards

Kanya King MBE is the founder and CEO of MOBO. Founded in 1996, the MOBO Awards is one of the most televised urban music awards shows in the world, reaching in excess of 400 million viewers across 200 countries.  The MOBO platform has helped launch and propel many of today’s biggest musical talents such as Emeli Sandรฉ, Tinie Tempah, Rihanna and the late great Amy Winehouse.

The youngest girl of nine children born to a Ghanaian father and Irish mother, Kanya grew up in a ‘crowded council flat’ in Kilburn, North London. While her family faced a huge amount of discrimination, Kanya chose to be influenced far more by her father’s advice to ‘be the best you can be’.  It was that advice which motivated her to start contributing to the family finances from a young age. It drove her to study English Literature at Goldsmiths College.

Following her studies in English Literature at the renowned Goldsmiths College, London, Kanya took up a job as a TV researcher where she soon identified a gap in the market for a mainstream British awards ceremony celebrating music influenced and inspired by black music.

Since its inception in 1996, Kanya has built MOBO into a globally respected brand. With Kanya’s expert guidance, the MOBO organisation has established itself as a champion of diversity, inclusion and recognition for BME talent within music, culture, arts, fashion, media and larger society as a whole.

In Kanya’s own words: “The reason I became successful, is because I refuse to quit, I see obstacles as opportunities. I’m proud of what I created with MOBO. Twenty years in, the organisation has a social and cultural responsibility to motivate, elevate and celebrate today’s creative talent and future generations. Something that is much bigger than music alone, and something much bigger than me.”

JK Rowling – Author

Joanne Rowling, who goes by the pen name J.K. Rowling, is a British author and screenwriter best known for her seven-book Harry Potter children's book series. J.K. Rowling was living in Edinburgh, Scotland and struggling to get by as a single mom before her first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, was published.

The children's fantasy novel became an international hit and Rowling became an international literary sensation in 1999 when the first three instalments of Harry Potter took over the top three slots of The New York Times bestseller list after achieving similar success in her native United Kingdom.

The series has sold more than 450 million copies and was adapted into a blockbuster film franchise. Twelve publishing houses rejected her original Harry Potter manuscripts, but eventually small publisher Bloomsbury gave her a chance with a small advance. Little did anyone know it would become the bestselling book series in history. Her seventh and final Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows broke sales records as the fastest-selling book ever.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Meet Our New Trainee Business Adviser, Cynthia!

Cynthia joined The Women’s Organisation back in August as a Trainee Business Adviser. If you’ve visited us recently, you may have had the pleasure of meeting Cynthia, as she’s been working closely with our Business Advice Team. Although Cynthia is still relatively new to the office, she’s definitely a part of our W.O family and we’d like you to get to know her too. 

What’s your full name and where are you from?

Cynthia Elima Bosafola – Born in DR Congo – Grew up in London and now adopted scouser.

Tell me how you first found out about The Women’s Organisation and become part of our team?

I found out about the women’s org about 5 months ago, I wanted to start my own business and was looking for support and courses and found WO online and booked onto a course. About 3 months later, while I was working as an Intern at Launch22 there was a Future BOSS club event being hosted which I really enjoyed, which brought me back to WO, so whilst looking for a job, I went to look at what opportunities were at the organisation and found an opportunity as trainee business advisor and went for it and here I am. 

What kind of things have you done prior to coming to The Women’s Organisation?

I came up to Liverpool in 2009 to study Drama & English Literature and fell in love with Liverpool! After working in retail for 2 years I finally landed a job at the BBC in Salford as a Production Coordinator, working on such programmes as, Newsround, The one show & Songs of Praise. I worked at the BBC for 3 years and 1/2, although I miss the people I worked with I do not miss the 4-hour daily commute!  Other places I have worked are H&M, Liverpool airport & Chester races.

What has surprised you about working at The Women’s Organisation?

The office atmosphere- everyone is so friendly & welcoming and so supportive to each other. It’s chilled environment but everyone is still focused and getting the job done, but with a few tea trips and laugher along the way.

What’s the best thing about working at The Women’s Organisation?

The commitment to WO values and beliefs, in some places, people are either working for the money or just because it’s a job! Everyone whole heartedly believe in the vision of the women’s org and know that their job is vital to making this vision & mission a reality.

Could you describe one of your typical workdays?

I know it sounds clichรฉ, but every day is different, so this doesn’t happen every day but is a general outline.

As soon as I get in, I check my emails and calendar, see what meetings are ahead and what 1-2-1 I will be shadowing, I go ahead and start looking up what the client’s ideas are, such as a beautician, consultant or tutor. Gather information, workbooks that might be helpful for these clients, end up finding out a lot about different industries. Attend 1-21’s hears about all the woman's ideas, their history and where they want to get to! It great when you leave the end of that meeting and the client is so excited and confident about starting their business.

In between these meeting, I help the rest of business advisors with any and work or anything they need help with.  I also read up on a lot of business website, templates of business plans and blogs, so that I can be in the know of what’s going on in Liverpool! Occasionally might get asked to take an Usain bolt style photograph with my colleagues for a bid photo! All of that in a day’s work! Who says you can’t have fun in work!

The 'Dabbing Dance' photo Cynthia refers to! 

What might (someone) be surprised to know about you?

That I have a twin sister?? We are not identical! I wish we were, I would have got up to so much mischief when I was younger! I also have a fake dimple! It was caused by laughing so hard! Ask me and I’ll tell you the full story!

What do you do when you aren’t working? 

I love to work within my local community, I am involved in my local church in different ministries, such as community events, media & Kids club. I love to sew and bake, one after the other, sewing is hard work! I love spending time with my Godson, he has the cutest cheeks EVER! I love spending time with my boyfriend and family, I force them to watch Pitch perfect with me again and again (I’m on my 12th re-watch and counting). Accabelieve it!

Thanks Cynthia – we love having you here as part of the team! ๐Ÿ˜Š 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

'Feel The Fear, And Do It Anyway!' Says Katie Bigelow of Little Sunshine Yoga

Knowsley based Katie Bigelow has some incredible words of wisdom for us all! Her tip for anyone starting a business (but we think it applies to all areas of our lives) is...

'Feel the fear, and do it anyway!'

Here's Katie's story...

Katie started working with children over 20 years ago in a number of settings such as schools, nurseries and educational environments.  At the age of 32 she decided to further her career and train to become a teacher. 

During her teaching degree she completed a children’s yoga course which allowed her to teach children’s yoga in the schools that worked in on placement.  She had practiced mindfulness and yoga herself for many years and recognised the impact this had on her well-being such as improved resilience, positivity, self-awareness, determination and focus. 

Some of Katie's young yogi's!
Once she qualified she went on another children’s yoga course which gave her the inspiration to focus on mental health support for children rather than education.  She then completed a mindfulness diploma.

With the help of The Women’s Organisation and Senior Business Adviser; Francine Taylor, she says she was given the confidence to leave her job and focus on her new business ‘Little Sunshine Mindfulness and Yoga’ which began in April 2017. 

Katie says ‘This is the best thing I have ever done as I am so passionate about how yoga and mindfulness can improve children's and adult’s well-being and mindset.  It really changed my life so the passion comes from the heart’. 

Katie has taught yoga in Calderstone’s Storybarn bringing yoga and literature together and is now teaching in a number of schools across Knowsley and Liverpool providing mindfulness strategies for children and teaching staff that calm the mind, reducing stress and anxiety.

A relaxing space to practice!
She says the benefits include improving children’s cognitive development, relationships with others, resilience, performance, self-esteem, concentration, determination and how to support their emotional intelligence. 

Not only does she work in schools but she also provides a 4-week mindfulness course from her home in North Liverpool which have become very popular, supporting people in her local area. 

Katie says; ‘The Women’s Organisation helped me to realise that everyone starting a business has a fear of failure but if you have a passion you just have to go for it regardless! Knowing that everyone feels the same way.’

‘My mottos is; Feel the fear and do it anyway!’

Little Sunshine!
Katie says it hasn’t been easy with being a mum to 2 children, training to be an adult yoga teacher, advertising and working it is hard but determination, passion and focus keeps you going.

‘The Women’s Organisation provided me with information, advice and training that were invaluable!’

For more information about ‘Little Sunshine Mindfulness and Yoga’ visit her website

And, if you’ve been inspired by Katie’s story and would like support to start your own business, then get in touch with us today! Email or ring us on 0151 706 8111

๐Ÿธ The Women's Organisation Helps Manchester Business Defiance Gin Launch & Grow! ๐Ÿธ

Now, you might be thinking – aren’t you The Women’s Organisation? Don’t you only work with women?

BUT that isn’t the case! As part of our work in Manchester under our Excelerate Labs project we can support women AND men running businesses in the B2B (business to business) sector which enables organisations in the Greater Manchester area to innovate, diversify and grow creating new jobs.

Paul Sheerin and his business Defiance are one of the businesses that we’ve had the pleasure of working with this year, and this is their story…

Paul told us; ‘Defiance is a premium, distilled, small batch gin. Foraged across Lancashire, Yorkshire and Scotland…Our professional forager Alysia of Yorkshire Foragers, who works with the top restaurants across the country, sources and collects our wild botanicals. We use these fresh botanicals to give Defiance it’s truly unique flavour and characteristics.’

Paul started receiving support from ourselves after his wife Jo, who works at accountancy firm; KPMG, met CEO of The Women’s Organisation; Maggie O’Carroll and explained about the idea for a business that Paul had. Paul was then partnered up with one of our Manchester Business Advisers; Mike Marsden, and that’s where it all began!

‘I started working with Mike at the beginning of this year, when Defiance Gin was just in the concept stages. Since then we have been having regular meetings and it has been an absolutely brilliant process.’

Mike and Paul worked together on a number of different things, looking at laying down objectives and a timescale for the product and a business plan specific to Defiance Gin, as Paul owns another business wholesaling other gins. Paul says; ‘Mike made me say that it was important to have a business plan that was bespoke for Defiance Gin.’  

And, he had some great words to say about Mike; ‘I’ve really enjoyed working with Mike, it’s been terrific. I don’t say this about many people, but I actually looking forward to meeting up with Mike and having our meetings! He’s enthusiastic and knowledgeable and it’s been great to have a sounding board to bounce ideas off of.’

Defiance Gin launched last month and so far, things are going great for Paul, having already sold over 400 bottles! And it’s no wonder people love it so much, it sounds incredible!
Paul told us that; ’14 botanicals create Defiance Gin. We distil all of these ingredients separately to extract the best characteristics from each botanical.’ ­­– Their steep and boil method of distilling means that Defiance is an absolute treat for the taste buds!

‘It gives Defiance its wonderful and unique depth of flavour. An earthy backbone gives way to fresh citrus and wonderful notes of anise.’

And what are Paul’s plans for the future of Defiance Gin?

‘We’ve got big expectations for the future. I’m looking to export in Summer 2018 and continue expanding our national strategy here in the UK. Defiance can already be found in Michelin and 5 star restaurants and hotels across the country, so I’d like to continue working on that.’

To find out more about Defiance, and the incredible story behind their name, you can check out their website here! And check out their social media too

If you are in Greater Manchester and would like to find out if The Women’s Organisation can support you and your business, then get in touch with us today! Email us on or ring us on 0151 706 8111

You can find out more information about our Excelerate Labs programme here.