Like the idea of owning your own business?

The idea of owning your own business is exciting and whilst some acknowledge it will be hard work – few are really prepared for the intensity of starting a business.

Before you start on this journey it is important you are totally honest with yourself and ask yourself some very important questions.

I will be posting a series of blogs, asking you the questions you need to be asking yourself. I will post these weekly to give you time to think about them before you move onto the next one.

I know this might seem a little silly, but to be successful in any business you must take the time to create a solid foundation to carry you forward to success.

So here is the first question.

Are you truly committed to making your business a success?

Is your business idea something that you daydream about when you have a quiet moment or a bad day?

Or is it on your mind constantly – the the point of being an obsession?

To succeed, it helps if you have a burning desire and passion for your product and to make it work, not matter what! Starting and running any business (large or small) is exceptionally hard work and if you don’t have have drive to keep going, then consider if it is really what you want.

Starting your own business is very rewarding but can be a lonely stressful journey, so be prepared. Make sure you have that passion – it also helps if you find someone who will be there to talk things through with. They don’t have to be business minded but you often find the answer yourself just by talking it through out load.

Well done – you have taken the first step. Think this through over the next few days and see what the next question will be!

Start 2020 with a plan!

So many people have an idea which they would love to turn into a business but keep putting it off for one reason or another.

Why not make 2020 the year you take your first step – who knows where it will take you?

I will help you take your first step and support you with your next one – all free of charge. Supported by Jigsaw Homes, this is a service available to anyone who would like support to consider if your idea is viable, starting their own business or you have a business you want to develop further. We are here to help, just give me a call and take your first step.

Start of a new journey

Helping others is the one of the most rewarding things I do.

For some time I have been working with Jigsaw Homes, offering support to new start-ups and small businesses.

It has been very rewarding and our support network has grown during this time.

I have thought about what I want my website to offer, should it be selling my services or promoting other services? – these just didn’t feel right for me.

So I have decide what does feel right for me is to start a series of blogs, offering advise and support to the small businesses and new start-ups that I passionately want to help.

The one to one support service is still readily available, if you would like to chat through ideas or get some help moving forward I would be happy to help. Just get in touch and we will arrange to meet up.

Moving forward I will try and put a post up every other week, weekly if I can get them done in time. I will try and make them straight forward and with important information – not sales speak!

I hope these blogs will help you on your journey.

Is there grants around in Tameside?

When working with new start-ups and small businesses, one of the most asked questions is ‘are there any grants I can apply for?’

There really is no grants around in the Tameside area.  To finance a business it has to be with money raised y yourself via savings, a personal or business loan.

Jigsaw have a partnership with a company who specialise in Social Enterprise organisations and offer a small amount of funds for people who have a direct impact on the local community.  If your business is a social enterprise, get in touch and we can put you in touch with the right people to help you.

We also have a partnership with other organisations that offer specific support in securing financial support who we are happy to connect you with, again just give us a call.

If we link you with one of our partners, it does not stop you having support from the SUSSED IT project in other areas of your business.


Moving forward


Today I am a guest speaker at Tameside Enterprise Club.

This is a new thing for me, I have spoken to groups before but in an employed capacity.  It feels totally different preparing this time, mainly because I am putting myself forward (selling myself) rather than representing a company I work for.

But you know what, I am also really excited. If I can help a person or a company move forward to achieve their desired outcome, it is worth it.  The sense of achievement outweighs any nerves I have and I would encourage anyone who is starting up or putting themselves forward to be confident in themselves.  If you are not passionate about what you do, then maybe you are not doing what you should be doing.  Passion for a business is really important, especially when you are starting up – if you don’t feel passionate, why would anyone else.

A current client comes to mind when I think ‘am I really offering something worth while?’ – which I am sure so many people do!  Gail is the proud owner of a Beauty Salon in Chadderton and is concerned that they are only really busy on a Saturday and wanted to get people in during the week.  Gail and her staff are really lovely people and when you go into the salon you are greeted with a big smile and such warmth.  She asked me if I could help her with her quest for more clients.  I had a look around the salon, discussed her end objectives, what she is happy with etc.  I then made some suggestions regarding the salon itself (which is freshly painted and looks amazing).  From there we are now working on her ’email marketing campaign’ which will generate a target audience to entice into the salon.  I gave Gail a list of things to do and she has been working incredibily hard to get everything completed.  Here is what she put at the bottom of her last email.

‘Other than all this I just wanted to show I value your input and hope you are pleased with my achievements… I will continue with more and will post asap… come soon xxx I feel I can hand all this over and you can fix it xxx much regards gail xx

Ps obviously this is all a work in progress and I will continue to work on stuff, updating you as i go…’
This is what motivates me to keep working for myself so that I can help businesses when they need it without breaking the bank!
Before I decided to make the move, my perception of a ‘Consultant’ was they come into your business, have a wonder round, chat to some staff and ask question that sometimes seem irrelevant!  They then go away and produce a report telling you what you are doing wrong and not really giving you a way to change it, or giving generic responses such as ‘change the method of finance you use’. I also found that their understanding of ‘what is wrong’ may not be factual as each business is unique.  And to add insult to injury they charge thousands of pounds.
I wanted to be very different from this style of Consultant.  I pride myself in taking the time to understand what the business is about, what the aspirations of individuals and the company are, what their needs are (not what I want them to be).  This is where the ‘7 Step Program’ was inspired and created from.  I wanted to get clients to know what they wanted, make sure it fit with who they are and work towards meeting these expectations in a structured way that is not all consuming.  ‘Recognising Your Unique Business Genius’ helps clients on their way to understanding where they are on the journey. To get a copy of this please email me and I will send you a copy.
So I am ready to go, got all my sales stuff together and an general idea of what I want to say – don’t really like to prepare a speech, I know what I do and am confident in expressing this.  Will let you know how it goes.
If you need help with your business, please get in touch and I will work with you.


Crazy Days


Portrait of young redhead Caucasian woman sitting in chair.

Over the years I found myself thinking about what it would be like working from home. Dreaming of getting up in a morning, not having to think about getting dressed or commuting to the office.  It had a certain amount of appeal.  The thought of no distractions from the general noise and activity that a manufacturing environment has – BLISS.

Well, in January I got the opportunity to work for myself from home.  I couldn’t wait to churn through my workload, have an hour for lunch and still have time for my hobbies.  The reality is not what I imaged it would be.

It is great working from home, being your own boss, prioritising your own workload and day.  Even getting up and not having to leave the house is great.   But there is also a down side, for me anyway.  At first I found it very difficult to not get distracted  – I’d settle down to work, after 15 minutes I’d be hoovering or putting a wash load in, oh I can just get the beds changed quickly, you get the idea.  So by the time 5 o’clock came around I had hardly done any actual work!  It was so alien to me because I have always worked really hard, put extra hours in when needed and got through tonnes of work.  How is this not happening now, without the distractions?

Some of my friends tell me ‘think of the money’ and you will be motivated to get on with it.  The problem is I have never been motivated by money – it has always been pride in the work I do.  So whilst I have to earn enough to pay the bills, it’s not giving me that focus I need.

So after the first week of distractions, I decided to make sure my day was structured.  I started each day checking my emails, social media sites and posting any interesting articles I came across.  Then I did any domestic stuff that I knew would distract me.  I set my alarm for 8am, once the alarm went off I made myself sit down and work solid for 1 hour with no distractions.  I had a break while I had my cuppa and breakfast for about 15 minutes, then back to work and I worked this way throughout the day.  Whilst I was less distracted I still didn’t feel I was actually achieving enough for the hours of work I put in.

I was getting increasingly frustrated (which is not like me), while I was chatting with my husband about my frustrations (others would maybe call it whining!), it came to me that when I work with clients I tell them to have a ‘to do list’ written at the end of each day so that when they start the next day they have a clear objective.  Always starting with the job they don’t want to do first.  Kind of silly that I didn’t follow my own advise really…..

Week 3 – much better.  I plan my day in advanced, book my client visits around my best telephone time when possible and by 5 o’clock I feel content that I have achieve my daily goals and enjoyed the benefits of working from home.  It is now a set routine that gives me the structure I need but with some flexibility.

Worse part of working from home is you can’t call in and say ‘it’s snowing, I can’t get in today’.  But for me the benefits far out weight the negatives.  So my advise to you would be try and have a structured day, get rid of the distractions before you start work and keep to your schedule where you can.

Good luck if you are also giving it a go working from home and let me know how you have got on.

Sales & Marketing go hand in hand

Sales marketing

Sales and Marketing Strategies

If there was a ‘one fits all’ option for sales and marketing then the big companies would save a fortune!  But no one knows which medium works best because we humans are  so varied, so the best policy is cover them all.

Social media is the main focus for a lot of businesses, which is not a bad thing, but so many ignore the more traditional ways to reach customers and in doing so miss a huge opportunity.

How many leaflets do you get through your door each week?  How many email promotions do you get in your inbox everyday? If they didn’t work companies would not use them, they get enough converted customers to make it viable. Take this into consideration when you are looking at your sales and marketing strategies.

Before you start hitting every thinkable way of reaching customers, you need to make sure that you are getting the right message over.  If you know what your Unique Selling Point (USP) is, great – make it the centre of your campaigns.  If you do not know what it is, then sit back and think what you offer that no one else does, or what you do better than anyone else.  Sometime speaking to someone outside your business can help with this information as it is sometimes hard to be objective when you are so emotionally invested (it’s normal to believe you are the best company ever!).

Keep your campaign consistent, the same message across all mediums, so your customers know what you are offering.   Having good content is also important, you will have better results if you offer some information to your customers – be the expert in your field.

If you would like any more details on the above or need assistance getting your sales and marketing campaign off to a good start, please give me a call, email or complete the form below and I will get back to you straight away.   You can have a successful sales and marketing campaign without spending a fortune.


I’m using the holidays to get focused – are you?

  It’s crazy I tell you……….

This time of the year is crazy for most people, running around doing Christmas visits with clients, filling orders placed before the holidays – then their is the personal craziness, getting presents, food, decorating the house.  The list seems endless.

But the holidays is a good time to reflect on the year and think about things that didn’t go so well, things that did go well and where 2016 will take you.

For me, Christmas is a time of family and friends getting together and enjoying each others company.  Because of the ‘feel good’ time, I find it is also a great time to collect me thoughts, look at where I want to be in the coming year and what I want to achieve professionally.  I also find it a good time to bring some of the ideas that have been flying around in my head for the last few months together.

Marketing has been high on my priority list in 2015 both for my own company and that of my clients.  Until last year social media was in the background, I kind of used Facebook to keep in touch, Twitter now and again to see what was going on, but I was never really interested or interactive.  Starting Inspire made me get more involved with this aspect of advertising and promoting ideas for clients and myself.  It was kind of strange at first, who wants to know what I am doing?  But I soon came to appreciate the benefits of social media and the importance in the current business arena.

Over the holidays I am going to be thinking about new ways to get peoples attention, maybe a new flyer that I can send by email with lots of images, or a newspaper style promotional piece.  The one thing I do know is that using the ‘time out of the office’ is a great opportunity to think of new and creative ways to reach new clients and I am not going to waste it.

So why not have a think about what you want from 2016?  Do you want to expand your business?  Increase sales and profits?  Change your hobby or idea into a viable business? Hold some motivation sessions with your staff to kick start the New Year?  Implement changes that you have been putting off? 

Don’t put it off any longer.  Make a list of the things you want to change or achieve, put them in priority order and start with number 1.  What is your goal? How can you achieve your goal? What do you need to achieve it?  You get the idea…  I find ‘Mind Mapping’ to be really helpful with this as it allows you to just keep adding and sometimes the change in direction is the best one.   If you would like some information on effective mind mapping let me know and I will send it over to you.

Well good luck for 2016, I hope all your goals and dreams are fulfilled, or at least some of them.  If any of my services can help you, please get in touch – sometimes just talking things through makes the path clearer and more focused – all first meetings are free.

If you have any feedback or would like to contribute you ideas, goals or just leave a message – please use the form below.

JUMP! Is this book worth reading?


Jump! Deliver astonishing results by unleashing your Leadership Team by Chris Henderson

Review by Judi Kelly Inspire Consultant (Dukinfield) Ltd

This book is aimed at Senior Leadership Teams but I feel anyone in management would benefit from reading it.  As Chris Henderson suggests in the book, most management books are based on individual needs (which of course are important) but few look at what happens when the individuals are put together as a team.  Even as an effective Leadership Team, the book helps to remind you where potential problem areas can, and do, arise.

It outlines the areas where most Leadership Teams fail or do not meet their potential and offers tools to improve these teams.  I work with and in Senior Management Teams and found some of the ‘tools’ helped to bring results in quicker and with less conflict within cross departments. As I often work as an outside facilitator, so have no personal involvement with the Leadership Teams I work with, these tools are really good – in a Leadership Team I find the team members are competitive and often demanding (if they weren’t they would not be good at their job) which makes the decisions to be made harder because they all want what they want. But these tools helped to break some of the barriers down and results much better and achieved much quicker.

The book itself was easy to read, not too much jargon and technical speak (my brain didn’t fry!). Managers of all levels would find helpful information and techniques to apply to their own staff and environment.

This book is not available as an ebook, but can be purchased from most online book stores and some larger highstreet bookstores. I have referred back to my book several times because there are so many ‘tools’, I find myself checking out which one I can use in each situation.

Innovation is Really important.

What do you do to encourage and implement innovation?


Do you have a team of Managers brainstorm in a meeting 

Do you rely on your Directors or MD to come up with something? 

Or your marketing team?

Innovation for just about every business is important.  Without innovation you just stand still and in the current market place this is not advisable. But a lot of companies struggle with finding new innovation ideas and/or implementing these ideas.

A big contribution to this is the mind set of your staff.  No one likes to be ‘told’ what to do, even children react better to being persuaded rather than told.  So why do so many companies ignore the great resources they are already paying for? The staff!

If your company does not encourage and nurture a culture of inclusion, making changes of any kind is difficult. If you involve the people who are effected by these changes and encourage their input, the change is much more organic. Staff feel valued and you will be surprised at how many things they will come up with that Managers may not have thought of.

So start right away!  Start with your team leaders, if you have them, or the most outspoken members of staff.  Explain what your aims and outcomes are and why you need their input.  Human nature is to be needed, included, valued – so make sure your staff know they have these things from you.  Get them to go back to their teams and have a chat during break times (or extend a break time by 10 minutes) so they can discuss what you need and have them report back with ideas.  They will feel they have a purpose and you will have some great ideas.   When I first started this process my first objective was to improve our Social Media postings (not my strongest skill!), my staff were a little resistant so I made it a bit of a competition – the member of staff who came up with the best post each month got a box of chocolates and a bottle of wine.  The response I got was great, it was worth the £10 I spent on the prizes!  Now it is just second nature to them, I walk through the factory and staff are throwing ideas at me, things they have seen on their way to work, ideas that came to them when they were out and about.  It is great having such open creative thinking and the staff feel much more included in the progress of our company.

Some will be a but ‘raw’ but you maybe able to use the ideas and expand on them to make a real change.

Remember as a Manager how good it feels when something you have done makes an impact on your company, get your staff to experience this same feeling, they will be more receptive to change in the future and more likely to offer positive suggestions for improvement without being prompted.

Staff are an asset you are already paying for, so utilise your assets to make positive change and improvements.


I would appreciate your feedback on this topic, please let any comments below. Many thanks