We love your good news so when we heard that Isobel Chaplin who set up her business 18 months ago had won her first award on top of having a record breaking profits year we were over the moon to share her article about her growing business and her first award.
Winning awards is a great way to understand your business, how it is percieved and get some free press to celebrate your business and stand you a part from your competitors. Don’t just put your award on your social media and hope it will bring in customers, it won’t!
Isobel works with our Founder Mandie Holgate as her coach and here Isobel shares how it feels to win that first award for her new business;
“My coach reminded me that I should be shouting from the rooftops about my SME News UK Enterprise Award. It’s not something I feel comfortable doing so Mandie Holgate sat and interviewed me because we really should celebrate our wins, shouldn’t we?
As small business owners we work so hard and I’m not sure enough of us take time to celebrate, so thanks to Mandie, here I will share my win. Let me know what you think.
Q: What made you enter the awards?The entry came as a complete surprise. I received an email from SME News to inform me that IJC Finance had been nominated as the Best Emerging SME Accountancy Practice for Essex AND for a Distinction Award for Customer Service Excellence, and I was shocked to be honest. In a good way, of course! I had seen the awards advertised but hadn’t dreamt of entering because of the business being quite young and I wasn’t sure we’d been seen to have enough experience. I think it’s great they have awards for all types of businesses, no matter whether in their infancy or if well established.
Q: How did you feel when you realised you were a finalist?I was told we’d been shortlisted but didn’t expect any more to come of it. This was a typical “Isobel” thought process at the time – I’m quite humble and didn’t think any more of it!
Q: In true Oscars or Miss World style “What does winning mean to you?”It’s given me a real boost in confidence. I think all business owners have moments where they think “can I really do this?”, no matter how long they’ve been in the game, and receiving the nomination and then the award has cemented my self-belief. It’s given me the push to enter more awards of my own volition. You have to be in it to win it so they say, and if anything it’s given me an opportunity to explore the business’ strengths and weaknesses in more depth.
Q: How do you feel this reflects on your business ambitions?My mission has always been to offer a personable and reliable service to small businesses so they feel valued and not just a number (that’s almost a tagline now). Being presented with an award as the Best Emerging SME Accountancy Practice of our region is a fantastic achievement for us, given that we had only been properly up and running for 18 months when the award came through. Also triumphing with a Distinction Award for Client Service Excellence shows me that we are surpassing the standards we set for customer care, which is one of our focuses for continual improvement, and the award helps us to stand out compared to our competitors.
Q: What do you feel it does for your clients?I like to think that our clients are cheering with us about this award. We’ve received a lot of positive feedback and congratulations, and the recognition has helped showcase our standing in the local accounting community as well. Showing potential clients that we have what it takes to meet their needs, and that we were even nominated let alone won the award, is also great for advertising. I think it gives our clients the reassurance that they are in safe hands.
Q: What would you say to someone thinking of entering an award for their business? What should they consider?Do it! Since winning the award we have entered more national and local awards, not necessarily with the expectation of winning, but in just writing our entries it has provided moments when have sat and thought about all the wonderful things we do that we are proud of. That’s something that business owners’ don’t normally do; we are often very critical of ourselves, so doing an exercise on shouting about how great we are has so many positives!”
We are so excited for Isobel who is an active member of our networking events and our mastermind group. If you would like support to grow your business as an Insider and member you can also share your good news, insights, advice and ideas in our blog for free!
Isobel is such a valued member of our mastermind group the Insiders Isobel will be speaking for us at our July event. We look forward to welcoming you too.
So, you’re new to running your business. Or perhaps you’ve been doing it a while and you’re not happy with the way you’ve been dealing with (or perhaps, not dealing with, as the case may be) the business’ finances. I think it’s important to start off any business ventures well organised and having thought through how you’re going to keep track of everything you’re doing in a monetary sense. It sounds obvious, I know, but so many business owners are perhaps a little afraid to face the finances as it all seems a bit daunting. By making sure you have set yourself a few rules to get going, it doesn’t have to be too complicated or time consuming. Step 1 Make sure you have a separate business bank account set up for all your business transactions. For limited companies it’s a mandatory requirement, so it’s one of the first things you should do once you’ve got your business registered with Companies House. Some formation companies even tag on the bank account as part of the process. Although it’s not a deal-breaking requirement for sole traders, it’s something I’d strongly recommend. If thinking about your tax return is a daunting prospect, then having all your transactions on one place makes….
I often get asked by business owners whether they should trade as a sole trader or under a limited company. It’s a decision that’s sometimes simple to make, but there are pros and cons to be considered and you may find that after some thought one style suits your business better. I will explain more on the key differences below and offer some food for thought…
We’ve had a bumper crop of good news already this Autumn with lots of our members winning awards AND featuring in the press.
First there’s Michelle Taylor and Sarah Keen following a great trend we are very proud of by being Top 100 Small Businesses in the national campaign Small Business Saturday featured in The Guardian Newspaper. This is the 3rd year in a row that BWN members have won this accolade, pretty impressive considering how many businesses there are in the UK right?
Keep your eyes peeled because Celebrant Michelle Taylor has her day with Small Business Saturday coming up too. Michelle has helped us celebrate our big 10th birthday and many others with her awesome ceremonies for corporate events. She also features on TV this month! Learn more about Funky Celebrant here or meet Sarah and Michelle at our Colchester events or on the Insiders.
Not content with winning with Small Business Saturday Michelle features as a top 50 business women of Essex with Living Magazine along with our Founder Mandie Holgate, Anne Cope from Authentico Paint and Josie Dom Author of the Lum and Friends. They all featured in October and November editions at the launch at the stunning Braxted Park.