That was then, this is now. The brand story behind Busy Lives!
From being a well-known School Leader to becoming an unknown Businesswoman – the values and tools that brought me through this transition.
- A change in direction
- A new beginning…know, like and trust
- Gaining new clients who previously didn’t know me
- Key messages
A change in direction
How does taking your career in a new direction change your core values or modus operandi?
…‘What lies behind us and before us matters little compared to what lies within us.’…
O Wendel Holmes
I stumbled across this quote some years ago at one of the Transformational Leadership courses that I attended in my previous role of a Head Teacher. As the facilitator used it as his ‘Key message’ at the end of Day One, and we had to go away and reflect upon this. To me it seemed simple, why would your values change just because your job title changed?
Two years ago I left my Head Teacher role, leading approximately one hundred and fifty staff and seven hundred and fifty children, to start a new career path as I had always planned to at the age of fifty. I want to share with you the thoughts of past colleagues and recent clients’ feedback that will exemplify how successfully I have transitioned my values into my new role.
As a complete unknown in the business world, I asked my previous colleagues and contacts within the education section to provide me with some testimonials that would help new potential clients gain an insight into who I am and how I work. Here are a few samples of what they said:
“She is logical, methodical and organised and has an excellent eye for detail. Karen looks for creative and practical solutions to problems and works efficiently to put them in place. Any tasks she undertakes will be carried out to the highest standards.”
“The growth of a school is a great undertaking and Karen demonstrated a very strategic approach in her thinking and planning. Efficiency and effectiveness are key aspects of Karen’s professional role and she is committed to supporting others in order to manage their lives.”
“She is very good at analysing challenging problems and situations accurately, finding solutions and bringing order to them systematically. Her attention to detail is exceptional and all her work is carried out to a very high professional standard.”
As a Head teacher your values and how you implement them are highly exposed and visible to everyone. In my new career, I was shifting the emphasis of my role onto supporting and adding value to other people, to help transform and develop their businesses.
A new beginning…Know, Like and Trust.
…‘Though my principles are not many, I am very loyal to every one of them’…
The above quote is something that I passionately believe in and have used to build my brand. From attending NBV small business courses I was introduced to the concept of developing your brand strategy using the simple mantra of ‘know, like and trust.’
This resonated powerfully with my own way of thinking and I set about creating a business plan using it.
My core strategy was to build my brand story through:
- The ongoing development of a website that exemplified the ‘who and why’ that is continuously reviewed and updated, so that it is a living document of my values and the impact that I have on my clients’ businesses.
- Regular attendance at networking events allied to informal meetings with other attendees in order to develop potentially supportive relationship and gain an insight into the needs of my peers.
- Using multiple social media platforms to communicate my brand values and promoting the businesses of my peers in a systematic way.
I was successful at accessing funding from Broxtowe Borough Council which allowed me the opportunity to access the services of a marketing professional who provided me with their expertise and guidance over time to enable me to grow the brand story efficiently and systematically.
As I began to implement my strategies, my initial clients provided me with feedback as to how my way of working impacted on them and their businesses:
“Her attention to detail and clarity of thought adds helpful dimensions for those who have busy lives and need a wise hand to guide them behind the scenes.”
“Karen has always been highly professional with a human touch, very efficient yet has a great sense of humour.”
“Integrity, honesty and professionalism are key values that Karen will bring to any organisation as well as being very loyal and hard working.”
To be honest, some of these clients I have had some brief contact with in the past and were therefore more inclined to use my business services, but my impact on their businesses still stands.
Gaining new clients who previously didn’t know me – How?
…‘Good values are like a magnet, they attract good people.’
As part of my annual review, I invited five of my clients that I have worked with in the previous twelve months to fill in a questionnaire that would provide me with useful feedback as to how I was attracting clients, what they specifically wanted me to achieve on their behalf and the impact I had on them and their business.
These five businesses operate in a wide range of sectors: Car Bodywork Repair Specialist, Coaching, Creative Arts, Marketing and Mediation.
All of these businesses have used my services at different times of the year on a regular basis. All of these clients possess ‘good’ values and a high degree of professionalism – exemplified by the time they took to help and support my growth through filling in my questionnaire.
I have organised their feedback into three key areas:
- Why did they choose to use Busy Lives!
- How Busy Lives! services were used.
- What impact did Busy Lives! have on them and their business.
“I prefer to deal with people I know and very importantly trust. Having met Karen at Network meetings I felt there was an opportunity for Karen to support me with my business.”
Liam Kelly – Ready for Retail
“Having heard about your reputation in Education (and worked with you briefly in that role), plus the way you talk so confidently and passionately about the business support that you would offer.”
Debbie Inglis – Debbie Inglis Associates
“Immediately felt warmth, came across as highly knowledgeable, could relate to me and my business which meant that I felt I could trust her – all from a single meeting at a networking event.
Rebecca Hart – Dance Equation
“What I saw at networking was reflected exactly in your social media. You have a very strong work ethos and ethics. I could see you have a passion for helping people and a high level of knowledge and expertise.”
Claire Taylor – Creationz Marketing
“Your personable approach and your organisational skills were clear when you presented at networking events.”
Pete Colby – Pragmatism (UK) ltd.
“I outsourced Karen to deal with administrative, yet sensitive issues related to financial matters that were necessary to support the running of the business.”
“Karen was used to carry out interviews of our members and carry out full interviews of them for marketing purposes. She also carried out a website review for my own business and I have liaised with her on providing contact and communication support for a government bid to support coaching in schools.”
“I’ve used Karen for a variety of purposes: She completely reorganised electronic files, photographs, documents and contacts into an easily accessible format. Worked alongside me on a whole recruitment process including interviewing. She reviewed and completely reformatted all my paperwork and forms to be consistent for my business.”
“Karen was employed to run some of the business that really did not need me to do: invoicing, chasing late payments, database input and maintenance. Sometimes on site and sometimes remotely.”
“A full website review of my website and competitors websites. Database research and entry.”
“The key benefits of using Busy Lives! is giving you time (four hours per week) to look at the bigger picture for your business and be able to concentrate on driving the business forward. As a business owner, you should consider what YOUR hourly rate is and how YOU should be spending your time to maximise the potential of your business.”
“It’s taken the pressure off jobs I don’t particularly want to do. It has meant I could spend less time in front of the computer and more time being creative with my business and working directly with clients. ‘You can get your head into someone’s business so that you are representing them.”
“With Karen so highly organised it meant I could focus upon the creative parts of my business knowing that the essential tasks were being done to a high standard. She gets ‘me’ and accepts ‘me’ for how I operate and moulds herself around that so that the work gets done efficiently.”
“Your open and honest approach makes communication really easy. You’re always looking out for the best interests of me and my business. Karen relishes doing the tasks I really don’t like but she gives me precious time back that allows me to spend on what really matters – running my business and networking with clients.”
“The main benefits of working with Karen are time saving, efficient and high-quality work carried out in a very friendly and engaging way. She also did an extremely comprehensive and professional website review recently, which is now a key document which my business uses to drive continuous improvement.”
The overwhelming message I want to share with you about my journey from Head Teacher into Business Support is that the values I possess whilst working with clients have not changed one iota. The triangulation of face to face networking, social media posts and a refined website all demonstrate consistently my values and my modus operandi.
How do I know this? Because that is what my clients have told me.
‘Opportunities don’t happen. You create them.’
Businesses need new opportunities in order to grow, develop and transform not only themselves but their clients also.
By choosing to use my services, you create those opportunities.
By choosing to use my services, you give yourself time to grow.
By choosing to use my services, you are guaranteed the highest level of professionalism, integrity, efficiency and confidentiality.
Please feel free contact me and let’s discuss how I can support you now and in the future.