Small Business Support

Small Business Support


I have worked with Karen weekly for three months from January until April. After a period of considerable change both professionally and personally, Karen supported me and my business in a number of different ways. Her work has been invaluable: she has saved me a considerable amount of time and money so that I could focus on growing my business; she has reorganised my home office and my paperwork and set up systems so that it stays efficient; she has used her knowledge and expertise of the legal and commercial frameworks to enable my business to be fully compliant and she has provided me with sound advice related to a wide range of activities related to business and legal matters. Most of all, she has always been highly professional with a human touch, she is very efficient yet has a great sense of humour. I would happily work with her again and I highly recommend her to all other business owners too.

Jason Cooke 

The Merry Men


Duties undertaken – P.A. & remote support

Duration: ½ a day for 3 months

This Client owns a national commercial company which is expanding annually. Support here was for logistical support for the home office, personal support with written communication and remote business support.

Executive support remotely for your business:

  • Organisation of Companies House paperwork. This included assessing all documentation that was in place, creating missing documentation and updating where needed to meet legal requirements.
  • Website review of strengths and areas to develop to strengthen presence against competitors.
  • Creation of Privacy and Cookies policies for the website.
  • Social media bank of photographs and graphics to reflect the business created.
  • LinkedIn profile update
  • Background research into a national company entering a tender process


Executive support remotely for wider life:

  • Statement of case letter that successfully concluded a legal dispute in the Courts.
  • Completion of various personal electronic forms.
  • Grant research and application.
  • Letter written to utilities supplier.


Logistical support at your home:

  • After recently moving, home office paperwork, draws and cupboards needed organising and a manageable system creating to suit the client needs and own future management of it. For instance – creating a client database and setting up business folders such as a workable monthly expenditure and income.



Business Support for a Marketing Company

Duration: ½ a day support every two weeks.

This Client owns a successful marketing company which they run. Due to the continual growth of clients they are now supporting, I attend their business premises and support with the operation functions as delegated.

Duties undertaken

  • QuickBooks – Income Invoices & overdue payments
  • Research – various topics
  • Debt Recovery research and procedures
  • Late payment notification letters
  • Systematic organisation and filing of office paperwork
  • Strategic Contribution within a monthly team meeting
  • Best value quotes – example for the disposal of confidential papers
  • Monthly business analysis summary
  • Website & competitor analysis
  • Invoice overview proforma
  • Trello
  • Creating a database of contacts for a clients on excel to extend their reach of connections on Social media.



Business Support for a Car Body Paint Repair Comany

Duration: ½ a day support weekly.

This is a fantastic example where the owner wants to concentrate on the practical side of the business and outsource the activities which take up valuable time and they don’t particularly enjoy doing. I work here every week at their premises.

Duties undertaken

  • Financial work on Xero for income and expenditure
  • Systematic filing of hard copies
  • Supplier end of month statement and invoice work
  • Weekly reconciliation.



Example – Creation of information sheets to support clients:


Running a Limited Company. Essential Facts and things that need to be in place and what you must do.

Having a limited company means:

  • it is legally separate from the people who run it
  • has separate finances form your personal ones
  • you can keep any profits your company makes after paying tax.

Incorporation – this is the term used when you set up the private limited company with Companies House. The company should have the following in place and registered with Companies House:

  1. company name
  2. correct address for the company
  3. director
  4. details of the companies shares – you need at least one shareholder
  5. when you register a company you need to provide information about the shares which is known as a ‘statement of capital’
  6. all shareholders names and addresses should be given. Shareholders are technically known as ‘members
  7. if you have shareholders other than yourself you also must then have ‘prescribed particulars’
  8. SIC code is in place. This means Standard Industrial Classification This identifies what your company does
  9. Memorandum of association
  10. Articles of association
  11. PSC which is details of People with Significant Control
  12. As the company director you are legally responsible to ensure the company accounts and reports are properly prepared
  13. You should be registered for Corporation tax and PAYE as an employee at the same time as registering with company’s house within three months. You may get a penalty fee if this is not done within this period.
Point 4 simply explained:
  • Most limited companies are limited by shares. This means they are owned by the shareholder. If you are the only share holder you own 100% of the company.
  • Shareholders need to pay for their shares in full if the company has to shut down.
  • A share can be as little as £1 to limit the shareholders’ liability.
Point 5 simply explained:
  • The statement of capital needs to include the number of shares of each type the company has and their total value. This is known as the company’s ‘share capital.’
Point 7 simply explained:
  • If for example Ben bought 500 shares at £1 each his share capital would be £500.
  • Companies house will need to know the type of share known as the class given each shareholder.
  • Companies house will also need to know.
    • what share of the dividends they get
    • if they can redeem or exchange their share for money
    • if they can vote on company matters and if so how many votes they get.
Point 9 simply explained:
  • When you register your company you need a Memorandum of Association. This is a legal statement signed by all shareholders agreeing to form the company.
  • Even if your company is dormant (99999) or non-trading (74990) you still need to provide the appropriate SIC code.
Point 10 simply explained:
  • All limited companies must have Articles of Association.
  • These set the rules company officers must follow when running their companies.
  • There are 3 limited company types and the Articles of Association should reflect the one the company falls into:
    • Private company limited by shares
    • Private company limited by guarantee
    • Public companies.
Point 11 simply explained:
  • A person with significant control (PSC) is someone who owns or controls the company. They are sometimes also known as the beneficial owners.
  • Company’s House must be told who they are.
  • You must record the details on your company’s PSC register and send them the information.


Warning: If you don’t follow the rules on this  you could face a fine and possible prosecution!

Updating  &  Formatting  Business Papers

Updating & Formatting Business Papers


Karen is supremely organised, unflappable and a pleasure to work with. She has bags of initiative and has made some really useful suggestions and contributions. She is professional and friendly and has been a valued member of the team supporting us through a busier than usual period. I would highly recommend Karen and her services to any business owners or businesses. She is a real asset. Thank you Karen!

Sarah Loates

Loates HR Consultancy / Loates HR Training

Darley Abbey, Derbyshire


I just want to thank Karen so much for helping me get my business back on track and for getting to the bottom of what I needed to help my business move forward. She had the amazing ability to help and advise me in the most positive, warm and supportive manner.

Rebecca Hart

Dance Equation

West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire


Example of papers formatted and updated:

Create / take existing documentation, edit, update, standardise brand formatting and layout throughout on the following documents:

  • Freelance Contract Agreement
  • Dance Teacher Booking and Invoice Form
  • Code of Conduct Statement
  • GRDP consent form for clients
  • GRDP consent form for Freelance Dancers
  • GRDP consent evidence excel file for compliance
  • School Booking Form A – 2 pages
  • School Booking Form B –includes the pricing & deposit information
  • Invoice master
  • Invoice master acknowledging a previous deposit
  • Risk Assessment for school bookings
  • Risk Assessment for Performances & workshops



Addressing Temporary Staffing Gaps During Recruitment Or Illness

Addressing Temporary Staffing Gaps During Recruitment Or Illness


‘Karen has been working at Loates HR Consultancy providing project management expertise for our office warming and 8th birthday celebration event. Karen is supremely organised, unflappable and a pleasure to work with. She has bags of initiative and has made some really useful suggestions and contributions. She is professional and friendly and has been a valued member of the team supporting us through a busier than usual period. I would highly recommend Karen and her services to any business owners or businesses. She is a real asset. Thank you Karen!’

Sarah Loates

Loates HR Consulting & Loates HR Consultancy

Darley Abbey, Derbyshire


Duties undertaken whilst working there – P.A. and general administrative support

  • Creation of a timeline and features for consideration for the official opening and celebration event.
  • Working on tasks from the timeline for the official opening and celebration event.
  • Minute taking at a grievance appeal meeting
  • Knowledge share of HR support in schools, packages and key differences between Community schools and MATs.
  • Provide sample interview questions and tasks for the clerical post advertised.
  • Printing and collation of interview panel packs.
  • Printing and collation of professional development training packs for delegates.
  • Organisation of the data protection secure cupboard.
  • Refreshing and organising sets of training resources to a much higher quality and professional standard.
  • Organisation of training reference folders and activity card materials into a logical quick reference system.
  • General admin activities.
  • Final preparations and support throughout the official opening and celebrations.


Dates and duration to suit the clients’ needs

Support for this client varied from half to full day support throughout August and September.




I asked Karen to completely run a recruitment project for my business as I was too busy. I am so impressed with her organisational skills, efficiency and total professionalism throughout. She has done everything, kept me informed all the way and has saved me time and money plus I got the ideal candidate. Highly recommend her services.

Justina Nurse


I just want to thank Karen so much for helping me get my business back on track and for getting to the bottom of what I needed to help my business move forward. She had the amazing ability to help and advise me in the most positive, warm and supportive manner.

Rebecca Hart



As a Head Teacher I led and conducted the recruitment process with staff at all levels throughout the organisation.

Busy Lives! can be responsible for the publicity and administrative work concerning recruitment of staff. This includes:

  • Management of the sequence of dates for the advert, closing date, shortlisting and interview with the placement of adverts.
  • managing application requests and responses.
  • organising interview panels and hospitality.
  • redrafting interview and reference letters.
  • Preparation of interview timings, questions and tasks.
  • arrangement of suitable rooms for tasks and the interview.
  • collation of application packs for the interview panel and chasing references as necessary.

For business, it may be just one aspect of recruitment or implementing the whole process for / alongside clients. The businesses within this case study demonstrate just this.

The table below gives you a rough indication of the time involved:

A ½ day Initial recruitment paperwork – Job Description, Job Specification & adverts placed
B 1 day* (up to) Dealing with enquiries, sending packs out & tracking interest (*4 mins per pack!)
C ½ day Writing & sending shortlisting associated letters – invites to interview or not & sending for references
D 2 – 3 hours Writing & compiling sets of questions & tasks for the applicants. Sending to the client for approval. Printing packs off in advance of the day.
E 1 day Attending and supporting the interview day as part of the panel.

Stuart Mobility – Burton Upon Trent, Derbyshire

  • Recruitment associated paperwork specific to the needs of the client and new post researched, composed and written.
  • Adverts placed on agreed sites.
  • Dealing, following through, sending information packs & tracking enquiries.
  • Production of a shortlisting pack for the client.
  • Being part of the shortlisting panel.
  • Following through with letters inviting or not to interview & sending for references.
  • Writing & compiling interview day sets for the panel & applicants of questions and tasks.
  • Attending and supporting the interview day as part of the panel.

Related Paperwork:

Advert          Job Description          Job Specification          Tracking database for analysis

Application Form          Welcome Enquiry Pack           Interview related letters

Reference Requests          Timings for the Interview Day           Panel Question Sheets

Interview Initiative Task          Interview Letter Writing Task

Dance Equation – West Bridgford, Nottingham

  • Email shortlisted applicants providing details of the audition.
  • Check and confirm that all applicants are able to attend interview.
  • Update risk assessment & add safeguarding requirements.
  • Create the following forms (& masters) for the process: Excel spreadsheet & database / Audition registration form / GRDP including photograph consent for marketing form / Panel notes / Interview question sheet / Outline of timings / Things to remember.
  • Assist with audition day, note take and conduct the formal interviews on behalf of the client advising where needed in the decision-making process.
  • Email final applicants who were & weren’t successful on this occasion.
  • Seek references for confirmed applicants.
  • Input information on applicants onto client excel database.


Loates HR – Darley Abbey, Derbyshire

  • Provide sample interview questions and tasks for the clerical post advertised.


Creationz Marketing – Beeston, Nottingham

  • Shortlisting application letters and C.V.’s for a Marketing post vacancy.


Website  & Competitor  Review

Website & Competitor Review

Website & Competitor Review – About This Service

The quality of your business website is really important, as it forms part of your online reputation & how people find out more about you.
I’ve created a three-stage review to help you make the most of it to attract new clients:
Stage 1- A checklist to assess how effective it runs alongside those vital key messages about you & your business.
Stage 2- An evaluation on how effective your website is against your current competitors in the marketplace, you choose if this is local or national.
Stage 3- Recommended actions to take along with general thoughts & ideas how you can develop it further.
Why not have the best website for your service or product, leaving your competitors behind?


Website & Competitor Review

Nottinghamshire Based Commercial XXX Competitors Website Comparison

General thoughts and ideas you could develop:

  • Look at the strengths of your three main challengers and ensure in time your site becomes stronger than theirs.
  • Equally, the comments written in the weakness column can be used as a check list to make sure your site isn’t like that!
  • Have information about the contract types & payment options you offer i.e. 6 months, 1, 3, 5 years.
  • Gallery page that demonstrates different local building types you’ve taken on and have contracts with (taken on a sunny day that shows them off to full potential with shiny windows – could even use it as a pitch to let the client or prospective client also have an electronic copy of the picture taken for their literature! I know a great X on LinkedIn XX who may be worth using).
  • H&S page look at Strawberry as this is a good example, you could develop on from this easily and also talk about your insurance coverage.
  • Case studies on the site could reflect the different areas of the Country as you grow as clients would recognise buildings in their area in addition to the company’s logo.


Recommended actions to taken when website is next edited:

  1. Address checklist from page one of this document with your website developer.
  2. Privacy & cookies policy needs to be added to the site.
  3. Home page is long with too much content this which would be better as a bulleted summary and link then created which then fed through to the detail elsewhere on the site.
  4. Clear value proposition statement to be written above the fold line on the home page.
  5. Service page – 3 boxes not working or having an impact. Not clear on traditional offer, if you do abseil as well etc.
  6. Locations page – space missing after some of the ‘,’ within your lists – could this be shortened further to your key Cities as you grow i.e. Manchester and a 50-mile radius around it?
  7. DBS sitting in the wrong place needs adding in your hyperlinks row, remove G+ and the two currently not working restored.
  8. Ensure your facts stated are consistent. Contradiction on pages – one says you do 70ft. one 100ft.
  9. Your niche needs to be much stronger throughout the site i.e. longest pole system which means that X metre buildings can be professionally cleaned / purified water etc. one of the other sites does 70 feet.
  10. Page created about you including a business portfolio statement about yourself. This could also then scroll down and show a professional picture of those working for you with three quirky statements i.e. what they love about the job, type of buildings they prefer to clean, what they like to do in their own time (within reason! remembering your target market!)


Points to note:

This simple analysis has been completed in a professional and non-bias way. If a new client who earned a commercial set of businesses asked me to perform a tendering process to find a commercial XXX company, this is the sort of exercise I would perform and then follow through enquiries with those rated as good inviting them to submit a tender.

Most company boards will insist on three quotes/tenders to be submitted before they make a final decision on who to use for best value. Currently, from the Nottingham area you could be missing out as there are three commercial XXX websites who have a much stronger presence than yours.

Although ‘XXX’ website is not currently used to drive new business opportunity it could still be missing out from potential commercial clients who increasingly commence their searches for services digitally in the first instance.


Additional Analysis Service


If your website has ‘Google Analytics’ and ‘Google Optimize’ installed I am also able to conduct a performance analysis of the traffic to your site and which pages get views for instance.

I have used Busy Lives! performance in its first year as an example of this.

Google Analytics – Website Headlines

Analysis of the first 12 months of a business (2018/2019)

  • Direct impact as a result of networking with name and business card given out to people who then go and do a direct search to the website. 45% of the overall traffic.
  • Organic searches account for 38% of the overall traffic.
  • Social Media after a first-year accounts for 15% of overall traffic.
  • The Home page on the website is by far the most visited site X sessions.
  • ‘About Me’ second highest page visited.
  • Blog Post Page:
    • Traffic is definitely being generated by people visiting the Blog page. Continue with the monthly post.
    • Traffic to the blogs definitely reflects the increased numbers through social media.
  • Case studies page which went up @July haven’t had any impact with an extremely low traffic to it.
  • Top three performing months in the last year: Dec 18 / Apr 19 / Oct 19











Business Research  &  Marketing Strategy

Business Research & Marketing Strategy


‘I asked Karen at Busy Lives to complete a project for me that involved doing the research for and contacting prospective new clients. Karen is diligent, professional and reliable. She is eager to get the best outcome and worked exactly to the brief we agreed. I’ve been really pleased with the results of Karen’s work. Highly recommended.’

Claudine Jackson

Trent Wills & Estates

West Bridgford, Nottingham


To have 10 new businesses on board by the end of the year which agree to facilitate Trent Wills & Estates visiting three times a year to provide:

  • a ten-minute drop-in clinic for employees.
  • lunchtime talk / talk at a convenient time that suits the business.

The Employer would need to provide a suitable room for both of these to take place.

Benefits to the Employer

  • There would be no charge to the employer for this service.
  • Would be an excellent opportunity for the employer to demonstrate they care about their employees.
  • Their staff will receive access to free information and advice regarding wills.
  • Motivate staff to have a will written and in place for their families and themselves as opposed to something they will get around to in the future.


Busy Lives! Strategy: Target Market

Task 1

  • Target 60 businesses
  • Businesses with 100+ employees.
  • Location to be within a 25-mile radius of West Bridgford.
  • Businesses initially with the Investors in People or equivalent awards primarily (demonstrate they care)
  • Record and track companies explored and viability within excel.

Task 2

  • Research through Company websites / LinkedIn of what is already in place / can be built upon as a further benefit.
  • Find individual within HR departments / Named member of staff with responsibility for their health and Wellbeing.
  • Summarise what well-being is already in place and if a Will and Estate service is already in place.

Experimental Marketing / Randomised Controlled Trail

Task 3

  • x60 businesses to be divided into two groups – x30 cold calling / x30 postal communication
  • x30 cold calling to be sub-divided further into two groups – x15 call from female / x15 call from male
  • x30 postal communication to be sub-divided further into two groups – x15 electronic letter with flyer / x15 had written letter with flyer
  • Uptake to be recorded on excel

Task 4

  • Appointment dates booked into diary
  • Impact summary on most effective marketing method
  • Review of work undertaken


Project Fixed Duration and Fees

  • Three days’ work agreed on this.
  • Agreed fee as reflected in the Freelance contract for Busy Lives!
  • Headed paper, envelopes and x30 first class stamps to be provided by Client to Busy Lives!


Possible future work

  • Option of spotlight interview to be used on social media in the future.
  • Additional work as requested by Client.


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