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how she did it

Case Studies // Overcoming The Fear of Network...

Overcoming The Fear of Networking

What does your business do?

Madson Interim Solutions is a Management Consultancy and Business Services company.

The Business Services division provides virtual office support to individuals, companies and organisations throughout the UK.

Our services include Audio/Copy typing, PowerPoint/Publisher Presentations, Spreadsheet Creation and Maintenance, Database Cleansing and Maintenance, Invoicing, Event Management, Internet and Telephone Research, Organising Travel & Accommodation and Lifestyle Management.

This is just a brief overview of the services we are able to provide. For more detailed information please take a look at our website www.madsoninterimsolutions.com or contact me on 0845 326 5595 / 07814 091 779

What made you decide to start your own business?

When Madson first started trading in 2008 it was primarily a management consultancy. I worked full time as a Recruitment Specialist and provided ad-hoc support to Madson in the evenings and at weekends. Management Consultancy teams are always based on client site so it was natural for me to provide a virtual support service to them.

In my day job, as a recruitment specialist, I was finding that potential clients really wanted office support but didn’t want to commit to a part-time/full-time staff member, or they just didn’t have the office space. The need for a more flexible, cost effective support service was screaming at me on a daily basis.

I performed lots of internet research into the Virtual Assistant market and found that it’s an emerging market in the UK. There was also the consideration of the changes to the Agency Worker Directive which is due to be implemented in October this year. Taking all this into account it felt like the perfect time to make the jump and start working for myself.

We decided to open this service as a division of Madson as it is an interim service. I really am there to enable my clients to grow so I don’t expect them to be with me forever, although it would be lovely if they were!

I really enjoy selling the service. When I explain the cost and time saving benefits to potential clients they really can see the immediate advantage being offered to them. It takes so much pressure off their shoulders, no employee costs, no office equipment or space, only pay for what you use and only use the service when you need it. You can almost here the sigh of relief coming down the telephone line.

What have been your biggest challenges so far?

Creating the company website has most probably been my biggest challenge so far. It seems odd, but prior to opening the business services division Madson didn’t have a website. We had traded, successfully, by word-of-mouth. I’d never built a website before and had no idea about search engine optimisation or how to analyse the flow of traffic to the site.

The other challenge, I’m brave enough to admit, was networking! Now that might seem odd coming from a recruiter with over 14 years experience, but I’d never attended a formal networking event before. I’m brave enough to admit that I was not looking forward to walking into a room full strangers. If you’d asked me to make a telephone call to them explaining my services I wouldn’t have thought twice about it.

How did you overcome these challenges?

Overcoming the challenge of building the first website for Madson was great fun. I performed lots of internet research and finally settled on a company called Fat Cow who always seemed to be in the top 5 for hosting websites for small companies. There is a 24/7 online support team and I have a choice of systems to use for putting my website together. I could use click and drag or I could even build my website purely using html. So I know I can stay with FatCow for the long-term. As my programming skills develop I can utilise the more complex areas of the site. I intend to take a programming course which means I will then be able to offer this service to my clients. So the challenge has now turned into an opportunity!

My fear of networking was easy to overcome by just making myself go to as many events as possible! The more you do something you are unsure about the more comfortable and confident you become. I’ve met so many interesting people as well as building friendships. I’m really enjoying growing my network and wherever possible I encourage everyone I meet to do the same.

What advice or tips would you give to other business owners?

Tell everyone you meet what you do. You just never know who they know.

Always carry your business cards with you (even on holiday).

Identify your weaknesses and work on them until they are strengths.

Continuously add to your skills base, don’t stand still.

Don’t be scared of asking for help.

Always help others if you can.

Don’t take life too seriously, the problem you face today could be tomorrows opportunity.

What’s your favourite quote?

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. – Winston Churchill

Who inspires you?

Lara Morgan – built her business, Pacific Direct, over 10 years and sold it in 2008 for 20million. Lara has a new book out ‘More Balls Than Most’ it’s a must read for any woman in business.

Winston Churchill – He’s my hero. Strength in the face of adversity. If you haven’t researched him yet, then you must!

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