A Waltham Forest marketer and founder of the Waltham Forest Business Network has been named as one Britain’s top 50 business advisers and selected as one of ten outstanding experts..
Jo Sealy, who offers marketing advice to help local early stage entrepreneurs, was picked from hundreds of advisers from around the UK for her work with creative, food and small businesses.
Jo, who runs To Market from her office in Walthamstow, said: “It's all too easy for a business – particularly those at an early stage - to get distracted and lose sight of what's important to its founders. With good strategic advice the owner can be clear about where he/she really wants to be in say, 3 years time and life becomes easier. All the planning and focus can be constructed with those goals in mind. When you know where you're heading the stepping stones along the way lead to a better sense of achievement, fulfillment and success.”
Jo has thirteen years of experience as a marketing specialist and has recently mentored book company Step Outside Guides, setting the North East London -based firm on a clear path towards future growth.
A second Waltham Forest based adviser – Carol Stewart – has also been selected. Carol runs Abounding Solutions and specialises in mid-life career change for women.
“It's amazing that 2 out of the 50 are from the same borough. Furthermore, the Waltham Forest Business Network (set up by Jo Sealy) was the first network group that I joined and Jo was the first person I had a business mentoring session with (you obviously started me on the right path!”
The awards are run by small business network Enterprise Nation, which asked fledgling businesses to nominate an adviser that had helped them to build and grow a sustainable business.
The awards, which set out to highlight the work done behind the scenes by experts helping Britain’s army of small businesses to build and grow, revealed a rich vein of dedicated supporters for the UK’s expanding entrepreneurial culture.
Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation said: “These business advisers are the unsung heroes behind Britain’s booming small business culture.
“The awards have uncovered some incredible work that has helped fledgling firms take steps towards sustainability and growth by taking a strategic look at their business.
“Research shows that those firms that take advice do better than those that don’t – and it stands to reason that good advice can help avoid some of the damaging, early mistakes entrepreneurs can make that can often force them to give up.
“Thanks to the Government’s £30m Growth Voucher initiative, there is now an increasing interest in taking strategic advice to overcome some of these behavioural barriers and unlock growth potential.
“The awards were designed to show this important work in action, in order to help more start-ups and small firms find out about the benefits of taking advice.”
The 50 advisers were chosen from hundreds of entries from around the UK, with ten outstanding experts picked out as the top ten.
Jo’s top tips for growing a business are:
· Know what you do and what you don't do.
· Stay focused on the prize.
· Challenge yourself to always keep improving.
A Government report entitled Growing Your Business, written by Enterprise Adviser Lord Young suggested if Britain’s smallest firms were to take on just one more employee each, it would eradicate unemployment in the UK.
He said: “The evidence is unequivocal: businesses that seek and engage external help are more likely to grow. But much more needs to be done to encourage firms to invest in their capability.”
A report from the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce suggested by 2018 there would be more than five million people working for themselves in this country – exceeding the number working in the public sector for the first time.
Entries were judged by a distinguished panel including Emma Jones, and representatives from professional bodies including the ICAEW, as well as the Department for Business, Industry and Skills, StartUp Loans and James Layfield, the founder and entrepreneur behind Central Working.
To see the full list go here:
For more information contact Sunita Gangoo on 020 3281 1897 or email Sunita@to-market.co.uk
About Enterprise Nation
Enterprise Nation is a small business network with more than 67,000 members. Its aim is to help people turn their good ideas into great businesses – through expert advice, events, networking and inspiring books. Enterprise Nation was founded in 2005 by Emma Jones MBE also co-founder of StartUp Britain. 2015 is the year of membership.
About Growth Vouchers
There are six stages in the GV programme.
1. Stage 1, is the initial application stage where businesses apply to join the programme. All applicants will be able to complete the application process online by going to www.gov.uk/apply-growth-vouchers
Eligible companies that wish to participate will be invited to apply online and to answer a brief questionnaire. This is devised to help assess which one of five areas of their business might most benefit from strategic advice.
2. Stage 2, will involve businesses carrying out an assessment of their needs by either completing an on-line assessment or by meeting with an adviser. Adviser interviews can be carried out over the telephone but the majority will need to book an appointment and arrange to meet face to face.
3. Stage 3, after completing the assessment, applicants will be given a recommendation about what type of advice would be the most appropriate to meet their needs. Applicants will be told at this stage whether or not they have been allocated a voucher to help pay for the cost of obtaining this advice. Businesses will be randomly selected to receive a voucher. Not being selected is not a reflection on the viability of the business. This is to ensure we get a good selection of businesses across all groups to help assess the impact of the advice that has been delivered.
Vouchers can be used to subsidise the cost of obtaining strategic advice on any of the following five areas:
· Raising finance and managing cash flow
· Marketing, attracting and keeping customers
· Making the most of digital technology
· Improving leadership and management skills
· Recruiting and developing your staff
4. Stage 4, applicants will then be advised to select a supplier from the list of registered providers on the new on-line Marketplace managed by our external partner, Enterprise Nation. The providers on the website have to meet an a quality criteria to be listed.
5. Stage 5, once a suitable provider has been selected, the participant will make their own arrangements to receive the advice. The Growth Voucher can be used as part subsidy to pay for the advice. Vouchers will cover up to 50% of the cost of paying for advice up to a maximum of £2,000. Participants can pay more if they feel it is appropriate but the maximum they can claim back from the Government is £2,000.
6. Stage 6, after paying for the advice they have received, participants can submit a claim for the subsidy. They will have to provide evidence that the invoice has been paid and details of the advice they received.