Name: Sarah Brockwell
Company: sarahBee marketing
Position in company: Managing Director
Fate is a peculiar thing. Some believe life is predestined and there is little we can do about whatever happens, others believe that life is what you make it. This is the crossroads that Sarah Brockwell faced in early 2010 when she was made redundant whilst on maternity leave. She had a choice to either accept the decision of the large City firm she worked for at the time and seek another similar role, or create her own destiny using the experience she had gained in her Head of Marketing position. She opted for the latter and after four years of sarahBee marketing being operational, she had won six awards including Essex Businesswoman of the year.
When Sarah sat down to decide what to do next after being made redundant, she thought of the potential for providing everyday businesses with affordable marketing and PR support. She affirmed that it doesn’t all have to be confined to the big players with big budgets.
To help make things clear and simple for potential clients from the start, she developed two flexible operating models – a ‘Pay As You Go’ and a ‘Retainer’. This was her plan, and to help bring it to life she decided that her start-up budget would be what she could raise from selling her old her old maternity clothes on eBay. A total that would reach £250.
But it wasn’t just a modest budget and previous experience Sarah decided that she needed for her business to succeed. She planned to 1) work harder than ever, 2) research in great detail and 3) seek advice from business experts. And this is where Ignite entered the arena.
All three of the above factors proved to be relatively straightforward to achieve and beneficial, especially her work with Ignite. Her involvement with Ignite included receiving mentor advice and support and also training pre-start-up, which involved her attending a number of business courses here. In fact, the relationship developed to such a point that Ignite became her first client and remain one still today. Ignite also retained her services to develop a marketing training module for local businesses, another factor in growing her client base as many of those who attend her course go on to become clients.
Sarah said of Ignite: “The consultants at Ignite are realists. They are honest, open and transparent and if they think your business idea will not work, they will tell you. I imagine they have helped thousands of businesses so not only do they have the most amazing set of contacts but they have also probably worked with 99% of industries and trades. Of course, you are at liberty not to take their advice, but I highly recommend you do.”
After dealing with Ignite, her business took off and has gone from strength to strength ever since. Not only has she won those six business awards in her first four years, but she regularly features on regional and national media and presents on BBC Essex where she has featured alongside Lord Alan Sugar on the topic of Entrepreneurship.
Her plan to expand beyond Essex is also becoming a reality as she has recently grown the business to include a group of sarahBee marketing associates. This team brings her business a comprehensive offering so she can now include web design, SEO, social media, graphic design, telemarketing, PR, professional film and photography, advertising and brand management among her portfolio for clients.
So, it reads like she has driven a steady course to success that many hope of when embarking on a new venture. She started off with a useful idea, she decided on a sensible budget, she worked hard, researched every angle and sought all the help she could get from Ignite. From that secure base she has seen some great results. Of course, Sarah is more modest. Her advice to new business owners is that you need focus, passion, skill, luck and vision.
She also recommends that social media is embraced. So far she has received retweets and favourites from Prime Minister David Cameron’s official No.10 account, the Guardian national newspaper and the Department for Business.
But the message she wants most to hear is that entrepreneurs can succeed without investing a huge amount to begin with. You just have to get things right at the beginning and work hard, that way, whatever fate has in store, you are in control and you’ve given yourself the best chance of making it positive.
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Phone: 01371 606111 or 07955 132149