2020 was a challenging year for everyone, the way we delivered our service completely changed, as well as how businesses have had to adapt to the new world we find ourselves in with COVID-19. All of the businesses who received support through our mentoring program demonstrated a real innovation and resilience to make the best of what could be done, and we are very proud of theirs successes, and the commitment of our volunteer business mentors. This is why we wanted to publicly celebrate with them, and recognise their achievements.
The business community of Kent gathered online for the annual Kent Foundation Awards. We were once again overwhelmed by the quality of nominations this year and delighted to make awards to such worthy individuals. The virtual room was buzzing with conversation after the awards ceremony and a great sence of acheivement was felt concidering how difficult 2020 was for so many people and businesses.
If you wasnt able to join us, please watch it here…..Enjoy!
It was a pleasure for everyone there to see the recognition given to both Kent Foundation Members and Volunteers. So much has been achieved in 2020 by the businesses that were nominated, and, through the support and appreciation of their Kent Foundation Business Mentors.
The Awards went to
Spirit of The Kent Foundation – Nominations and Winner
Stephen Wise – Winner
The Big Impact Award – Nominations and Winner
Rebecca Daniel – The Jigsaw Company
Digital Beans- yourlocal.delivery
Katie Hawkins – Winner
Innovation in Business Award – Nominations and Winner
Right now the market is seeing a huge decrease in value with many businesses already going under due to COVID-19. There are many businesses who have concerns as to whether they can keep their staff through no fault of their own, and therefore many employees will have concerns for their jobs, perhaps just hoping it will all blow over and we will get back to where we were before lockdown.
So is now a good time to start a business?
Times are tough for everyone right now without the added pressure of not being able to do our usual daily activities, but this is when entrepreneurs flourish. Having a problem to solve, finding opportunities that might have obstacles right now in front of them, or create opportunities when they are none.
We have seen and supported incredible entrepreneurs that have had to pivot and adapt to the current climate, we’ve also watched people who have been furloughed explore hobbies and turned them into a business.
We saw a young woman who was furloughed by an airline company very early on into lockdown, and with uncertainty if her job would remain, so she began doing something to fill her time. She began baking, she used to do it in her spare time off if she had time off work, she found it a good way to stay busy and also give gifts to loved ones. Once she started sharing photos people wanted to buy them, and just like that she had customers.
This has been common for a lot of young people who have been furloughed and we have been absolutely blown away by their talent. We also saw another young woman who was furloughed by an estate agent and then found a love for making beautiful candles and she has now successfully started her own candle making business.
One of the best things about starting a business in Kent is there is support for you, and we love nothing more than seeing young people’s business thrive and grow. Having a mentor could be one of the most valuable assets in your business. The Kent Foundations Volunteer Business Mentoring Service is something we very proud to of.
This leads us on to tell you how the following businesses that started in the recession between 2008-2010 have gone on to have multi billion pound companies.
Uber – Founded in 2009 Revenue (2018) $11.27 Billion Garrett Camp wanted to find a way to have a personal chauffeur without the high cost, therefore the idea of sharing the cost with others formed Uber. He didn’t require any overheads and worked primarily on the tech side before he launched properly in 2011. Uber now has 22 types of hire service across the world including Helicopter.
Airbnb – Founded in 2008 Revenue (2017) $2.6 Billion Shortly after moving to San Francisco in October 2007, roommates and former schoolmates Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia came up with the idea of putting an air mattress in their living room and turning it into a bed and breakfast. They now offer three services within Airbnb with some properties even offering wedding venues.
Groupon – Founded in 2008 Revenue (2017) $2.84 Billion Founder Andrew Mason wanted a way to connect business and customers on a large scale to offer products and services in a difficult time, it started off as a way of mass marketing for these businesses, and is now a hugely successful company.
Pinterest – Founded in 2010 Revenue (2019) $1 Billion. Entrepreneurs Ben Silbermann, Evan Sharp and Paul Sciarra came together in 2010 to create Pinterest, a website and app that resembles a digital scrapbook. More than 300 million people use the platform every month, according to Pinterest’s About page.
Now whilst these businesses are household names and all billion dollar companies they all have one thing in common, starting a business in a time others wouldn’t. They pushed the fear away and used their skills to adapt and create opportunity. So whilst right now it seems scary to think about starting a business, but if you get it right there is always an opportunity for success.
If you have a bit more time than before? this could be a great time to start planning and putting the groundwork in for a future in business.
If you would like to talk through a business idea or support with something you have just started get in touch using our enquiry page HERE
As part of our series of specialist workshops during lock-down Hope Marshall joined us to talk about SEO to support local businesses improve their digital presence.
No 1 Top Tip…..Name your images. Depending on your website provider this can be done via the alt tag or on your desktop before you upload to your website by renaming the image name. It normally defaults to something like JPEG-0099. This is the bit you need to change.
James Burgess, Kent based business owner of City Health Solutions has produced a free guide to help everyone working from home during this period of lock-down. With many of us all now working from the kitchen table, or a make shift office in the spare room, have we really thought about our health and the impact this way of working could have on us.
JK Online, Clockwork Moggy and Dragon Co-Working, all based in Medway, set up Together Self Isolated Business Networking on Facebook.
In just under three weeks, the community has gathered more than 1,000 followers.
One of those behind the network, Karl Cowell, set up his business JK Online, which offers digital marketing solutions, with best friend Joe Bennett two years ago….. Read more about what they have been doing HERE…..
Let us introduce Jack, he recently shared with The Kent Foundation some really useful information for the Kent business community entitled Coronavirus – Where are we now? So we thought we would share a little more about him, and his business.
Hello, my name is Jack Sales, I am a Chartered Tax Adviser and I am the owner/director of TN Accountancy based in Tunbridge Wells. Outside of work, I am passionate about motorsport and used to race karts and Caterham 7 cars until the end of 2017. I set up TN Accountancy in September 2018, having previously worked at other accountancy firms (including a ‘Big 4’ accountancy practice and another top 10 firm) since 2011.
One of the most frustrating things working elsewhere was being hamstrung by inefficiency; too much time was being spent on administration and red-tape, meaning less time was being spent on providing clients with the service they pay for.
I therefore set up TN Accountancy to be extremely efficient, so that as much time is spent serving clients and providing all important tax advice as possible. Rather than being fixated on annual financial targets (as is so often the case in the industry), the wider picture is considered; I firmly believe that if we do a great job for clients and offer great value as a result, this will benefit our business in the long term.
Biggest success to date
I would have to say that the biggest success to date was making the final in the Tolleys Taxation Awards in 2019, where we were listed as one of the top 5 best new tax practices in the UK.
For me, the first 6-9 months were extremely challenging trying to get clients onboard, which then turned into a cashflow challenge. What I would say off the back of this to anyone looking to set up their own business is to be patient and to budget for a slow start; it took me 3 months to raise my first sales invoice, but now after 18 months, TN Accountancy has over 100 clients and is continuing to grow.
Plans for the future
My plans for the future are simply to grow the business. So far I have gone from working from my mum & dad’s kitchen table to operating out of an office in the High Street in Tunbridge Wells (although now due to Coronavirus I am back on the kitchen table, but not at my parents!).
The next steps will be to build a team of people as the client numbers continue to grow.
Tips for other young business owners
As alluded to above, as a general rule, be patient and allow/budget for a slow start; it takes time to get going.
More specifically to current times with Coronavirus, it is imperative to make sure that you fully understand what government support you might be eligible for in the current climate, as most businesses have been affected by the Coronavirus outbreak in some way.
If you would like to find out a bit more about us, please visit https://tnaccountancy.co.uk/ where you can also find information on the government’s Coronavirus business support.