Are you a value seeker or a bargain hunter?

In this blog, seasoned freelancer and Passionate PA Debbie Frith (pictured) explores why business owners looking for freelance business support need to focus on more than just hourly rate… price is what you pay, value is what you get.

Whether you sell a product or a service, have you ever been in a situation where you’ve been asked to lower your price? Have you ever been told that you’re too expensive? Or been asked for a discount, to do a deal or to give more for less?

I expect that somewhere along the line you have, and I’ll wager that you were pretty cross about it. I imagine that you were told that your product or service was available elsewhere cheaper too.

When price is a driver, value becomes unimportant

Price is simply defined as the amount of money expected, required or given in payment for something.

Whereas value is the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth or usefulness of something.

Focusing on price is a short-term consideration, delivering short term wins. When you’re looking for a longer term and more stable strategy, then focusing on value is the way forward.

In the words of Warren Buffet, “Price is what you pay, value is what you get”. 

When something is offered at a cheaper price to your own product or service, there’s usually a reason why it costs less, reasons such as:

  • Lower quality and standards
  • New to the market
  • Lack of skills or experience
  • Mass produced
  • Lacks longevity
  • Desperation for customers

Those seeking value in their purchase are more likely to be looking for:

  • Unique strengths
  • A personal connection
  • An excellent overall buying experience
  • Values aligned with their own
  • Quality and consistency
  • Trust in a brand or concept

When being cheaper is more expensive

We’ve all done it though, haven’t we. Bought that cheaper version of a product or service whether it be a buying clothes from Primark or using a casual tradesman that’ll fix that leaky pipe for just £10 cash.

What happens?

The clothes don’t last very long, they’re cheap and cheerful yes, but they’re not likely to be your wardrobe staples that you can rely upon, wear after wear, wash after wash. That leaky pipe, may well be fixed for now, but when it springs a major leak, just before you’re about to go away for the weekend, where’s your £10 tradesman now? Disappeared I expect and what will you have to do? Call out a certified professional, Friday evening at what might seem an extortionate rate – oh how you wished you’d called them out in the first place and got the job done right first time.

So why am I talking about leaky pipes and Primark in the realms of freelance business support?

Let me tell you… If your business is as important to you as mine is to me, then you want to do your absolute best for it. If you’re in the market for some freelance business support to help you progress and develop your business, then you need to find someone who perfectly aligns with your own values and who is a good match for your own personality.

Buying this type of service on price is not advisable, it’s much more important to find and identify the right person with the right skill set (here’s a handy blog that will help you do this).

Invest in that person and you are by default investing in your own business (#winning)

That person charges a price which isn’t plucked out of thin air. It’s a price which is derived from experience and skills (though it’s up to you to do your homework on this), it’s a price derived from that person knowing their value and being prepared to stand by it. Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself – isn’t that a great mantra for life and business!

If you’d like to find your perfect match with a Passionate PA, then the best person to talk to right at the start of your journey is Kate Chastey, our Franchisor, she knows each member of our team very well and is a skilled match maker! After a discovery call with Kate, she’ll put you in touch with the person most aligned with your requirements, always based on experience, skill set and personality – in that way delivering the best value for you.

You can find out more about our team of business support professionals by clicking here!


Further blogs from The Passionate PA: 

Getting to know Claire

Claire Bartlett is a font of corporate know-how and experience, known best for her ability to work with directors of large teams looking to improve efficiency and profitability. Here she shares a typical day in her world.

Claire joined The Passionate PA in January 2018 after a high-flying career with an investment bank. She has proven herself to be an exceptional strategic partner with commercial focus; Business Development and Strategy are her forte. Meticulously organised and detail-orientated in everything (yes, everything!), Claire is known for her infectious laugh and can-do attitude.

Getting to know Claire

Alarm goes off at:
6.30am

Start the day with:
Coffee and checking Rightmove to give me a daily fix for one of my life’s passions – property! Then it’s reviewing the calendar for the day ahead. I always document the top three things that I need to achieve that day and try to get the most challenging one completed first. This gives me a sense of achievement and motivates me for the day ahead.

Where do you do most of your work?
Pre-Covid, it was an 80/20 split with the majority of my time spent face to face with my clients. Currently, its about 50/50 but I’m working up to getting out there more as this is when I can really get under the skin of my clients’ businesses and identify opportunities for improvement.

What sectors do your clients operate within?
Currently my clients are in management training and I also work with a fast-growing CEO and Managing Director level peer networking group.

Best part of your work:
Seeing the relief on my clients’ faces when I start taking the pressure off and organising projects and tasks for them. I love taking the lead when clients just don’t have the time. I also thoroughly enjoy bringing lessons from my prior corporate experience to the table and offering solutions they may not have considered before. Also, not forgetting the amazing feeling of being my own boss, deciding on the clients I work with and when and, also having that flexibility when I need it the most.

Worst part of your work: 
Finding a happy balance between being the greatest businesswoman I can be and the greatest mum too. I find it so hard to down tools at times, but it is so important to look after yourself to ensure you are the very best you can be. Champagne Friday’s help a lot!

Clients you add most value to:
Two of my current clients are looking to grow their business rapidly over the next few years and I am helping them identify and implement strategic initiatives to move them towards achieving their goals. This is the work that I really love and being part of their Senior Management Teams allows me to challenge ideas together with suggesting different approaches at times. Taking the lead with some of these initiatives greatly reduces the strain on my clients, enabling them to focus on what they are brilliant at knowing that there is a trusted pair of hands helping them along the way.

After work you’ll be:
Since Covid, I’ve taken a hard look at how I spend my personal time. I love nothing more than a walk on the beach with my family – you’ll often find us at Hengistbury Head enjoying pizza on the beach. I love to read, cook and have dinner with friends. Life is so precious, and I love spending time with people that inspire me and lift me up.

Why a franchise with The Passionate PA and not go it alone?
I didn’t want to go out and do this on my own as I love the support of Kate and her guidance and understanding of the role. The other Passionate PAs are invaluable not only in terms of support but in our shared knowledge and experience! I did not appreciate just how well-known our brand was until recently, this has opened so many doors which, had I gone it alone, would not have presented themselves.

What did you do before:
18 years in various management roles at JPMorgan including a four-year stint in Luxembourg. Working on major clients, I was a key player in retaining and turning client relationships around. Management experience, risk and compliance management… big job, fun at the time. But this is rewarding on a very different level.

Favourite drink:
Champagne!

Favourite location for a business meeting:
I really enjoy going to clients’ houses or offices as I believe this enables me to really get to know them and provides valuable insight into their lives. We can tell so much by what’s on someone’s desk or dining table! Otherwise, it has to be The Olive Branch in Wimborne or anywhere with a good, comfy sofa and a delicious lunch.

What are you reading?
“Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway” by Susan Jeffers.

Your guilty pleasure:
A monthly massage with the amazing Fran. Check her out on Instagram!

Favourite hobby/past time:
My new passion is on the water, on a gorgeous boat with a glass of bubbles. Failing that, a good walk at the beach or in the New Forest with my husband and boys.

Most inspirational/influential person in your career:
My Dad. One of the strongest, most intelligent, hardworking and honest businessmen I know. He built a successful company and survived a recession when most local building firms did not. He taught me integrity and respect, and to always go to bed with a clear conscience.

Favourite animal and why:
My cats. Love their independence and calming presence.

Greatest contact/supplier that deserves a plug:
Heidi Roper, View HR. Heidi is not only incredibly knowledgeable and amazing at what she does, but she is so much fun to work with and gets amazing results with the clients that she works with. She has true passion, and it shows.

Your business plan (in one sentence!) for the coming year:
To build strong, trusting, local relationships to ensure that I am the Executive PA of choice for Ringwood and the surrounding area.

You can find out more about Claire by clicking here! Or, pop her an email and make a date to get together for coffee (or champagne?).


Further blogs from The Passionate PA: 

EPAA Member Interview with Kate

Last week, our director and franchisor, Kate Chastey was delighted to join EPAA’s CEO Victoria Wratten, as she continued to interview members and find out how they came into the PA profession.

In this engaging hour-long interview, Victoria asked Kate about her career journey and for her top tips for anyone looking to have a career in executive and business support – particularly freelance.

Kate found her love for being a PA at just 16. She did a work experience shadowing Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen’s PA and found the variety and scope so interesting. After doing her degree and an early career in the advertising industry, Kate met a lady that changed the course of her life forever. Sarah Howells run a small business called The Passionate PA and Kate, excited by what the freelance word might have to offer, joined Sarah in February 2010.

Very soon after however, Kate found herself at the helm of the business – alone and way out of her comfort zone. She spent four years learning how to be a successful freelance PA and building the business into a successful brand in its own right. In the last decade she has worked alongside all sorts of business owners from tech start-ups to global business and the thrill of business growth, even today, is what gets her up in the morning.

In 2015 Kate decided she wanted to help other talented, determined and positive individuals build their own successful careers as freelance PAs and so franchised the business.

Her role now is to lead The Passionate PA, helping her small but incredible team of franchisees in their work with entrepreneurs. It’s a varied role, one where Kate gets to fulfil her passion for business, people, creativity and entrepreneurship in equal measure.

Kate’s dedicated to helping others understand the freelance PA role in today’s business world and loves nothing more than assisting others on their journey to a fulfilled and happy career.

About EPAA

Founded in 2016 to bring together a range of business support professionals and support them through a period of industry upheaval and transition, EPAA has now become the go-to organisation for EA/PA professionals in a diverse range of roles, all of whom provide invaluable support essential to the day-to-day running of any and every successful business.

The work of EPAA isn’t just for our members, but for the EA/PA professional community as a whole. EPAA strive to establish and maintain the sustainability and longevity of the profession in UK and international business and continue to help build a diverse and technologically proficient workforce that has the capacity to endure these turbulent times for the EA/PA profession.

Kate has been a Fellow Member since April 2020.

Learn more about the Association and their work here.

 


Further blogs from The Passionate PA: 

Getting to know Tanya

Tanya Woodland is such a friendly and resourceful person with exceptional experience as Head of Operations at national charities. Grab a coffee and take a couple of moments to get to know Plymouth’s Passionate PA…

Tanya joined us in May 2021 after spending two decades working in the charity sector. Tanya’s aim is to create a fulfilling business for herself using the array of skills and experience she has built up over the years. She understands business and the mindset it takes to achieve incredible things, despite all the challenges.

Getting to know Tanya

Alarm goes off at:
I set one as a safety net only at 7.30am but, I do not need one. We have a young puppy who does the job by 7am without fail!

Start the day with:
3 cups of tea.

Where do you do most of your work?
I am very cognisant that every clients’ business is different, so I am happy to work flexibly either from my home office or any other location. As long as there is tea and wifi, we are go!

What sectors do your clients operate within?
My clients are currently in the charity consultancy arena but I have an operations and retail sector background too. I am also experienced in people management and customer service so my skill set is hugely transferable – I am open to working with any sector if a client and I are a great match for each other. When you know, you know 🙂

Best part of your work:
Working with people who have the freedom to make decisions without any red tape – just a little different from my years with big charities.

Worst part of your work: 
Oh I don’t know. I’m finding working freelance is a joy, if I am not happy at work then I have the autonomy to change things. That is very liberating.

Clients you add most value to:
Entrepreneurs and business owners who need someone to partner with them on business development, ops reviews and event management. I’d love to offer my skills to small or start up charities and charity consultants. And property developers too – I have oodles to offer them!

After work you’ll be:
Walking my fur family on a local beach or on Plymouth Hoe.

Why a franchise with The Passionate PA and not go it alone?
It is an opportunity that allows me to realise my ambition to be self-employed, but as part of a trusted and recognised brand. There is tremendous support and mentoring from the outset and masses of camaraderie across the team. The onboarding process is thorough, the training is extremely comprehensive with an excellent e-learning platform. KateKate Chastey is literally an amazing franchisor; her passion is infectious and her desire for all her team to be a huge success is tangible from the minute you meet her… she had me at ‘hello’.

What did you do before:
I started my career in high street retail, progressing to regional management roles at Cancer Research UK and then into a Head of Operations role at a national animal welfare charity where I was part of the senior leadership team. It was a very rewarding and successful career, but now is the time to create something very different for myself.

Favourite drink:
A lovely glass of red wine, Rioja to be precise!

Favourite location for a business meeting:
Anywhere that overlooks the sea.

What are you reading?
I have about three books on the go, they range from easy readers based on falling in love in Cornwall to reclaiming your true self and finding inner peace.

Your guilty pleasure:
Celebrity gossip.

Favourite hobby/past time:
Live music – give me a festival, friends and a bottle of Rioja and I am one happy lady!

Most inspirational/influential person in your career:
I have never forgotten my very first boss, Mike Max, a regional store manager for BHS Retail. He was extremely influential in shaping my career. He was incredibly open minded and allowed me to work around having a young child which I was incredibly grateful for as a single mother.

Favourite animal and why:
I love all animals, I grew up with horses, cats and dogs around me. I would have to settle on dogs if I had to choose a favourite, they have such beautiful souls. We share our lives with two fabulous doggies – Indie and Barney.

Greatest contact/supplier that deserves a plug:
Beckie Denny at The Charity Spark, my very first client as a Passionate PA. She has been an absolute joy and totally understands the concept of having a business development partner.

Your business plan for the coming year:
I launched my business in June 2021 so my business plan for the coming year is to balance client work with continual investment in my own business development which is vital for the future sustainability of my freelance business.

You can find out more about Tanya by clicking here! Or, give her a call – she does love a natter!


Further blogs from The Passionate PA: 

How to find the right business support for you

Freelancers, or business support professionals, can be the solution to many modern business problems. There is no shortage of skills and experience available to businesses large and small, through the army of freelancers available in the UK and further afield.

However, a question we hear so often is “how do I find the right business support for me?”

The blog below has been created to give you an insight into finding the right solution for your needs. However, if you’d prefer to listen to a podcast, our director Kate Chastey was recently interviewed by Karen Murray and they discussed all of the below, and more!

TAKE ME TO THE PODCAST (APPLE)

Or to Karen Murray’s website to listen there

 

Ok, on to the blog…

First things first

As the business owner, you need to determine what ‘right’ looks like to you.

What problem do you need to solve?
Be clear on the challenge you are facing and your desired solution. Is this challenge the result of an immediate or ongoing resource shortage? What skills and expertise are required?

How do you want your freelancer to work/deliver services?
Are you needing to physically meet with your freelancer or will briefing/communication all be done via technology? If you are looking for a long-term business relationship, consider how you want this to take shape.

When do you need work completed?
What are your timescales/deadlines and what working routines are you hoping for?

Who is the person you are looking for?
Or, more to the point, what characteristics and personality traits matter to you?

Why is a freelancer the best option?
Are you looking for flexibility or a skill you don’t have in your team?

With all that clear in your mind, finish this sentence; the perfect scenario is…

Check this is realistic by discussing it with trusted business colleagues or a seasoned freelancer (we are always happy to talk 😊).

 

Then comes the research

The next step is to start looking for the freelancer you need. The best places to do this are:

  • Your personal business network – ask for recommendations and referrals from people that know you best
  • Social media (particularly LinkedIn if you are keen to find a professional)
  • Internet search using key words (skills and location)
  • Then there are, of course, some big listing websites that will introduce clients to freelancers. These have their plusses and their minuses – but that’s probably a different blog altogether!
     

7 brilliant questions to ask your potential freelancer

So, after you have made it clear what you’re looking for – preferably by email so the potential freelancer has time to digest and you both save 15 mins on the next step… a Zoom call – then, it’s time to really get to know each other.

Here are 7 questions, with talking points, that will sort the wheat from the chaff. Remember, the beautiful, valuable, amazing thing about freelancers is that each one is unique. It’s hard to find the perfect fit but, once you do, that’ll be partnership power like you’ve never known before.

1. Tell me about your background and your skills and experience as a freelancer

  • Ask how long they have been freelancing – just starting out or seasoned pro
  • Discuss why they choose to freelance
  • Talk about what skills and experience they have to share

2. How could you add tangible value to my business?

  • Discuss what they know that you don’t
  • Ask what efficiencies they could introduce
  • Talk about the software/tools they are confident with
  • Ask whether they are an ideas person or a completion expert – or both!
  • Really delve into whether they understand your target market and sector

3. What does a successful working relationship look like to you?

  • Investigate what kind of personalities they like working with
  • Ask for clarity on what they need from you to get started, and then what they need from you to achieve the results you have set out
  • Discuss what sort of work/responsibilities you can outsource to them, further than the initial brief
  • Also clarify whether they will be doing all the work themselves or if they outsource/have employees

4. How would we communicate during our project/work/relationship?

  • Ask what their preferred communication channel is
  • Talk about how they manage workflow and deadlines
  • Understand their boundaries – when are they contactable (business hours/working days etc)
  • Discuss whether they work virtually or are they happy to meet in person

5. Tell me about your clients…

  • Who is their favourite client right now and why?
  • Talk about who their ideal client is, and is that you
  • Ask for the back story on a testimonial you have found – talk about tangible value and timescales
  • Discuss how they monitor results and client happiness
  • Ask how many clients they work with at any one time and how this looks in terms of weekly/monthly contact
  • Ask how close they are to capacity and whether there really is space for you
  • Discuss whether it is possible to speak with a current long-standing client

6. Tell me about a business challenge you’ve had, and how you overcame it?

  • Ask them to tell you about a time when they have missed a deadline or underdelivered to a client’s expectations
  • Discuss what their clients like most/least about working with them
  • Ask whether a client has ever ended a relationship with them abruptly – if so, why
  • Ask whether they have a contingency plan for emergencies (power cuts, equipment disasters, illness etc)
  • Delve into their business ethos – who supports them in their business development and growth

7. Tell me about your contractual terms, GDPR compliance, fee structure etc.

  • Understand the hourly/project rate and how this is tracked, plus, other than that are there any additional charges
  • Discuss contract terms, notice periods, service level agreements, invoicing procedure etc
  • Talk about how they will they keep your business information secure and confidential, whether they are registered with the ICO and their understanding of GDPR
  • Are they insured, registered with HMRC and fully aware of IR35 legislation

Seven key questions to really get beyond the fluff and into the value. Freelancers can add so much to your business and/or team but, as you can see, it’s not always easy. The perfect freelancer for you is likely to be someone who will help you create the momentum and results you need to thrive. Finding them can be tricky but it is worth putting in the time so that the relationship gets off to a flying start and your business feels the benefits quickly.

Happy searching!

You can find out more about our team of business support professionals by clicking here!


Further blogs from The Passionate PA: 

Kate on the Evolve to Succeed Podcast

Listen on Spotify https://spoti.fi/3beyrOZ

Listen on Apple Podcasts https://apple.co/3vTA6Bh

Listen on Google https://bit.ly/3f5ER41

For the first time ever, our Director and Franchisor has spoken publicly about how she came to take over The Passionate PA at just 26, and the effects that choice has had on her as a person.

“Starting a business is never easy, but doing so at just 26 with the weight of the world on my shoulders was probably one of the hardest challenges of my life. It’s a choice that has made me ultimately very happy, but the initial years were a rollercoaster of emotions, challenges, excitement and continuous feelings of not being ‘enough’.”

Kate Chastey was delighted to be asked to talk to Warren Munson, long-time supporter of The Passionate PA. The team at the Evolve to Succeed Podcast did a superb job of creating the finished recording.

Kate said “this was a wonderful opportunity to share my business story and talk so openly with Warren about the things I hold so dear. Creating a life I don’t need a holiday from is 100% my personal definition of success and it was great to discuss that with Warren.”

In this episode, Kate and Warren also talk about:

  • How Kate’s early work experience with an entrepreneurial celebrity shaped her belief in what a PA could be and what she now feels a modern PA should be for entrepreneurs
  • How her early career in advertising agencies helped her learn so much about people, leadership and performance – and gave her the grounding for the leader she is today
  • Kate’s experience of Imposter Syndrome when she took over the business and found herself with very big shoes to fill
  • Our route into franchising with Kate’s ‘build it as we go’ approach and her fierce commitment to the people that choose to partner with her as Passionate PAs
  • How Kate’s father influenced her view of corporate life and financial security, and to this day still thinks she should get a ‘proper job’
  • And, of course, how all this has effected Kate’s personal life and given her a truly unique mantra to live by… “Create a life you don’t need a holiday from.”

“My definition of success is being able to enjoy every single day whilst adding real value to the people around me. It’s not about money. Success, to me, is about fulfilment – and understanding that it is all about NOW rather than one day in the future.”

Happy listening.

 


Further blogs from The Passionate PA: 

When is it time to outsource?

This is such a powerful question for solopreneurs, SMEs and all ambitious businesses wanting to grow at pace. In this blog, our director (and seasoned freelancer) Kate Chastey, reveals how you will know when the time is right to start outsourcing.  

“If only I had more time, I’d be able to do everything myself”.

If you’ve said this sentence recently, chances are you are NOT ready to outsource. Let me explain; the real value with outsourcing comes from enlisting the help of people that can actually do things better than you – it’s a mindset shift. Only when you really grasp this will outsourcing be a decision you thank yourself for.

Sure, there are many tasks you can outsource that, on the surface, seem likely to save you time (email management or appointment setting being just two examples) but, I encourage all business owners, and especially Passionate PA clients, to think beyond simply time saving and onto where the real value will come.

A valuable outsource solution is one that adds something to your business that you cannot. This might be as simple as efficiency, but it might also be special expertise, knowledge, customer insight and so on. Ultimately, any outsourcing solution should not be seen as simply a cost to your business, but as an asset as it can actually improve your bottom line.

So, how will you know if outsourcing will add real value to your business now?

If you answer YES to any of these questions, now is the time to start outsourcing.

Has overwhelmed and/or overworked become the norm?

  • Do you or your team talk frequently about how busy you are, how overwhelming the to do list is and how you just wish there were more hours in the day?
  • Does this mean that you or your people are not focusing on the elements of business that only they can do?
  • Are errors being made or is customer service falling short?
  • Are you missing opportunities to upsell or drive profitable customer engagement?
  • Is there an over-reliance on one person who is performing most functions or tasks within the business?
  • Are you missing deadlines (even self-imposed ones)?

Are there knowledge and experience gaps in your business?

  • Are there tasks or responsibilities being managed by those with inadequate skill and experience?
  • Do certain tasks take far too long?
  • Are you missing opportunities to automate functions?
  • Is there a lack of fresh ideas and perspective?
  • Do you often have internal projects that overrun or get put on the backburner as there just isn’t the time to complete them?

Is your business in need of a flexible growth strategy?

  • Is your business ready for growth but you are not ready for the commitment of an employed team?
  • Or, do you personally not want to become an employer but still want to grow your business?
  • Have you tried recruiting but you just can’t find the right skill, expertise or personality?
  • Are you craving a consistent partnership that can grow with your business, something flexible rather than over-reliant on you?
  • Do you know there are more opportunities to be had for your business, if only you had the right support around you?

If you answered YES to any of these, it’s time to step back from the frontline and invest just a few hours in finding, speaking with and initiating a working relationship with an outsource service provider.

The most incredible thing about outsourcing is that it gives you power. It allows you to create the time and space needed so you can concentrate on the things you got into business for… the things that are uniquely you and the things you love.

Everything else can (and should!) be outsourced. Yes, everything.

If you would like to hear more from Kate about preparing to outsource, listen to The Smart Business Podcast, episode 49, where Karen Murray interviews Kate to explore all things outsourcing.  

In our next blog, I’ll share with you how to go about finding the right solution for you, and how to start the outsourcing partnership. If however, you are ready to discover what you personally could outsource, we have a super tool to help you decide what you can delegate, and when. Just pop your details below and we’ll send it straight to you. 

 

Request your free Delegation Tool today to help you prepare to outsource. 

The role of proactive HR in your growing business

Emily Fuller (pictured above) is our Passionate PA based in Weymouth and West Dorset. She is exceptionally qualified in HR with a decade of experience working in successful large businesses. She is now using her skills and knowledge to help her clients revolutionise their businesses by providing the perfect mix of bespoke business support services and HR guidance. 

In today’s world, there has never been a better time for growing entrepreneurial businesses to move from reactive to proactive HR approaches.  You may well be thinking that with only a small number of employees, proactive HR (or indeed any professional HR consultancy) is just for the ‘big boys’ – but you’d be wrong. This is exactly the reason why Emily is passionate about helping local entrepreneurs get the right support, at the right time.

Here’s why Emily thinks it should matter to you.

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, accounting for 99.9% of the business population. But, I truly believe they are missing out on some huge potential gains by not placing the focus on their people as their biggest asset, and proactively managing it. It is SMEs that will pull the economy back to its feet in the aftermath of the pandemic, but in order to do this there really needs to be a step change in how they utilise HR practices and procedures in order to keep their people engaged, thriving and committed to following the journey of the business all the way through the turbulent times ahead.

According to the Federation of Small Businesses, SMEs make up around 60% of employment within the UK. All too often though, small and medium sized businesses tend to only see a need for professional HR support when things have gone wrong and issues arise such as the need for a disciplinary or redundancy programme.

With SMEs employing more than half of the workforce, why is it generally regarded that it is only the ‘big employers’ that can use proactive HR for their own advantage? Time and time again, SMEs allow themselves to fall into the endless issues associated with reactive HR such as poor hiring choices, disengaged employees and reduced employee productivity; all of which are often not dealt with for months, or even years, and as a result have a massive negative impact on the bottom line, efficiency and overall productivity of the company.

My clients don’t fall into this trap.

Why be Proactive?

Proactive HR has been proven to add value through improving the bottom line as it strategically aligns the objectives and vision of the business with that of its employees. Proactive HR involves:

  • Employee engagement
  • Employee wellbeing
  • Talent pool development
  • Succession planning
  • Personnel management
  • And much more

For example, mental health issues cost businesses on average £1,300 per employee, per year, in the UK. In reality, in small teams of fast growing businesses, this cost is much greater when it is one of your employees that is suffering with mental health issues. Investing in yourself (or your managers) so you can identify and support mental health issues and put in place flexibility and support mechanisms for your employees can help you to significantly reduce the impact. Solutions and approaches to mental health are equally as applicable and effective for SMEs as they are for large employers, and the costs don’t have to be a barrier. This sort of support can be provided by me for significantly less than £1,300 per employee per year!

SMEs that invest in proactive HR stand to gain in a multitude of areas…

Employee Engagement & Wellbeing:

  • Reduced employee turnover
  • Reduced recruitment and onboarding costs (on average, it costs six – nine months of an employee’s salary to find their replacement)
  • Reduced stress on other employees ‘filling the gap’
  • Engaged employees
  • Increased productivity and morale
  • Improved employee satisfaction with bigger commitment and loyalty to the business
  • Becoming an employer of choice and building a strong recruitment brand
  • Reduced absenteeism and presenteeism
  • Reduced costs and time spent on firefighting or reactive HR

Talent Planning and Personnel Management:

  • Reduced cost and time to hire new employees
  • Proactive use of government initiatives such as the apprenticeship levy
  • Hiring the right people first time though a structured process that suits your business
  • Reduced indirect costs of the wrong hire (absence and performance issues)
  • Reduced opportunities for grievances; in my experience, 9 out of 10 disciplinaries and grievances could be resolved and avoided if dealt with proactively at the outset thus saving time, costs, staff morale and productivity

Succession Planning:

  • Planning for the future workforce, not only replacing those that leave but also planning for the skills that are going to be needed in the medium to long-term; this could be the difference between the business being a market leader or failing in the future
  • Creating and nurturing the next generation of management!

How do you put this into practice? 

I understand this can feel overwhelming but, the fact you are reading this says you care deeply about your people – and that’s a superb place to start.

Working towards making proactive HR a key element of your business will naturally create a culture synonymous with best practice. In turn, this will realise the benefits listed above, and more! Growing entrepreneurial businesses often do not have the capacity to employ internal HR support but that’s where outsourced specialists like myself add most value. Plus, the additional positive of engaging me as a Passionate PA is that I offer a truly unique package of services, not just focused on HR but also offering more general Business Support to help you grow at pace. I simply love rolling up my sleeves and getting stuck in! 

I have created a flexible set of Business Support and HR packages to suit entrepreneurial businesses at each stage of growth. If you would like a free 1 hour discovery call to discuss how a partnership with me could transform your business, please email me. I’d love to talk.

Emily Fuller MCIPD
T: 07387 989 692
E: emily@thepassionatepa.co.uk
Let’s connect on LinkedIn

Sources – Government Website and Centre For Mental Health.


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