Supporting a Skipton-based media guru turn personal branding into a corporate success
It’s long been true that ‘people buy people’ and in a business world where more and more relationships are online, the need to help people understand what they’ll get when they buy into you is growing. But having and promoting a ‘personal brand’ isn’t common practice in the UK, so in 2008 Skipton entrepreneur Jennifer Holloway founded Spark to help British business people tap into what is arguably their strongest marketing tool. Using her background in PR and her training as an executive coach, Jennifer helps clients focus on who they are and what they have to offer and teaches them how to get that message across.
With personal branding largely unknown in the UK, Spark’s biggest hurdle was the need to promote the concept as much as the service. Although Jennifer’s marketing background helped, as a new entrepreneur she found herself overwhelmed with possibilities, opportunities and ideas. As a result, she took a scatter-gun approach to gaining clients.
With the help of a SREG mentor, Jennifer created a new business strategy, refining a list to five defined target groups that stood the best chance of getting results. Having to report back to the mentor once a month on tasks done and progress achieved helped keep her focused and new clients followed.
An unexpected bonus was learning to reflect on positive actions and consequences rather than always focusing on the next hurdle. This boosted Jennifer’s business confidence creating a virtuous circle.
Spark now has both personal and corporate clients all over the UK. The turnaround in Spark’s profits has been so strong (with the most recent year’s turnover four times what it was when she started working with a mentor) Jennifer has reduced her mentor meetings from monthly to quarterly. The primary output is still setting clear lines of sight for any marketing and sales efforts, though the time spent acknowledging the milestones achieved on the way remains a high point of the sessions.
Even the most focused person starting a business can find themselves overwhelmed by the enormity of what they have to do. Having a mentor keeps you on the straight and narrow and, if you’re lucky enough to have one like mine, also acts as your personal cheerleader, buoying your spirits when the going gets tough.
Jennifer Holloway, Founder, Spark Ltd