Three of Teesside’s brightest young entrepreneurs have passed on their tips to others who are looking to build their own business, with one saying “If you have a passion then go for it.”
Speaking to Tees Business Leaders Online, 32-year-old Glenn Bartlett, managing director of Middlesbrough-based Close Protection Security, was joined by Abigail Fletcher, 31, owner of Eleventh Hour Beauty, and 34-year-old Peter Turner, managing director of Middlesbrough interior designers Cocoon and Bauer.
There surely hasn’t been a more challenging time to be a business leader, especially for the likes of Abigail who had literally just launched her product – a website and app designed to connect people who are looking for a hair or beauty appointments with an available salon, mobile or home-based personal technician.
“Coronavirus came along just as we launched the website,” says Abigail. “It was a shock at first, but I can look on it now as a positive thing because I’ve done things I wouldn’t have done if lockdown hadn’t happened.
“I was going to grow the company relatively slowly, targeting city by city, but now we have some big names behind us, we’ve got into the likes of OK! and Closer magazines, and that has sent us national really quickly.”
The Covid impact of people spending more time at home with more disposable income was also a blessing for Cocoon and Bauer.
“We’ve been fortunate that we’ve continued to be really busy,” admits Peter. “While the commercial side dropped off a bit, that was replaced with residential – people with more time at home thinking that now is the time to decorate the whole house, or just a room or two.
“It was hard working remotely but we ploughed on and it’s a lot easier now we are all back in the shop.”
For this week's Tees Business Leaders Online Q&A Live, we're delighted to be joined by three young business leaders – Peter Turner from Cocoon & Bauer, Abigail Fletcher from Eleventh Hour Beauty and Glenn Bartlett from Close Protection Security.
Posted by Tees Business on Tuesday, 4 August 2020
Protecting empty work spaces while their owners were at home also played into the hands of Close Protection Security. “I did think ‘Oh my God, what will happen?’” admits Glenn. “But within ten minutes I’d had a call from Middlesbrough FC wanting 24-hour lockdown security at the training ground.”
For a huge Boro fan, a highlight of his business life so far is being on the hallowed Riverside turf. “I was a season ticket holder and now I stand in the tunnel and travel with the first team – the first time I did that I admit had a bit of a moment,” laughs Glenn.
For Abi, it’s keeping bums on seats in salons up and down the country that gives her satisfaction. “I have a platform that can keep the high street and small businesses ticking over. It’s a great feeling and gets me out of bed raring to go every morning,” she says.
Despite the wonderful feeling of being your own boss, starting a company is hard and can be lonely – especially in these ‘new normal’ times, not that Abigail, Pete or Glenn would have it any other way. They do have some words of wisdom for other would-be business owners, however.
“Know what you want to deliver and how to organise people within the business who can help you deliver it,” says Peter. “Figure out who they are in terms of personality and where best to place them – giving people the right roles is key.”
Abigail adds: “If you have passion, then go for it. If you’re half-hearted, don’t bother. Then do your research, do your numbers and see if things stack up.
“If they do then find the right people to develop the project. I went to the Prince’s Trust and they gave me a mentor. I can meet with him every month. He helps keep me on track. It’s great to have someone to bounce ideas off, who can say ‘Have you thought about this or that?’”
Glenn concludes: “If you know your product and you have the confidence and the dreams then just go for it!”.
• Tees Business Leaders is run by Tees Business in association Close Protection Security, Middlesbrough-based specialists in all areas of security including close protection, manned guard, security drivers and dog handlers. Clients include Middlesbrough Football Club, Teesside International Airport, AV Dawson, Cleveland Fire Brigade, Scott Bros and Rockliffe Hall Hotel.