Welcome to Saturday Business chat.Today’s interviewee is Sarah Whitelock from Green Apple Communications, a very new company set up just a few months ago. I met Sarah at one of the Social Media Cafes, on a very rainy day in April, and was interested to hear about how she works with rural businesses, which have their own specific problems (broadband access being a major one) and are a great niche to get into, given that Sarah has specific experience in this area.
Sarah’s experiencing the “culture shock” of moving from working for large organisations to working for herself,so it’s definitely a good move on her part to engage in networking with other small business owners. People like to share their experiences and advice, as we’ve learned from nearly a year of these Small Business Chat interviews, and the small business community will be a great resource for Sarah as she grows her business.
What’s your business called? When did you set it up?
Green Apple Communications; I set it up in March 2012. I offer PR advice and media training to rural businesses and organisations.
What made you decide to set up your own business?
I spent six years with the National Farmers Union as their Head of Communications, before that I worked in Government communications and prior to that I worked in BBC TV and radio. I loved what I was doing but wanted more flexibility and control over my life.
What made you decide to go into this particular business area?
I wanted to keep up my links with farming and the countryside and I noticed that there are very few PR agencies that really understand the issues that rural businesses face. My history with the NFU means that I can hit the ground running when I am approached for advice on complex PR issues.
Had you run your own business before?
No! And after 30 years of working in big organisations it’s quite a culture shock.
How did you do it? Did you launch full-time, start off with a part-time or full-time job to keep you going … ?
I had been considering the possibility for a while so when the opportunity came up I went for it full time.
What do you wish someone had told you before you started?
That there would be good days and bad days but that the excitement of managing your own destiny is worth it.
What would you go back and tell your newly entrepreneurial self?
Not to hesitate: some risks are worth taking.
What do you wish you’d done differently?
I wish I had made my website more flexible.
What are you glad you did?
Networked, talked to other people. The support of others is important.
What’s your top business tip?
You are the master of your own destiny – make the most of it.
How has it gone since you started? Have you grown, diversified or stayed the same?
I have only been doing this a few months so I have stayed much the same. I can see a time when I will need to take on support staff.
Where do you see yourself and your business in a year’s time?
I hope to build up long-term relationships with clients that come back to me on a regular basis.
I always find the very new business ventures I come across so exciting! Where will they be in a year’s time? My business certainly changed beyond recognition in the first year I really concentrated on it. I’ll be very interested to see how Sarah’s doing – and I bet she’ll either have those support staff in place or be actively recruiting for them!
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