Over Christmas I gave some serious thought to the business. 2013 is going to be a busy year personally for Steve and I, and so I've pondered pressing 'pause' as much as how we can develop Treacletiger in 2013. Do we focus on our 'day jobs', or do we work our socks off to grow our small but treasured client base? Do we place the business or the celebratory champagne on ice?
As ever, Steve asked the fateful question that's led us into so many challenges: "How hard can it be?" And so here I am setting out a plan of action for how to grow this baby in the coming year.
It's important we do this so we a) continue to challenge ourselves, and b) reward the faith placed in us by our mentor, family, friends and supporters. In the time I've had to think on things, I've taken stock of what makes us worth getting to know, and to consider what skills we have that go beyond what 'yer average HR company' has to offer. (And don't forget HR is just one thing we do. There are others.)
So, me first.
Before I moved into HR, my background was in customer services, including complex case resolution, work in call centres and in-person support for clients. This also involved addressing issues within teams (hence the eventual gravitation into HR and Chartered MCIPD status, something that I work hard to live up to every day.) Without sounding blasé, I've seen a lot of things and am fairly unshockable. I have a strong awareness of what people can do to either help or hinder. I tend to be able to get a good feel for what makes people 'tick' fairly quickly. I didn't just learn about personalities through study, but by going out of my way to meet people and being just as delighted, amazed, frustrated, enthralled and disappointed by them as they were by me, no doubt.
One thing I've discovered over the years is that I do like to celebrate achievement and hard work. I like people and businesses to be recognised not just for the quality of what they do, but how they do it. That's how I got into working with businesses to secure them industry accreditations and awards, recognition and attention. The 'trophy room' at Bastows is looking pretty impressive thanks to their hard work, dedication and me helping draw all the threads together to develop new intiatives and ideas that have seen them go from strength to strength. I am impossibly proud of their commitment to stand out in the construction sector and my work with them.
I've worked in sales. I'm not good at it. I prefer to listen to others and then see if what I know or do can help rather than 'pitch' to them. As a result, I miss chances to sell them something. I like to problem-solve. I like to listen. I like people. I love the power of communication. This is what led to me become an accredited mediator.
So that's me, a people-focused person and a terrible salesperson- but by jingo, if you hire me, I will work my rear off to make you magnificent.
Steve has an entirely different set of skills that appeal to another set of clientele. His talents work with, interact with and compliment what I do. That's why we think this business is a goer.
His experience is a mixture of twelve years in a high-pressure sales environment, specifically the insurance market, with eleven years' work for Royal Mail in both logistics and health & safety while he studied for a BA Hons degree in Health & Social Care. He's continued his studies in that time picking up a qualification in teaching adults (PTLLS), an IOSH Occupational Health & Safety qualification and has his NEBOSH National Certificate pending. (He's not one to let the grass grow, our Stevie.)
He too likes to problem-solve, finding the simplest, most cost-effective solution to a sticking point and ensuring it's tested by those most affected. He likes to use visuals, telling stories and using real-life experiences to foster understanding and co-operation.
If he has one fault (and please remember he's my partner in life as well as business, so I may be either too kind or too harsh, depending on your point of view) it's that he loves information. He will soak it up like a sponge, whether it's got immediate value or not. He retains data. He has a memory an elephant would envy.
This means that me winning an argument with him is nigh on impossible. Clients however only gain from this.
So between clients gaining and becoming magnificent, that's why we're moving on in 2013 to grow and develop Treacletiger and establish more services, more skills and a broader client base than in 2012. First off, I need to get past my salesphobia. Steve will have his hands full helping me do so!
One thing for you to do. If you know any businesses we should chat to, give us a heads up would you? Thanks!