Our Community Manager, Celia Newlands, brings a wide variety of skills to the business.
“I run the Membership programmes, and as such, I’m always looking for new ways to help small businesses and sole traders within the community. As a natural part of the role of Community Manager, I’m often in a position to connect people who may be able to collaborate together in order to resolve both their problems, and as a result, grow both businesses. Over time, people have often joked about me being a ‘business dating service’ (I really hated that one!) and a ‘small business surgery‘. The second nickname has kind of stuck and is now an integral part of our Membership offering.”
“I am meeting people at all different stages of running a business – from developing a great idea for a business, right through to struggling to grow past a plateau.
In the midst of working ‘inside’ the business every day, they often can’t see the proverbial ‘wood for the trees’, and having worked in change management, I am always looking in from the outside, which often makes it easier to see how simple tweaks could really improve things. And I don’t shy away from the hard questions – if I need you to see that your business will only grow if you stop micro-managing everyone, I will (gently) tell you! 😉”
“Some people might need to find Marketing support (and there are SO many different areas of speciality in that field), others a great Graphic Designer to help them build or create brand consistency. Maybe the reason the business isn’t growing is that they are undervaluing themselves and not charging enough, or maybe they have lost their passion in amongst the business development, and the numbers that don’t make sense, or they feel their staff are letting them down….
The list goes on, but my enthusiasm to find a solution doesn’t dilute – it’s what drives me, and gets me jumping out of bed every morning, excited to go to work (those who work with me will testify to this) – even on Mondays!”
The service is a general information offering, but Celia will try to tailor it as much as possible to peoples needs, based on the information they provide. Always trying to find a local service provider to help if she can, Celia is really passionate about growing the local economy. She will ask questions to help clarify the areas a business may be struggling with, or where they are seeking a service provider, before making suggestions of who may be able to assist. It will often consist of more than one option, so the business can compare and see which provider fits their needs best.
“I wanted to offer a local, centralised solution which met many different needs” says Celia.
“I try to help the client by letting them know what is available in their own community – often people want to make a human connection with a service provider, and as much as we can all search online for answers these days, sitting down for a face-to-face chat with someone you may be deciding to hand your hard-earned money to, or entrust with your clients, is sometimes the best option to gain a real sense of trust.
I don’t only recommend our Members in these circumstances of course – I am a real believer in authentic recommendation – and even if I’ve not used the services personally, but have worked with the person and feel they could be the right match, I will say that.
I know a little bit about a lot of business subjects, but in these situations, I am really a provider of information as opposed to a specialist (hence ‘small business surgery’!).
Finding the ‘specialist’ can be time-consuming, and having spent most of my career striving to provide excellent Customer Service, finding the right product or service to meet the client’s needs is something I’m proudly confident about.
I’ve built up a large network of local connections, and have researched significantly to find out what is available in our business community, so I can save people a lot of time if they need assistance and aren’t sure where to look.”