10 things I learnt when I stepped away from my business for 18 months..

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end, and my 18 month tenure working on a career enhancing project was no different,

For the past year and half my knowledge of the retail industry and working with small businesses has matured ten fold. it reinforced the good decision I took to step away from my company, to gain additional knowledge of my trade  to hopefully make me a better entrepreneur, colleague, client and company Director.

I started on the project from the embryonic stage, to say it was a culture shock would be an understatement. Coming from someone who had been so involved in their own business and being able to make decisions without having to go through any approval channels, was something which I had to adjust to very quickly, not to mention working for a local council which comes with it’s own challenges.

To summerise my role over the past 18 months from:
administering a grant programme, setting up a Christmas shop, working with designers, architects, senior project managers, contractors on the build of the unit, branding,. setting up of the unit, introducing additional revenue streams for the businesses, Managing up to 33 businesses at it’s busiest period to the implementation and operational management including achieving sales increase to its optimum of 1677%,

I am not surprised at how far this project has come and as it enters this next phase of sustainability it has been given the best possible foundation to go from strength to strength.

Pop up shop Retail Marketing and Sales

Pop up shop Retail Marketing and Sales








Now, following a few weeks R&R, I am ready to reinvest the knowledge gained back into the company. RedBorder Ltd is going through a minor re-branding, with changes to our service offer, which will become evident over the next few weeks.

Taking a break away from your business may not be for you but if you are reading this blog post and  falling out of love with your business have a read below before you make a decision about your company:

  1. Finding a project, role or hobby  which can add value to your business, but which is not directly linked to your business can be an absolute God send.
  2. Local authorities are a great source of help for small businesses, connect with the economic development team
  3. It is OK to be annoyed with your business and not have the initial passion you had when you first started, that will always come and go, don’t be disheartened if you want to step away a hiatus is better than consciously uncoupling
  4. The UK is a huge enterprising nation, with some fantastic small businesses out there, find them and connect with them
  5. Not all public sector staff work the Civvy hours. it was not uncommon to be exchanging work emails with my colleagues at 11 pm at night
  6. It isn’t how you arrive, but how you leave, I arrived with trepidation and reservations as to whether the decision I took was the right decision and left with an abundance of knowledge, lifelong friends and good memories.
  7. Cliche alert: teamwork really does make the dream work, surround yourself with the right people who thrive off each other and who enjoying working to a common goal and successful outcomes.
  8. Never allow your business to get into a comfort zone, keep on pushing it  at every milestone and sometimes before you even get to a milestone
  9. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, make the most of the situation and turn it around into a positive.
  10. Renewed sense of purpose for my business, new business opportunities and an invaluable contact list.
Retail pop up, Sidcup & Co