Helen Neale: 'Make a Plan showed me where to focus my efforts with my strategies and plans.'

Helen Neale: 'Make a Plan showed me where to focus my efforts with my strategies and plans.'
Marc Gardner
Marc GardnerOfficial

Posted: Fri 19th May 2023

Enterprise Nation partnered with Mastercard and Strive to deliver an online 'One Stop Shop' for entrepreneurs.

An initiative of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, Strive will give 650,000 British micro and small enterprises the support they need to thrive in the digital economy over the next three years and beyond.

We're catching up with some of the business owners who have been using the initiative's Make a Plan discovery tool to find out about how it's benefited them so far.

Here, we talk to Helen Neale, whose company Kiddycharts provides educational resources and advice for parents, schools and kids.

When and how did you make the move into owning a business?

I've been running Kiddycharts since 2012. I wanted to create something around behaviour that worked for my kids, and there was nothing out there that seemed to match what I was after.

I decided to create it myself, and the website has mushroomed since then. We now get nearly one million page views a year, from about 15 in the first month!

What support, if any, did you seek when setting up your new business?

I didn't seek any. I didn't think I needed it, and I was wrong! Looking back, I made a number of mistakes in those early months and years, and I'm sure that if I'd had advice, or a mentor, I wouldn't have been so naïve.

I was burned by suppliers in the early days. I expected people to have the same work ethic and morals that I had, and I was sometimes wrong.

In the early weeks and months, what went well? What didn't? How did you overcome any problems?

The main thing that went well in those first months was the marketing for the website. I made a point of understanding and learning search engine optimisation (SEO) at the start, trying to get as much authority for the site as I possibly could through working within the community for the niche I was in, and also developing my own place as an expert.

I've continued to do this throughout my time working on the site. We're moving towards expertise within wellbeing and ADHD/neurodiversity as my own experiences and the market shift.

You used the Make a Plan tool. What specifically has it helped with?

It was really helpful in trying to work out where I needed to focus my efforts and where the gaps were in my strategies and plans. My ADHD means I'm not great at focusing, so I need pointers – otherwise I get distracted by shiny new ideas!

Now you're established and looking to grow, what do you see as the next steps for your business?

We'll become even more focused on those wellbeing and neurodiversity niches, but we'll also expand our offering. We provide so many free resources to our visitors, and we'd like to take that up a notch.

Giving them something that little bit extra for more where we can. We're looking into this at the moment, and seeing how that might look. It's a really exciting time for the site right now.

What are your more longer-term plans?

AI is very exciting for me, both as a marketing tool and to help develop my business offering. I'm really keen to look at innovative ways we might be able to use the technology both to scale and to offer our visitors something different.

What are the most important lessons you've learned from going into business for yourself?

Don't assume everyone else works with the same ethics as you, whether that's a moral compass or a work ethic. Be gently demanding of others, without being a pain in the arse!

I have a strong work ethic, and sometimes that doesn't sit well with everybody. So, respect other people's boundaries, and they will respect you and yours.

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About Strive Make a Plan

Create an account, answer some quick questions about your business, get personalised feedback, then build an action plan that will help accelerate your business's growth. Take the Make a Plan tool today

Marc Gardner
Marc GardnerOfficial
I'm one of Enterprise Nation's content managers, and spend most of my time working on all types of content for the small business programmes and campaigns we run with our corporate, government and local-authority partners.

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