Posted: Thu 25th 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 Simon Wingfield, who used the Make a Plan tool to gain clearer focus on his goals for his new boutique consultancy Wingfield Consultants.
When and how did you make the move into owning a business?
I set up Wingfield Consultants in June 2022 after a career spent in large 'blue-chip' FMCG global companies (such as BP and Shell). I'd previously worked on some freelance projects for clients in the past and I really enjoyed the experience.
After more than 30 years of working for corporate organisations, I wanted to use my knowledge and skills to help clients with my own boutique consultancy.
What support, if any, did you seek when setting up your new business?
I spent a year in research before planning, constructing and executing the business plan for Wingfield Consultants with the help of relevant mentors and some online and physical resources (business plan handbooks, for example).
I used my contacts in the FMCG sectors (global, regional and local) to start to understand the opportunities and pitfalls of consultancy work. Having connections in Norfolk also meant I was able to support local businesses as I set up – I used a local solicitor for contracts, a local accountant for finance, and so on.
In the early weeks and months, what went well? What didn't? How did you overcome any problems?
It was very easy to set up my limited company with Companies House in the UK. The challenges, however, were twofold. First, completing the consultancy business plan while simultaneously 'pitching' for clients. And second, once I'd set up the limited company, completing all the necessary documentation and accreditation for a business consultancy.
You used the Make a Plan tool. What specifically has it helped with?
It helped me focus on my overall goals. Make a Plan proved to be a very useful and comprehensive tool to 'fill in the gaps' on my strategic planning.
Now you're established and looking to grow, what do you see as the next steps for your business?
Scaling up. I have some clients but need a more robust sales and marketing plan to keep the revenue pipeline full in the coming months and years.
A key step is to provide a fantastic service and solutions to my existing clients while finding the time to pitch for new business. Consultancy work can be very feast and famine!
What are your more longer-term plans?
Scale up, hit my yearly fiscal targets, and then retire in three or four years. It was always my plan to retire relatively early but, as I enjoy the work so much, I may still work on client projects part-time.
What are the most important lessons you've learned from going into business for yourself?
Resilience, focus and planning. The early stages of setting up my business were pretty mind-boggling to someone who had spent most of his career working for other people (even as a freelancer). But I had a great support network to help me.
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