Posted: Fri 28th Aug 2015
Psychologist Klaudia Mitura was inspired to start Employability Town after realising that the main reason young people struggle to find work is a lack of soft skills. The Enterprise Nation member shares the story behind her mission to make young people super employable.
What was your motivation to start your own business?
As a work psychologist, I spent a number of years working with young people to maximise their professional potential within a range of youth establishments such as colleges and charities. Every day, I would concentrate my efforts on developing the CV writing and interview skills of young people as recommended by traditional career planning advice. Over time, I realised that the main barriers to gaining employment for young people were not a lack of knowledge, skills or a well written CV, but rather a lack of a range of soft employability skills such as communication, confident presentation abilities, time management or enterprise understanding.
Due to this discovery, I shifted my focus of work to soft employability skills and started to celebrate the many successes of young people, who when equipped with these skills were able to achieve their career dreams. Because of my success, I started to explore how training on these skills can be implemented more within youth establishments but could not find any external resources or support that could help me with that task.
This led me to set up a training company that would be dedicated to helping young people to become 'super-employable' by specifically developing their soft employability skills. In July 2013, Employability Town was born.
Whilst you were starting up how did you balance home life with work?
Starting a business has been a huge personal journey during which I was required to learn new skills every day. This of course required lots of time and effort which meant that my capacity for focusing on my home life was decreasing.
One of the important things I discovered was that it is essential to make time to relax and spend with your friends and family otherwise your creativity and productivity never gets renewed. Even if it involves simply going for a walk or to the cinema you need to identify those activities that help you to relax and schedule them in your week.
What's your tip for effective sales and marketing?
One of the most effective sales and marketing strategies was to enter a competition to gain an award giving us a recognition within the field. We were a finalist in the Education Innovation Awards 2014 which recognise organisations that effectively integrate innovation and technology into the learning environment. I am especially proud of this as there were over 200 nominations out of which 27 organisations were selected. Among these we were the only small startup, being barely 6 months old. Being a finalist allowed us to gain valuable contacts, created a sense of trust among new customers and provided our services with recognition and prestige within educational sector.
Which tools could you not live without in your business?
I could not run my business without Podio which is an online project management software. I absolutely love the tool because it allows me to:
Create, online formal processes so that when introducing a new person to the team or outsourcing a freelancer that person has an immediate access to all necessary information
Be on top with any tasks and follow-ups in relation to new and existing clients as Podio sends me reminders directly to my inbox
Plan my time effectively and prioritise so that I can sleep peacefully knowing that Podio will let me know what's next on my list
What movie, song or book offers you the most business inspiration and why?
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries simply taught me how to engage my clients in the development of our services. The biggest challenge in developing our business was understanding the needs of our customers and developing our product portfolio to match these. When we initially launched the business, we were offering only online courses on soft employability skills but through client feedback we discovered that most clients were not ready for online service implementation but really needed support in regards to face-to-face training.
When we accommodated this need our traction increased significantly and that offering has become the core of the business which is something we did not expect. Our business is based on a constant dialogue between ourselves and our clients, as per The Lean Startup methodology.
What has been your biggest business success to date?
I believe that our biggest business success to date is the impact of our face-to-face workshop delivery. To date we have delivered soft employability skills training to 2,341 young people helping them to become super-employable. Of these, 85% said the workshop content was useful for their future career and 91% said they feel more confident about their employability skills after the workshop. For me, that is an amazing achievement!
If you had to live on a desert island with one entrepreneur who would it be and why?
Eric Reis, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and the author of The Lean Startup. I would love to pick his brain about his methodology of setting up and developing businesses.
What are your ambitions for the next five years?
In five years we would like to be a market leader in delivering soft employability skills training as well as to be a one stop service for anyone wanting to deliver such skills to young people.
Our plans for the future are to grow into the UK's premium employability skills training provider. We intend to further develop our range of services (both online and offline) to provide outstanding support to those organisations working with the next generation of young people in order to give them the best possible start in their future careers. Our aim is to manage a network of employability trainers across the UK as well as to partner with similar organisations in Europe.
How does being a member of Enterprise Nation help your business grow?
I love Enterprise Nation because it introduces me to new, innovative ideas of developing and growing a business. For instance, I just read the Going for Growth e-book and it completely changed my perspective of moving our business forward. It is simply the most practical business book on growth I have ever encountered. As a result, I am developing an intensive yet creative one year business growth plan. I will be definitely in touch to tell you more about it!
If you'd like to join Klaudia and become an Enterprise Nation member to access exclusive benefits, sign up now. We may even profile your business which is great PR.
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