Karen established publishing company, Jones Publishing (Citywealth), in 2005, aimed at private wealth managers and ultra high-net worths. The business includes UKbased events – networking clubs and award ceremonies – and print magazines. She attended the Developing Strategy for Value Creation programme in October 2011 to acquire the knowledge and tools she needed to grow her business for the future.
I came to the programme feeling battle weary. I had been running my business for seven years and was looking for inspiration. When you have your own business, you are the person everyone looks to for the answers and yet you feel like you are in a forest, trying to work your way through. What I had achieved was successful and my company is growing by 20% year on year, but the programme helped me take a step back and get a different insight.
The programme was a fascinating 360-degree look at very successful companies. It made me realise that businesses are very complicated and that no-one has all the answers. I learnt so much in just five days. We explored great business warriors: how companies work, how they failed, what they did wrong and how they then succeeded. It was fascinating to see how other businesses are run, then take them apart and re-examine them.
My business employs 10 people and turnover is nearly half a million pounds a year while others in the class had businesses worth many times that. Yet we shared the same ambitions and also the same problems: recognising that there is no easy way to solve these was liberating. The programme helped me to benchmark myself against others and understand the wider market and challenges they also face.
It also provided me with the opportunity to see my business through the other participants’ eyes and get their input based on the strategies we had been taught.
Before I attended Developing Strategy for Value Creation (DSVC), my business was growing organically but the programme helped me analyse it and allowed me to look at it in a different way. Armed with the skills I needed, I examined everything we did and completely changed our sales operation. The programme taught me that in order to get strategy or change in your business, you require organisational buy-in. I now understand how to get things done, rather than expect them to happen. Everyone in my company is clearer about how we work and who has been assigned a task.
My goals are still to continue growing my business, but I am also looking at growth in different ways than I would have previously; for example, by hiring more people and launching more companies and products. It’s not a small goal, but now I have the confidence and much more ability to achieve it.