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My-Town-Online-Nov-2020

We're so thrilled that My Town Online has had such a great turn out in the first few months! So, to celebrate the founding members showcasing their products or services on
My Town Online, we are sharing the people behind these local businesses; what they do 
and how you can browse their listings!
 

Today, we're speaking to Jenny from JCJ PA Services, Paul from Cariboo Digital, Nicky from Mad About Bookkeeping and Alastair from Right At Home. 

 

JCJ PA Services 

JCJ


Hi Jenny, tell us a bit about you and your business.
 

Hi, I am Jenny Cathcart-Jones (Jenny CJ for short) of JCJ PA Services. I offer Virtual Assistant support to businesses.   

Describe a typical day in your business   

There really is no such thing as a "typical" day! The thing I love about working as a Virtual Assistant is that every client brings a new dimension to working life. New things to learn, ways to work around things and make them quicker and more efficient. It really is so diverse, and I am always kept on my toes, but it is exciting and always interesting.   

Describe the ideal day in your business   

An ideal day, when I achieve a lot, have happy clients and manage to get a walk in the forest or a quick bike ride as "thinking time".   

Describe the ideal customer you like to help   

Someone who has a sense of humour, someone that works hard but let's me "help them" make their job easier. It's also great when someone appreciates some things make take longer but they are better to be done right!   

What unique skills do you have, or have you developed to run your business?   

To be able to multi-task on many, many things and to be constantly learning new skills, adapting to what my clients may need.   

Why did you choose your industry/sector or niche?   

This is where my strengths lie. I am a born organiser, am very motivated and enjoy the diversity of my clients. The flexibility of being a Virtual Assistant affords me valuable time after school with my children.   

What one piece of advice do you wish you had been given before starting your business?   

Make sure you take regular breaks and you must make the separation between home and work. Take time to plan and market yourself!  
 

What one piece of advice would you give someone starting out in your industry?   

Network, network, network ??" talk to everyone and share what you do!   

What is your ultimate goal for your business?   

I would like to develop my VA business so I have a team of VA Associates.   


What's the most exciting thing you have planned???   

Developing my skills further and researching tools to support my business which can also be shared with my clients. In my private life, I am going to cycle 50km through London at night (when Covid allows it to happen!)   

What do you enjoy doing when not running your business?   

You probably have picked up I love my bike so any opportunity I get I am out clocking up the miles. I love quality time with my boys whether it's a walk on the beach, getting messy with crafts or exploring Alice Holt forest. We counted 44 different trees recently!   


Tell us some of your life goals?   

To have a good work-life balance and retire to a cabin on the edge of the River Dart with a small boat!   

Tell us something surprising about yourself or your business   

I have skydived, parachuted, completed the London to Brighton bike ride (to mark a big birthday) and like nothing better than thrashing out any stress on a bike!   

 

Thank you for speaking with us Jenny! If you would like to get in touch and enquire about JCJ PA Services you can find more information here or explore her website here.   

   

Cariboo Digital


Cariboo


Hi Paul, tell us a bit about you and your business. 

Hi, I'm Paul. At Cariboo Digital we help customers create awesome mobile applications that solve their customers' or employees' problems. 


Why did you choose the industry/sector or niche that you did?    

I've always been in software since university. Over the last 25 years, I've built a portfolio of eCommerce and workforce management solutions for enterprise clients - so this is my natural fit. 


What one piece of advice do you wish you had been given before you started your business?    

Find the customers first!   


What one piece of advice would you give someone starting out in your industry?    

Understand who your customers are, what problems they have, and how your unique set of skills and experience can help them and have an impact on their business, lives or community.    


Describe a typical day in your business    

Start with a strong coffee, settle into some emails, start the first of the team daily stand-ups to align on the day's planRun a discovery workshop to understand what client problems exist, observe some potential customers in a field study, compile the results of a survey on user behaviourCoach team members on a new techniquemock-up some screen designs, drink more coffee, build the first few screens of a client's mobile app! 


Describe the ideal day in your business    

All of the above, but with local clients and working around the school routine (and up a mountain).


Coffee, first snow tracks on a bluebird day (when I'm not on school patrol), breakfast overlooking the mountain, early morning calls with teams to plan the day, run a discovery workshop with clients; build some software; coach some team members on a new technique, celebrate the launch of a client's app then time with the kids in the snow! 

   

What unique skills do you have to run your business and have you identified any additional skills you need to progress your business?    

Realising that whilst many software companies focus on pure development of mobile apps, we start with really understanding customers' needs and translating that into rapidly building software with very clever sophisticated tools. Keeping on top of the emerging market with no code toolscritical thinking, experimentation and learning from results   


What are some of your life goals?    

It used to be to retire early, but that seems to be slipping away now. Learn how to fly a kite properly - they elude me  - and to snowboard on every continent!   


What are the biggest opportunities in your sector/niche/industry at the moment?    

The NoCode movement right now is very exciting. It allows professional software developers to focus on creating innovative solutions to real problems, really fast. The software industry has for too long been focused on expensive development teams building the same solutions for customers over and over again. NoCode allows us to focus on identifying real problems and creating innovative solutions and makes it 4-10 times cheaper or quicker for companies to innovate with software. 


What planning do you do? And what's the most exciting thing you have previously planned?    

My career has practically been one long planning event. The most exciting thing I've planned was the two-year trip to Canada I took. 

 

What is your ultimate goal for your business?    

Build a sustainable business with a handful of employees, delivering my vision of how software should be built for a growing base of happy customers.   

 

Thank you for speaking with us, Paul! If you would like to get in touch and enquire about any of the Cariboo Digital services you can find more information here or explore his website here. 

   

 

Mad About Bookkeeping  

Mad


Hi Nicky, tell us a bit about you and your business. 

Hi, I'm Nicky Cole and my business is Mad About Bookkeeping Ltd.?We provide bookkeeping, accountancy, and payroll services to small and medium sized owner-managed businesses across Surrey and Hampshire.   


Describe a typical day in your business   

A typical day in our business is always busy and can be full of surprises! From new clients turning up with bags full of paperwork, to VAT Returns, lunchtime dog walking, multiple tea runs and of course self-assessments.?    


Describe the ideal day in your business   

An ideal day in the office for me would be filled with new enquiries!   


Describe the ideal customer you like to help   

I love meeting enthusiastic business owners at the beginning of their journey who need help understanding what their accounts mean and why they are so important to their growth and success.   


Many of our clients have grown with us over the years and nothing makes us happier than helping those clients take the next step within their businesses; setting up as a limited company, registering for VAT and employing staff to assist them, it's so rewarding to be a part of their journey as well as our own.   


What unique skills do you have, or have you developed to run your business?   

First and foremost, I am a worker and lead my team from the front.?I roll up my sleeves to make stuff happen and ensure that deadlines aren't missed.?I am not your typical accountant ??" I come to work in jeans, speak in plain English and am very approachable. 

   

Why did you choose your industry/sector or niche?   

After working in a few junior finance roles, I was lucky enough to land a job for a local bookkeeping practice who taught me the trade.? I really enjoyed the problem solving element and the more I learnt the more I wanted to learn and before I knew it, I was a fully qualified accountant!    


What one piece of advice do you wish you had been given before starting your business?   

You can't please all the people all the time, but as long as you work hard and be the best you can be… you will succeed.   


What one piece of advice would you give someone starting out in your industry?   

Empathy is key, broad shoulders help and a great team around you is crucial!  

 

What is your ultimate goal for your business?   

The ultimate goal is to be the go-to accountancy service provider in the area. 


What's the most exciting thing you have previously planned???   

Moving into our new offices in Wolfe Mead earlier this year.? It was a huge step for the business, and a long time planning, but it feels like we are in our forever home.   


What do you enjoy doing when not running your business?   

I love walking my cockapoo Bella in the country, going to the seaside, cooking and oh yes, drinking wine!   


Tell us some of your life goals?   

I want to build my own house in the country and get more dogs and cats!   


Tell us something surprising about yourself or your business   

Apart from the AAT which I've achieved in the last couple of years, I am only educated to GCSE level.?I am keen to encourage all non-academics that they can achieve great things even if they feel education isn't for them.    

 

Thanks for speaking with us Nicky! If you would like to learn more about Mad About Bookkeeping and how they could help your business, check this out or explore their website here 

  

 

Right at Home   

Right

Hi Alastair, tell us a bit about your business. 

My name is Alastair Shanks and I am the owner of Right at Home Alton and Bordon. We support older people so they can continue living independently in their own homes with our hourly homecare and live-in care services.    


Describe a typical day in your business   

There is no typical day, every person we support we do different things for. It might be walking their dog, cooking them a home cooked meal or taking them out on a trip to Wisley Gardens.    


Describe the ideal day in your business   

An ideal day for us is when we support one of our clients to achieve something they would not otherwise have been able to do. We ask all of our clients about their goals and ambitions and then support them to try and make them happen. Our team find it so rewarding when you see the positive impact this can have on our clients.   


Describe the ideal customer you like to help   

That is a difficult questionI guess we like to support people where we will make a big difference to them and their family. We are experts in dementia care and getting the right care for people with dementia can have a massive impact on both the individual and their families.   


What unique skills do you have or have you developed to run your business?   

Our skills are really our team, we put a lot of effort into recruiting the right people. To us what makes the right people is all about their values and their ability to build relationships with others - we can provide the training for everything else but values cannot be trained.   

 

Why did you choose your industry/sector or niche?   

I wanted to do something that felt like I was making a difference and involved working with people.   


What one piece of advice do you wish you had been given before starting your business?   

Be prepared for the first two years of your business being full-on, you might not get many breaks.   


What one piece of advice would you give someone starting out in your industry?   

It is all about the people, if you get the right people onto your team, your business will fly. 

  

What is your ultimate goal for your business?   

To grow the business to the stage where anyone needing our services across all of Bordon, Alton, Haslemere can access them.   


What do you enjoy doing when not running your business?   

Running, spending time with family and friends, sailing, skiing, mountain biking, good food.   


Tell us some of your life goals?   

I aim to buy a yacht and sail around the world with my wife. 


Tell us something surprising about yourself or your business   

Right at Home is a franchised business - we are the no. 1 office in the UK out of 70 offices! 

  

Thanks Alastair! If you would like to learn more about Right At Home and the services they offer you can find more information here or explore their website here 

Email Us - or call 01420 556335