Inspiring Enterprise | Startup
Business support startup helped to grow by Inspiring Enterprise
Phil Kirkwood, the founder of Kirkwood Business Services offers a vital service to his business clients. He takes on their time-hungry and avoided tasks from one-off jobs to complex projects. His business growth he puts partly down to the support he received from Inspiring Enterprise.
Offering a helping hand
Currently, Phil’s services involve mainly creative web and social media support. For example, he can get a business up and running with posts for social media, get the branding right for a social media platform and help with the scheduling of posts. He also gets involved with more bespoke tasks that are specific to his client’s needs.
“I am doing more social media support at the moment, but I am flexible. There are businesses that have quirky in-house systems, checks and balances that need to be carried out or tasks that must be done every week. Once I know what they require, I can take that task off their hands and they save on employment costs.”
With the ability to meet clients over zoom or in person, his ethos is to give his clients time to get on with the running of their business. He offers a vast array of services including:
- Bespoke tasks and projects
- Collaboration-board setup and management
- Creative ideas and concepts
- Data entry
- Social media graphics and scheduling
- Spreadsheet & record design and upkeep
Journey to Inspiring Enterprise
Phil explains that initially, he didn’t consider the self-employment route,
“I didn’t consciously think about becoming self-employed in the early days. After working for a telecoms company for 5 years, the COVID-19 pandemic struck and I was furloughed and then lost my job. I struggled to find a new job and then a friend working for a design agency said they needed someone to help out with website updates. To do this, I needed to be self-employed, which was how I found myself in that situation.”
After this, Phil came up with the idea of setting up his own business and after searching on the internet, he came across Inspiring Enterprise via their website.
Praise for his business advisor
Phil has found the support from Enterprise Specialist Lizzie Raffles invaluable and she “gave him a real push”.
“From day one, she was saying to me ‘you’ve got to do this, this and this’. Due to her own business experience, she had some good ideas and supported me with some aspects of the business that hadn’t occurred to me previously.”
Phil explains he felt that the conversations with Lizzie were very much brainstorming sessions and that she always had valid input and challenged his ideas.
“Lizzie was always very supportive and encouraging. If I wasn’t quite sure about something but she thought it a good idea, she would say ‘why not, what have you got to lose’. Yet, she would always be straight with me if she thought something wasn’t possible or realistic.”
A growing business
Phil explains to start with, he had no clue what to do about setting up a business and that it was tough in the early days dealing with the uncertainty of self-employment.
“It can be hard when you get up in the morning and you don’t have work and tough to keep pushing yourself forward. You have to bear in mind that this comes with the territory of running your own business. Things run out any day, things can turn up any day. You only have yourself to answer for if anything goes wrong. No one’s there to pick up the pieces. In fact, how you pick up the pieces is the clever bit. Once the ball gets rolling things get better.”
Thankfully, Phil’s business ball is now rolling faster.
“You have to remember that people are always willing to help you. I have on occasion found that the people I work for, do me favours. It’s a case of ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.’”
As a result of this attitude plus Lizzie’s help, Kirkwood Business Services is getting involved in bigger projects.
“My aim is to get more long-term contracts. The more you work with companies over time, the more you understand their operations and a better quality of service can be provided.”
Phil’s Top Business Tip for future entrepreneurs
Phil explains that as human beings, we naturally suffer from anxiety and many people get overwhelmed by the big picture. His advice is to try not to worry about this and take one step at a time.
“If you just sit and think about it, it won’t happen. You can keep overwhelm at bay by concentrating on the little steps. You should find that those little steps will become bigger steps.”
WSX Enterprise Ltd is a business support organisation delivering a range of start-up, business growth and digital skills projects across the UK.
Their Inspiring Enterprise project ran from 2016 until 2023 in Hampshire and Surrey. Our team of experts advised, mentored and supported over 1000 people to find a better future by moving them into self-employment, employment or training.
The project is currently not taking any new enquiries and will finish in April 2023.
It is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and the European Union European Social Fund.