Kirsten Cluer is a HR Consultant for SME’s who employ people but can’t justify an in-house HR professional.
1. When did you realise you wanted to start your own business?
When I was on maternity leave 5 years ago. I knew I wanted to go back to work, but I didn’t want to go back to the job I had been doing. I wanted a new and exciting challenge. I had been in HR all of my working life and thought then that the change I wanted needed to be ‘out of HR’. I looked into starting a day nursery after being inspired by a nursery I had been shown around when looking for my daughter.
I struggled to find the right premises to fit with my vision and when I eventually did the lease on the building fell through. Just at that point someone suggested that I did HR consulting for SMEs who outsource their HR function. I loved the idea and got straight on to making it happen!
2. How did you get started and what was the biggest hurdle you overcame?
A friend who was in the process of closing down her HR consultancy business to set up a ladies dress shop offered to sell me her last client and that got me started. I then networked and cold called day and night (or at least it felt like that!) and gradually, built up a network of referral partners and grew my client base. The hardest part for me was patience! I’m not bless with a lot of that and I wanted it to all happen overnight.
3. What’s been your most successful way of getting clients?
Client referrals and word of mouth.
4. How do you get clients to stay with you and use you for more work?
I look after them!
5. Do you ever have issues with clients paying late? How do you manage that?
No not really, we have some who take longer to pay than others, but you get to know who does what and manage your cash flow accordingly.
6. What does your typical work day look like?
It might start with a networking breakfast event, then back to the office to catch up on emails and phone calls. I might then have a review meeting with one of my retained clients or a meeting with a potential new client then deliver a course on personality profiling in the afternoon. Cliche, but true to say that no day is the same!
7. Any piece of advice/wisdom that you’d like to give the readers at Business Unleashed?
Set yourself a goal, work out the specific behaviors that you need “to do” in order to achieve that goal and then do them!
You can find out more about Kirsten at her website: www.cluerhrsolutions.co.uk