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Julie Watson's Member Story


Recently we had a fantastic opportunity to hit the road and visit some of our valued members and get their take on what it’s like to be a member of the Federation of Small Businesses. 

We’re currently in the process of filming member testimonials that show some of the fantastic success stories that we often hear so much about – and now we want to share a sneak peak of those stories with you.

We visited Julie Watson, who owns Automotion based in Clitheroe, a store which specialises in the supply of car accessories, cycles and leisure products.

 Julie Watson final

Julie is responsible for the management of her staff, stock ordering, merchandising, maintenance, accounts, sourcing new products and virtually anything that needs to be done to run a successful business. Originally a PA, Julie lived in Yorkshire, but eventually moved to Clitheroe in 2002 to live with her partner. Together they bought an existing high street car spares shop and they expanded the business in 2007 into a larger industrial building on the edge of town.

The family who originally owned the shop stayed with Julie for eighteen months to support her with the steep learning curve that came with changing career. By the time they left, Julie had learnt all she needed to know about the trade and customers.

The previous owners had been members of FSB, so in 2003 Julie took the opportunity to attend a local East Lancashire branch meeting and decided to become a member herself.

Joining FSB gave Julie the opportunity to meet and learn from like-minded individuals and businesses; with her previous experience in secretarial work Julie put herself forward for the committee position of Branch Secretary. She has now held this position for ten years, a fantastic achievement.

Julie was attracted to FSB because it gave her the chance to become part of something that would benefit her business, “The membership services are excellent, it’s the reassurance of having someone to back you up and assist you. The fact that they’re just on the end of a phone is invaluable.” 
Particularly our FSB Tax Protection, Julie added that “you hope you never need to use it, but it’s there in case you do.”

Julie spoke of the issues affecting businesses at the moment and how networking and branch committee events help ease added pressure of running a business, “Talking to other FSB members is really positive, it makes you feel less isolated and helps you to realise you’re not on your own. We all have similar challenges to face”.

Julie is also looking forward to the FSB Small Business Expo and National Conference in Glasgow this year, “I attend conference every year and I always learn something. Meeting others nationally gives us all the chance to share experiences and to find out how others run their branch meetings etc”. 

When asked what advice she would give to those thinking of setting up their own business and joining FSB, Julie said, “Just do it! The membership fee for me is only £175. Where can you get access to all these benefits for that price?” 

As the UK’s leading business support organisation, we’re here to support small business owners with our comprehensive benefits and powerful voice in government. If you would like to become a member, join here. If you’d like to share your small business story, then get in touch via yourstories@fsb.org.uk.

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