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Sarah Windrum's Member Story

Sarah Windrum
The Emerald Group

Sarah's company, The Emerald Group are a technology consultancy based in Leamington providing support to businesses and organisations wanting to improve their operational processes. 

We spoke to Sarah about running a small business and her use of FSB membership. Take a look at what Sarah had to say below or view her Member Story video above!

Could you tell us about your business?

The Emerald Group is a technology company supporting small to medium sized businesses to use technology to improve their operational processes and achieve their growth potential. We specialise in IT project management, IT infrastructure, IT Support, Cloud Services, and Mobile Communications.

What was the spark that inspired you to set up your own business?

My Co-Founder and I were working in IT & mobile technology companies respectively and saw a way to bring the two together better for small businesses, especially those with ambition to grow. We wanted to offer the highest level of tech support and flexibility for the SME market not just the big corporate companies.

How have you been able to procure clients since starting out?

Most of our growth has been through referral and then referral and then referral! Some of our customers are six or seven stage referrals now. We have also been recommended through the community work we do and we love to network! 

What made you want to become a member of FSB?

We joined FSB almost as soon as we were registered as a business. The free legal advice attracted us initially and the support around taking our first office and hiring our first member of the team.

How have you found yourself needing to use our FSB ‘Member Benefits’ since becoming a member?

We have used the free legal advice a number of times and it has proved hugely useful. We also take advantage of the networking events and answering surveys etc. so that FSB can lobby on our behalf.

Networking is a big part of what FSB do. Have you attended any networking events to make connections and procure clients?

Yes. Very much enjoy the regional networking events and the local branch events.

Which of FSB’s ‘Business Issues’ do you feel matter most to you as a small business owner, specifically in your region? 

I am a Governor at a local secondary school and I think Business & Education Engagement is crucial to address the skills gap for the future.

It is difficult when you are a busy small business owner to think five to ten years ahead but if we don’t have the skills we need for the growth of the future we will not move forward and achieve our potential.

I am working with local schools and businesses to offer different engagement options depending on the time business people have available. 

What do you see happening in the future for your business?

We are always looking for new innovative ideas and technologies to support our customers. We are about to launch a global mobile data product which will significantly reduce costs for those businesses who travel abroad and need to stay connected.

Mobile data costs can easily get out of control and we want to help small businesses manage their costs. We are forming new partnerships and crucially always remain independent to ensure our customers are the ones who benefit from our knowledge and expertise.

We’re really passionate about helping our members and prospective business owners to succeed. What is the best piece of advice you could give to anyone thinking of setting up their own business?

Join FSB! Seek advice from people who have been there before you. Listen to the experience of others.

Learn as much by what not to do as what to do. Surround yourself with people who will support you especially those who are strong in the areas you are not. Finance, Legal, Marketing etc. You will have to do a lot yourself at the start but it’s worth a small investment if you can in people who have the skills you don’t have.

Stay strong and true to your values. Success will come from that often when you least expect it! 

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