Welcome to our series, ‘Meet the Entrepreneur’, where we meet entrepreneurs and start-ups from the Channel Islands. We find out what they are doing, what ‘drives’ them and what advice they would give anyone starting out in business.
Today, we meet Jersey-based entrepreneur Jo Buchanan, founder of the new marketing consultancy TwitTwooYou.
TwitTwooYou is one of Jersey’s newest strategic marketing consultancies centred around business growth and getting brands noticed. We offer a range of services to medium and large-sized businesses such as; strategic marketing, internal and external communications, public relations, awards submissions, event management, email marketing, SEO review, website building and digital tools.
The consultancy launched in January this year so we are very much in our infancy. However, feedback from our local business community has been incredibly positive and we are already working with a number of well-known organisations that are looking for a fresh approach to marketing.
Tell us about your ‘journey’ and how you got to this point
Prior to launching TwitTwooYou, I was employed as Head of Marketing for a well known global accounting firm. Three years in and I was starting to feel despondent. I wanted to get back to working with more than just one client and allow my creativity to flow.
Just like the owl in my brand, I love to fly high and offer high-level strategic thinking to clients, but deep dive into the nitty-gritty too of any challenges my clients are facing.
This move has been a great one for me personally and professionally and I am absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to support a wide variety of clients. I also look forward to working with clients that are looking for a new way to tackle their marketing and communications.
Can you talk us through a typical working day?
Well, as you might expect, no two days are ever the same. Working with such a variety of clients means my days are really varied. I might be working on a website build, including deciphering CSS code to make the website look even better. Then other times, I might be working on devising an integrated communications plan to help my client raise their brand profile and tell their story in a more engaging way.
In case you’ve been following my journey, you’ll see that I write a lot. Each week, I publish blogs on my company’s website and I’m even more excited to have just agreed to deliver a bi-weekly marketing masterclass for Channel Eye. Every two weeks, I write about something topical or value-added that can help businesses of any size improve how they market themselves, online and offline.
Can you share your experience with banks?
Being a bit of a non-traditionalist, I was happy to consider an alternative to opening a business account with my High Street bank. Instead, I went online and looked at alternatives to the Big Five and considered two of the leading Challenger Banks; Tide and Revolut.
These banks are given the name Challenger as they have been created to transform the banking space and ‘challenge’ the main High Street banks. They provide new digital, financial practices and many operate through online-only banking or a mobile app instead of having a branch network.
I eventually chose Revolut as my Bank of choice as their service is [largely] free and has some great integrations including Xero, my chosen accounting software. Their onboarding process and service was also really great and they appointed me a consultant to support me in the early stages of getting to know the app and features.
I would encourage anyone considering opening a Business Account to give Banks like Revolut a go as their service is super easy to use and great for those who are digitally minded.
How has Covid-19 impacted your business?
Thankfully for me, I didn’t launch TwitTwooYou until earlier this year and I feel the issues surrounding COVID have certainly reduced considerably since previous years. Nevertheless, as businesses have suffered as a result of the pandemic they are more reticent to invest in support services like marketing.
It’s kind of ironic because it’s never been more vital for businesses to get noticed than it is now. For those who have been impacted by Covid, it’s really important to restart their marketing efforts and consider how they can engage better with their clients and build their community of followers and supporters.
What’s been your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur/startup?
I would have to say getting clients over the line and signed up! In my previous role I had a really long notice period, so a lot of time to think and prepare for my new business. I began to converse with a number of prospective clients early, as I was keen to start from day one with clients already onboarded.
The reality however has been very different. It’s taken several months for me to onboard clients and the process has been much harder than I initially thought. It’s involved a lot of hard work and going the extra mile to demonstrate my value and expertise. Again, I think this also alludes to that overall sentiment that many businesses have a fear of spending after such a difficult time trading.
Can you share any pleasant surprises as an entrepreneur?
When I launched my consultancy in early January, I did the usual and promoted the business on social media; personally through my Facebook profile and professionally through my LinkedIn profile.
I was absolutely overwhelmed by the response I received not least from my friends, but from the local business community and beyond. The video I published on LinkedIn to promote my new business and company page was seen more than 18,000 times and I received messages from people as far away as Melbourne, Australia and the USA.
The belief from those who either know me or have followed me has been incredible. This has really spurred me on to create the best consultancy I can and deliver the most value for my clients.
What advice would you give to someone who has a start-up idea?
Planning however is key. Not least in terms of defining a business plan and overall strategy, but crunching the numbers too. It’s highly likely you won’t be earning the same amount straight away, so you need to know what you need to generate as a minimum in order to cover all your basic expenses.
I’d also encourage you to speak with Jersey Business. While I had the luxury of using my previous employer as my accountant, not everyone will know the formal steps you need to take when forming a business. The team at Jersey Business offer a lot of support and their website is full of helpful guides and downloads to support you in your journey and to ensure you don’t fall foul of the law!
What do you do in your downtime?
The great thing about being my own boss is I can fit downtime into any part of my day. That might include going to the gym, taking our four-year-old cavapoo, Rosie for a long walk, cooking a lovely meal for my husband and eleven-year-old daughter or just meeting up with friends for a coffee.
What’s your favourite film?
My favourite film is Little Miss Sunshine starring Tony Colette and Steve Carell. It’s a story about a dysfunctional and emotionally bankrupted family determined to get their young daughter into the finals of a beauty pageant.
They take her on a cross-country trip in their VW bus across America to Redondo Beach, California. It’s a story of dreams and challenges and it makes me laugh every time I watch it!
What music do you listen to?
Now on the face of it, this might surprise you, but don’t they say to never judge a book by its cover! I love grime and rap music. I’m also a big fan of Electronic music too so you’ll find me bopping around to Little Sims, Miraa May and Petit Biscuit (usually in the kitchen).
Are you listening to any podcasts at the moment? If so, can you tell us about them?
I have been a huge fan of Jessie and Lennie Ware’s podcast ‘Table Manners’ for many years now. The podcast revolves around food. They invite celebrities around for dinner (usually to Lennie’s house) to have dinner and talk about food memories. They ask their guests what their last supper would be and also what kind of lunchbox they had as a kid and the usual packed lunch they might have eaten.
I’m also a big fan of ‘My Therapist Ghosted Me’ which comes from Irish best friends Vogue Williams and Joanne McNally. The hilarious duo offers up 100% unqualified, unsubstantiated but upfront and honest advice on the plethora of issues they and many others continue to grapple with. Their latest episodes are entitled, Bintcoin, Business Accounts and Scatter Cushions… You get the picture.
What is your favourite gadget and why?
That would have to be an App called Mag Light that I have installed on my phone. If you ask my husband, he will tell you that without my glasses I am blind as a bat. When we go out for dinner, usually to dim-lit restaurants, I really struggle to read the menu. I can use this app to point my phone at the pages and it magnifies and lights up the content, so it’s been a saviour for me on nights out and stopped me from looking like a mole in a fancy dress!
Are you a Channel Islands entrepreneur/startup who would like to be featured in Channel Eye? If so, please drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org