In part three of Expert Insights, where we speak to experts across the business and entrepreneurship space within Leicestershire to get their thoughts on the current business landscape and the opportunities that are available, we caught up with STWLC Trustee and founder of Cleminson & Cleminson Consulting Ltd, Sue Cleminson…
Firstly, please can you provide a brief overview of your career up to this point?
Having left University with a BA in Business Studies in the early 1990s I got my first full time job working in Human Resources (HR) with a company in Leicester, Olympus Sport, who were part of the Sears Group at that time. Over the next 20 years I went on to work in a number of HR roles with some amazing employers across the East Midlands, primarily in hospitality and leisure. In 2011, I took some time out to really think about what did “next” look like for me and my family. During that summer I had lots of former colleagues get in touch to ask if I could support them in their new roles with some HR project work and out of these enquiries came Cleminson & Cleminson Consulting Ltd.
In the last 12 years I have worked with some amazing companies, many in sectors that I had never worked in before such as engineering, manufacturing, fashion, food retailing, service providers, fitness and housing. I currently provide a wide range of HR services (including HR advice and case support, resourcing, projects, interim solutions and strategy development) to clients across the UK and further afield. I absolutely love my job.
Before joining Olympus Sport I had never been to Leicester but having now lived in Leicestershire for over 25 years, I definitely call this beautiful county home.
What do you feel makes a successful entrepreneur?
The success of an entrepreneur is very much dependent on their continued self-belief and that they stay true to the values that they hold dear. You don’t need lots of people around you to tell you are doing a great job, you always need to be able to say this yourself by taking pride in your work and underpinning it with integrity and quality.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to your younger self when entering the world of business/entrepreneurship?
Keep learning and accept that you don’t always have the answers, but make sure you know where to go or who to talk to in order find them. It’s actually okay to say “I don’t know,” but go and find out.
In the current economic climate, do you feel that now is a good time for aspiring entrepreneurs to be following their dreams and setting up a new business?
There is always something going on in the economy or the world around us so we could always say “now is not the right time.” If you have a product or a service that you have confidence in and you have tested in the market and taken advice about your business plan from family, friends and business advisors, so that you are going into any business activity with your eyes wide open, then this might be the right time for you. Don’t overstretch yourself and take it one step at a time.
How valuable do you think The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity’s offer of interest-free business loans up to £20,000 is to new and existing businesses in Leicestershire?
It is incredibly valuable. I became a Trustee of STWLC over three years ago and I am so proud to say that I am one. The interest-free loans over nine years can make a significant difference to new and existing businesses and as they are genuinely interest-free, they don’t create additional financial burden to the borrower in terms of having to pay interest back on top of any loans secured. In the last three years I have seen the difference loans have made to many businesses around the county and I have met some incredible individuals both at the interview stage and whilst out on borrower visits. If I was starting my business today and met the criteria, I would be applying for a loan from STWLC.
To find out more about STWLC’s interest-free business loans, available up to the value of £20,000, please click here