5 things I’ve learned running my business: Mary Maguire, Astute Recruitment

Astute Recruitment is an accountancy recruitment business specialising in working with SME business owners across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

Its co-founders Sarah Stevenson and Mary Maguire set up the business in 2009 at the height of recession after facing redundancy. Here, Maguire shares the lessons she’s learned running the company during that time.

Be positive and honest
If you have a great business idea, pursue it! You never know where I can take you. Remember to be a doer not a watcher, when we were made redundant in 2009 I was devastated for a couple of days before asking myself: “What am I going to do now?” I knew I was skilled in my sector and I knew I had a great reputation. It seemed clear to me that I should set up on my own and so I approached my now business partner, who I’d worked with for several years and trusted.

Surround yourself with talented people and keep hold of them
Staff recruitment, retention, training and motivation are all absolutely key to a successful business. Any organisation is only as strong as the staff it employs. Everyone in a business is important and need to feel fully engaged, on board and valued by their firm. Remember that you need to have some fun too and always reward success.

Remember: cash is king
It is a brutal fact that even if you have the best business, product or service in the world; without money in your bank account you are unable to pay your suppliers, creditors or staff – let alone yourself.
You need to have a firm but fair approach to cash flow management and a constant eye on your bottom line, all of the time, not just at the end of the month or quarter! You need to scrutinise your debtors and maintain a strong and clear line of communication with your creditors to ensure you and any business partners, are always on top of your current cash position.

Truly understand your business
You have to know what makes your business unique and what makes your specific service or product stand out. You should have USPs which set you apart from your competition such as our unique Triple Point Guarantee. Consider new USPs you can offer and constantly ask yourself: “How is what I am doing now benefiting my business?” “Is what I am doing now is the most effective use of my time?”

Engagement is key
Social media is constantly evolving alongside all methods of communication, branding and marketing. To support your company you need to constantly engage with your target audience in a meaningful, educational and non-confrontational way – your business needs to be synonymous with quality and professionalism. Think about what message you, your team and your social media channels are communicating about the brand and business.

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