NOMINATIONS have come flooding in to Rossendale Business Awards and already more than 90 have been received for 59 businesses and 17 individuals.
With the country facing prolonged COVID restrictions, organisers have decided to switch the December award ceremony online. More details to follow nearer the time.
One of last year’s success stories was Michelle Procter Financial Services won the Rossendale Business Awards MicroBusiness title. Although her business had a Bacup base for eight years, she came to national prominence when she bought her own premises in Stacksteads. She opened her two-storey office building on Newchurch Road, at the junction of Toll Bar, and gained an additional 40 new clients in the first year of relocating. Many more have become clients of the business’s mortgage advisor as many seek to move house.
She was 21 when she started work for a bank and was interested in the work of the financial advisor and so, in her own time, studied at night school. Her first advisor role was with an insurance company, but that restricted the advice she was able to offer clients. Michelle said: “I knew the importance of being independent because everyone’s circumstances are different.”
She set up on her own at King George Chambers in Bacup, but without a shop front, many people were not aware of her business, that was until she decided to buy a former shop in Stacksteads. It had previously been a horse tackle business, a supermarket and a joiner’s workshop. When she attended the property auction, she found TV company Homes Under the Hammer was filming. Michelle’s purchase, and eight-month refurbishment made national TV and local press and, because of the building’s prominent location, local clients became aware of her business. It was a great opportunity and a great free advertisement.
She said: “I had invested in technology to make my business more efficient which was a huge advantage with lockdown. It allowed, us to continue working from home and gave me the opportunity to refocus the business. I worked from home and also home-schooled my two children so from 8am to 12.30 I would be teacher. After lunch I would work from 1pm-5pm, then be mum to 7.30pm and start work again at 8pm. Now schools are back open, so are the offices, but we are encouraging clients, where possible, to arrange consultations online. If clients want a face-to-face meeting, we have put in screens at the desks and masks must be worn. Going forward, I will be allowing staff, and myself, the option to work from home. I have learnt that it can work. In the next year, I hope we all manage to stay safe. As long as the schools are open, then our practice will be too.”
To nominate a business, charity or enterprise visit http://r-awards.co.uk/; nominations close on October 21.
Story by Catherine Smyth Media