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We spoke with one of our Business Advisers, Fiona Little, to find out more about her role, her advice to growing businesses and which town she thinks does the best fish and chips!
Hi Fiona. Let’s start with work, what does a ‘normal’ day constitute for you?
Every day is different! There are no two days the same. One day I could be visiting a small, family-run blacksmith, the next day I could be in a fast-growing, high-tech medical company. There’s such a huge variety of businesses within both Norfolk and Suffolk and I’m lucky my job involves me learning about what these exciting companies do, including the ‘hidden gems’ of our region.
What do did you enjoy the most about working at the Growth Hub?
I’ve enjoyed understanding and experiencing what the two counties are like from a wider business point of view, which is something that lots of people don’t get to see. It’s been a real eye-opener finding out how much support is out there and now I get to be a part of that – helping businesses change, grow and reach success.
What experience and skills have you brought to your Business Adviser role?
I’ve come from a mainly commercial background which gives an insight into the kind of issues businesses can face. My career has been really diverse; working in the energy, manufacturing, insurance and retail sectors, and from big corporate organisations to small family-run businesses. I think my varied experience will be beneficial to helping others overcome the challenges that come with running and growing a business.
What achievement are you proudest of in your career?
Without sounding cheesy, this one! I’ve done my years in high-pressured, target-focused sales and now I get to put what I’ve learnt back into the business community and help them to achieve their goals.
What are some key challenges businesses face in the growth stage, and how do you help them overcome this?
I think one of the biggest challenges that businesses face is understanding and tackling the risks that come with growth. It’s about having the knowledge to make those changes, having that key support to get you there and keep the business growing. Every time you gain a bigger pool of customers, you’re also exposing yourself to a lot of risk that comes with that growth. Making that leap from a small to medium business is exciting but it’s about managing your expectations and being prepared.
Why would you recommend a business contacts the Growth Hub?
We offer so much support for all phases of growth. Just one of the areas of support we help with is skills, with two dedicated skills advisers on hand to help develop and future-proof your team, which opens a lot of opportunity for growth. I would definitely recommend getting in touch with the Growth Hub, no matter your size, challenge or growth stage. You’re never done learning so if there are tools and support out there, especially for free, you should use them!
What do you think makes Norfolk and Suffolk an exciting place to grow a business?
Modesty and mystery! You really underestimate the diverse talent that is right on our doorstep. There are a lot of hidden gems in Norfolk and Suffolk.
What would your ‘Desert Island’ disc, film and book be?
Disc: Lana Del Rey
Film: The Notebook
Book: Little Women
And finally, where is your happy place in Norfolk or Suffolk?
Aldeburgh. Especially in the late afternoon, with the family, enjoying fish and chips and an ice cold Adnams. They do the best fish and chips in the whole of the UK!
Thank you, Fiona, for sharing your experiences and advice.
For fully-funded, one to one business advice, please call our business support helpline on 0300 333 6536 or email email@example.com.
For free, one-to-one business support, call us on 0300 333 6536 or get in touch using our contact form
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