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We are very proud to announce that our very own Managing Director and co-founder Robyn Holmes has been shortlisted for Forward Ladies’ prestigious 2018 Female Entrepreneur award!
The Forward Ladies National Awards and Summit is the country’s biggest celebration of successful businesswomen and female entrepreneurs throughout the UK. With an independent judging panel consisting of senior management leaders and founders from HSBC, Coffee Republic, Tastecard, Accenture and more, the accolade is only awarded to truly exceptional entrepreneurs.
Employing nearly 50 members of staff working across 6 distinctive divisions, Robyn takes pride in the innovative structure of her teams. All 6 are, in effect, self-managing micro-companies, which she is now able to oversee with a light-touch management style. Robyn attributes much of her business’ success to her positive and nurturing leadership style: “I know from experience happy staff who feel they are part of the journey are much more inclined to do well at their job if happy in their work environment and valued and trusted by their managers.”
So how did a local Witham girl and working mum become one of the most successful female entrepreneurs in the whole of the London and South England region? Robyn shared with us the 5 principles that she abides by which have helped her become one of the most successful women in business in the South East:
1. Stay fit, healthy and positive
They say optimists are more successful, and Robyn’s story is definitely testament to this fact! A true fitness fanatic, Robyn credits her resilient, can-do attitude and sunny outlook to her exceptional health and fitness. She says: “I am 'a cup half full person' and I always look for the positives in any situation, this has always proved to be a great ethos and has certainly worked for me.”
Robyn also makes it far easier for her staff to reap the same benefits of fitness, by subsidizing their gym memberships. As anyone who has tried to sign up with a good quality gym in Essex recently will be aware, this is a generous move for the owner of a small-to-medium sized business!
2. Think SMART – set specific, measurable, achievable, realist and time-based goals
To make her dreams a reality, Robyn kept things simple. Although she had big plans for Prime, she focused on the present rather than fantasizing about the future. After all, although a little success visualization can be healthy, experts increasingly agree that too much dreaming actually damages your chancesof attaining your goals. Moreover, when you take into account the fact 9 out of 10 startups fail, the level of grit it takes an entrepreneur to make their dreams a reality is impressive.
To keep her feet on the ground, Robyn made goal setting and tracking a major priority from the outset: “Planning, goal setting, analysis and reviewing statistics and trends was always a key part of my routine.” By setting and measuring Prime’s day-to-day goals and setting time aside to strategize accordingly, Robyn managed to beat the odds and achieve her dream.
3. Take a managerial step back so you can think strategically forward
Entrepreneurs, female or otherwise, like doing things themselves. As such, learning to delegate can be a steep learning curve. But for Robyn, it was a skill worth mastering – and the results have paid off!
“I have developed the discipline to stand back from the day to day operational aspects of my business. My time and energy is on staff development, analysis and review of our successes and challenges to help focus the team on niche markets and activity which will grow our business.”
All in all, delegating effectively has enabled Robyn to stand back, take a bird’s eye view of her company and plan ahead. She believes this is one reason Prime Appointments has managed to stay a step ahead and stay competitive.
4. Invest in innovation!
Sometimes, you have to spend to save and in today’s world, entrepreneurs can’t afford not to spend on branding. That’s why Robyn places immense importance on keeping up with the times where Prime’s website and digital marketing strategy is concerned:
“I recognise the value of constant innovation and improvement. The new site is engaging and really expresses our values and our people as a friendly professional brand through video shorts, time lapse and creative photography.”
Ultimately, all this is with her clients and candidates in mind. “Our website is paramount to marketing our business, clients and candidates alike use to profile us before getting in touch, so investment in SEO and taking our business online in the form of an app has helped us keep ahead of our competition – I want to make it easy to do business with us.”
5. Give back
As a born and bred Witham-ite, giving back to her local community was always going to be a top priority for Robyn. To do her bit, she has taken an active role in helping establish an Agency Worker Regulations working group. This had made a huge difference in making it easier for employers to understand and enforce the rights of their temporary workers. She says:
“As one of the largest employers in Witham my business supplies 400+ temporary staff to clients, I believe temporary workers do deserve the same opportunities as directly employed staff. I was a key influencer in helping our governing body (Recruitment Employment Confederation) and Government representatives work through and understand the operational implications of AWR. The project delivered advice, guidance and information to the UK Recruitment Industry as a whole.”
Robyn also takes an active role in supporting local schools and college levers through a range of initiatives designed to encourage them to consider roles with local industries. In this way, Prime are able to live up to their iconic pear and orange tree logo, by helping local people and businesses grow.
It’s hard to believe it’s been 26 years since Robyn and her friend and co-founder Margaret decided, over a glass of wine in a local Witham pub, to start their own business. Now with a 50% female senior management team at the helm of their thriving business, they are immensely proud to have come so far. Robyn hopes her own achievements will inspire many other women to pursue their dreams, in whichever fields they choose to conquer! Back in the office, her team look forward to hearing the results of Forward Ladies’ awards night. Whatever the outcome, they will be honoured to have made it this far.
Watch this space to find out the result!
For more information about Prime’s story and values, check out our “About Us” page.