Thursday, 26 April 2018

15 Years and still #Aheadofthecurve


We will be celebrating 15 years at redheadPR in June and I wanted to celebrate by explaining my journey. It might even help you!  I presented this at a recent event and it was received very well.    Like so many things in life, a business takes passion, patience, planning, respect and – ultimately – love, and everyone knows, I love business and entrepreneurialism and in a way, ‘love being in love’.

What drove me

Looking back at my own journey, ‘love’ is what inspired me.   From the junior school age, I lived with my parents in a residential home for the elderly in Wiltshire and so the concept of ‘business’ and customers were all around me from the start of my life.   My mother started it from a start-up.  

I was surrounded by love, care, incontinence, schizophrenia, dementia and sometimes death – it was complicated and lovely all at the same time.

It was incredibly, rewarding and humbling. I got to hear the most vivid memories first hand from extraordinary people. I saw them improve, develop and grow.  Many came to us in awful conditions of neglect and illness. 

So, in a way, my journey – my aspirations – were built upon seeing people at the end stage of life and my mother’s work with them. And, whilst that may sound sad – it gave stark reality check and inspiration from my first mentor – My Mother.

I understood only too well that to retire well and enjoy those generous last years of life, we have to work hard and plan ahead.  Something we need to help the current and future generations to understand.

Now, having said all that, I didn’t go through school as a goody two-shoes.

I was restless and disruptive at school – I had energy, ideas and a mouth to articulate them. And, I did. So, whilst I was academically good, I was obviously bound to fail.

I couldn’t sit still, I couldn’t concentrate. Nowadays I would have been told I was suffering from an illness. I knew I would have to try and do something different and extraordinary.  In fact, my motto was – ‘I wanted and extraordinary life’ 

I was into everything not knowing where I was going and what I was doing. 

Making things and selling them, mountaineering, classical guitar, pottery it goes on and on.  And I did all this, all at the same time.

My one major objective was to be in London.

My two other adolescent goals were to make lots of money and retire early – just like all of those glamourous, flaming red haired sirens from the golden age. I saw no reason why my future riches wouldn’t lead to me being on the front page of Vogue.

I failed at school and college and went off to study management the Old Regent Circus Swindon College which was part of Wiltshire Management college. I did this for six years while I worked.  A teacher contacted me recently and said I had made him very very proud. 

I soaked up everything.   

If I was taught about an entrepreneur then I wanted to be one, if technology was on the syllabus then I wanted to be in it.  That was how I felt and to be honest, it’s still how I feel. 

But as I grew, I knew that I wanted a future of success, financial independence and meaning. Nearly everything I did was geared towards achieving that and I set my own objectives.

What I did to make it happen

As a young adult, I had the energy and attitude to live life at a hundred miles an hour. Some people called me manic and an enigma. 

I did everything I could to open my eyes to the grown-up world around me. And I never lost sight of my end-game. I put myself daily out of my comfort zone.  I don’t know why.  Adrenaline? 

Some Saturdays I drove from Swindon to Harvey Nicholls in my 950 Fiesta. Just to see the latest fashions and trends – I was there to see the launch of Mac make-up.

Then I went to work with at the Royal Military College of Science – mainly because I knew it would be a good grounding.  There is a protocol in the military and organisational structure is driven by the leadership theorist John Adair, which makes the military a very good learning organisation.

I then deliberately went to work for a huge utilities because I wanted the experience of post privatisation, regulation and a commodity  - water.

They had a mainframe computer and we didn’t use computers like that where I currently worked so I needed to get involved in one or else I would be left behind.

But in many ways, it took my career – and my life - to a new level. I ran its community stakeholder communications programme for a £2 billion investment programme.

Stakeholder communications and relations at the most sophisticated level at the age of 21.  I was involved in some of the largest public consultations ever.

Then studying The Body Shop at College, I knew I wanted to work for Anita Roddick. Anita was extraordinary – talented, passionate, real, authentic. I may never be as successful as her, but I recognised the drive and the ‘real-ness’. She was a communications expert. Originally a human rights activist and English teacher. 

And so, I worked with her and her team.

She was - and always will be – my second inspiration.

After working with Anita, it had to be a super brand that I worked with – Yellow Pages – again deliberate at 27.

And I helped it move through its greatest period of change as it moved towards the ‘Yell’ brand. I took control of a £3.5 million budget.

Those jobs equipped me with the balls to realise that I was more than capable. And, that I could succeed and make an impact.

By jumping in at the deep end with big jobs like that, I quickly cut my teeth – I recognised that I was on the right track.

But the biggest things I had to deal with are the barriers.

The things that delayed me, made me cry and feel lonely, that led to depression and – at times – despair.   The things we all deal with.

By the turn of the Millennium I was about to launch my own business in the centre of London. I was divorced. I was utterly focused on the long-term and not living for now: money in the bank, investing for retirement. 

I had no children, my social life outside work was non-existent, I rarely went on holidays. I didn’t even buy lovely things for the house so that I could enjoy being at home. It was business – and nothing else.

My life was – on the surface – glamourous (which was what I always wanted) – swish London parties, events, launches, working with the great and the good. Money, cars, houses. But was I happy?

The business grew, but like so many single career-driven women in London, I was lonely.

And then – the 2008 global crash.  

I honestly never thought I would come back from that.  I nearly lost everything - including my motivation. After years of working for the business rather than for me, I ended up suffering a devastating defeat when that recession happened.  I thought for a long time it was my fault.  But I hung on by the skin of my teeth and found the strength to get through it. 

I nearly lost all my property, I lost relationships, employees, savings. That’s extremely difficult to deal with and I was doing it on my own.

That’s when I came back to Swindon.

But, what saved me was me. 

The things that make you succeed during the good times are the same things that help you survive during the bad times.

I cut back, downsized and cut my cloth accordingly. But more than anything I just knew I had to get out of bed in the morning and make it happen.

Because the alternative was defeat.

I managed my own expectations. And perhaps the greatest thing about that awful recession was the way it made me take stock.

I leant on my faith and that continues to sustain me. I also have two amazing daughter now.

But, that burning desire for success did not and will not leave me.  I built my business again here in Swindon.

I have rebuilt my life by listening to myself.  And I am now back at the top of my game, better than ever before. I have a great company, a home full of love and two wonderful children. I have regained what I lost – but this time it’s real. 

My top tips

If I were able to travel back in time to that flame-headed eight-year-old, who sat drinking tea with old people, and give her some advice, I would say this:

Be relentless – it always pays off. The day you can’t get up – fight it. Just get up – because trust me it will feel different in an hour or so.

Read, read, read listening and watch. I read everything - and it gives me inspiration. It gives me ideas. Never stop reading.

Build a support team – you will not be able to do what you want without great friends, partners, suppliers, wives, husbands, dog walkers, cleaners, brothers and sisters, your children.

Writing and maths – if you can’t do them learn.  Learn what you need to.  Maths is quickly forgotten – so even when you leave school, try to ditch the calculator at work and use your head.

Do 100% then add on another 100% - at that will make you successful – there’s the x10 theory: something and then 10 times more.

Pray. You may or may not believe…and some people call it mediation or affirmation. But take the time, to be calm. To say thank you. To be at ease. To reflect.

Be an ethically good business person – you can sleep well every night if you do the RIGHT thing.

Chaos, embrace it – being out of control is OK.  It’s normal and it WILL happen, especially when you are really successful – just sail through it as if you are surfing a wave.

Always be fit and healthy – It’s worth it.

Focus – don’t get distracted, do not come up with too many ideas – whatever route you take you will get there.

If you do all of that – and never forget about loving those around you – then like a hard-earned marriage – you will end up being a very happy.

As my business turns 15 years old, with the benefit of age and pain and reflection – I know that I what I set out to achieve I have.  I have all the things I dreamt of. 

Not, as it happens, to be on the front page of Vogue…but to grow old comfortably and surrounded of course surround by love.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Sara Tye presents Business of the Year Award and Key Note Speaks at The Whitewed Awards 2018


Creative wedding photographer Elizabeth Donovan was presented with the Business of the Year award in The Whitewed Directory Awards from industry expert, and keynote speaker of the evening, Sara Tye.

Elizabeth Donovan’s entry was chosen as the winner by an independent judging panel, made up of three highly respected industry professionals, including Sara Tye. She received her award on 1 February 2018 at the Doubletree by Hilton Swindon.

Sara Tye is an award-winning business and organisational development expert, a top 500 international PR, and serial entrepreneur. She is the founder and managing director of redheadPR, chair of Swindon Triathlon Club and a top business development mentor.

The Whitewed Directory is a definitive directory of recommended and trusted wedding suppliers designed to help customers plan and organise their wedding day. The Whitewed Directory Awards were launched in June 2017 to highlight and support the best wedding service suppliers working in Wiltshire and Gloucestershire.

As keynote speaker of the evening, Sara shared her own experiences and her "life long journey". Sara spoke of her inspiration and drive from 15 years old until now, her ups and downs and how she manages her life and achievements.

Sara explained: "I was most impressed by Elizabeth's entry. She single-handedly runs every aspect of her business. Not only is she running a successful business, she is also a mum.  I know the difficultly of juggling all this and the discipline needed to remain focused and grow a business. Elizabeth has demonstrated that she always goes the extra mile and has an exceptional eye for attention to detail."


Elizabeth Donovan’s approach during her six years of trading has been photographing weddings in a natural way. She initially built her customers from wedding fayres but now gets around half her bookings simply through her fantastic reputation among past couples and suppliers she has worked with over the years.

Elizabeth has been fully booked for the past four years. Her bookings are boosted by enquiries from online channels and referrals from her professional and information-paked website. This reflects her creative and open approach, including regularly updated blog pieces, supplier connections and search engine optimisation.

Elizabeth Donovan’s award was one of four to be presented on the night. Winners were announced for Business Person of the Year 2017, as well as recognition for the Most Inspiring Business Person of the Year 2017 and the region's Start-up Business of the Year 2017.

To find out more visit 
http://www.whitewed.directory/ww-awards.html

Monday, 8 January 2018

A double milestone celebration for renowned businesswoman Sara Tye


Sara Tye, a guru of business development and entrepreneur, was proud to celebrate two massive milestones this at the end of 2017 and raise £100 for the British Skin Foundation charity. 

As the founding and managing director of redheadPR, 2018 marks the company's 15th year in business, as it continues to go from strength to strength. Sara also celebrated her 50th birthday on the 10 of December. She chose to celebrate both of these milestones by spending time with her friends and family, and reflecting on all she has to be thankful for when it comes to her success in business and in life.

Sara Tye is one of the leading businesswomen in the UK, standing amongst the top 500 experts in public relations and business development. Across her ever-growing enterprises, she's seen the unstoppable growth of her own business, become the chair of Swindon Triathlon club, and developed an impressive multi-million-pound property portfolio.

Celebrations for Sara's recent double milestone took place at Marco Pierre White's Bardolino restaurant in Swindon, and brunch at the exquisite restaurant was certainly a fitting way to celebrate a spectacular 50 years for the businesswoman.

Sara took the opportunity at this double celebration to raise awareness of skin disease, asking guests at her birthday to donate to the British Skin Foundation - a charity very close to her heart. Over 60% of people in Britain are suffering or have suffered from a skin condition. Sara Tye has chosen to bring attention to this charity with the same passion with which she approaches everything in life, and managed to raise £100 at the brunch.

Sara said "It's important to celebrate these milestones. As my 50th birthday coincided with redheadPR turning 15 years old, I thought it appropriate to celebrate. It's been a tough few years, from fighting to keep my business going through the recession, to moving back to Swindon after over 20 years in London. It's important to reflect. To look back as well as forward, and be thankful for what you have. To me, that is my family, friends and business."
Acting as a mentor to countless start-up companies across the UK and internationally through redheadPR, Sara has helped businesses increase their revenues, reduce overheads and use better working practices – to this end becoming more profitable.

The 15th birthday of redheadPR was an opportunity for Sara's hardworking team to celebrate their successes past and present. They've been providing online strategies and business development techniques to deliver spectacular results for quite a while now, and looking at their trajectory, it's no question that this success will continue long into the future.


Saturday, 6 January 2018

TriMark Club Bronze Accreditation for Swindon Triathlon Club


As the chair of Swindon Triathlon Club, I'm immensely pleased and proud to say that we've achieved the TriMark Club Bronze award. Not only that, but we're the first club in the South West of England to do so! 



I’ve been involved in quality and best practice since I started my career.  Thames Water was a quality management business and being one makes a difference. My business, redheadPR is also a best practice business achieving 93% in the consultancy management standard. Quality means: no waste, good practice, smart working, quality output and continuous refinement and improvement.   



That’s why it’s important for a great and growing club, like Swindon Triathlon Club, to be run along best practice lines, and to be recognised for it too. 



The TriMark award is part of an accreditation scheme designed to help triathlon clubs offer a consistent and safe environment for triathletes. The aims are to increase the standard of triathlon coaching and regulation across England and attract more people to the sport. It was developed by Triathlon England in conjunction with Sport England. 
 
The scheme has been running since April 2017 and is aimed at all community clubs promoting and running triathlons. To join the scheme we had to have an established committee, a recognised constitution and offer membership to all. We also had to show that we could offer a high level of regular activities, run by qualified coaches. 
 
Clubs who've gained this level of organisation can prove they offer a safe and rewarding place where people from all walks of life can be involved in triathlons. People can try out the sport, the different disciplines and take part as much or as little as they like. 
 
Gaining the TriMark Club Bronze Accreditation is a fantastic achievement for Swindon Triathlon Club and shows how well the club is run. We've got a great team of volunteers on the committee, putting a massive amount of effort into supporting over 100 members. We're involved in all forms of triathlon, from sprints to long-distance ironman events and have a wide variety of members from all ages and walks of life. 
 
Swindon is a great place for triathletes, with fantastic running and cycling routes along with excellent lake venues. Club members range from novices to international ironman competitors and we have a wide range of membership options to make it easy for anyone to join. At the moment the membership split is nearly 50:50 between male and female. 

Swindon is also a great place to do best practice business.  Win Win 

 
If you want to try out this exhilarating sport, find out more about Swindon Triathlon Club at www.swindontriathlonclub.co.uk and come along. 

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Don't drop any baubles when juggling this Christmas


With Christmas fast approaching, I wanted to take a step back and look at how you can effectively manage your time and have a fun and productive period. For me personally, I have a business to run, kids to please, as well as Wimbleball middle distance triathlon to train for!

Mastering the art of juggling

Managing to keep on top of everything and provide a memorable Christmas for all of your family means being able to juggle multiple tasks at once. Here are some of my top tips that I use and which you can try as well.

Be organised ahead of time

As a global award-winning PR, I understand the need for preparation. It helps you stay organised at busy times and keep on top of all tasks. This means preparing not just your business schedule, but also all other tasks of running a household, and any other passions you pursue.

Set expectations

This means managing everyone's expectations of what you will be able to get done. What is actually achievable in the time given? This includes any clients, you have, as well as kids who are expecting to get to see their mother more over the holidays. There are only 24 hours in a day and you have to be realistic in terms of what you can deliver.

Take some time off

This comes down to great preparation and is crucial to avoiding burnout. The Christmas period is a time to see your family and actually take some time off. So, even though you will still be busy, do schedule in some much needed time to switch off. It also means putting in the extra effort for the first two weeks of December. Four weeks' worth of work needs can be squeezed into two, and it will be worth it in the end, trust me.

Online shopping is great!

I wonder how much time it would be if you calculated the hours spent queuing in department stores and sitting in traffic. Shop online and spend a little bit more for gift wrapping and you can get 90% with the click of a button. I actually buy gift throughout the year too so that there isn’t as much to do in December.

Where’s the proof?

Well, I’ve been doing exactly this, and much more, for years now, and Christmas 2017 will be no different! My triathlon in Exmoor takes place next June and I’m already well into my training schedule. My plan over Christmas is to get up early so I can still see my family in the daytime, as well as training with my daughters and the dog, who are also passionate triathletes – LOL. To top it off, I will be hosting Christmas day this year!

As a final tip, if you are also cooking Christmas dinner, why not save a little time by roasting all vegetables, rather than spending hours preparing and cooking four (or more) varieties. Also, why fill the entire oven with a whole turkey that takes hours to cook, when you can just by for a crown, which is far less effort and cooks twice as quick!  I also get a lot of the items in foil trays.  To reduce washing up!

Have a happy, productive (and cost effective) Christmas.