Small business spotlight on: Bloom People
We’re kicking off our first Spotlight of the year with Sarah Turner, founder of Hampshire-based coaching organisation, Bloom People. Operating in London and throughout the South East, Bloom People works with businesses to help them recruit, assess and develop their talent. They also offer private career coaching to individuals.
Bloom People has been established for five years and continues to flourish. We asked Sarah to share some insights into her business and tips for success!
Who are your core target audience?
I work with organisations seeking to cultivate key talent and maximise employee retention. I help them by designing bespoke recruitment and assessment tools, learning and development interventions and coaching programmes. I offer personal development and career coaching to professionals seeking expert career support.
Individuals may seek coaching because they want to make a career change, to find a new role (perhaps following a break from work), or they may be experiencing difficulties in their current role and want some confidential external coaching to help them work through the key issues.
Why did you set up Bloom People?
I set up Bloom People because I wanted to grow and develop my career, and to do so flexibly in a way that would fit around my children. Having worked in HR for a number of years and gained an MSc Occupational Psychology as well as a Coaching qualification, I wanted to work on a project basis in a way that would utilise my skills and offer intellectual challenge.
How has Bloom People evolved over the past 5 years?
When I first started out, I worked almost exclusively as an Associate, which meant that other organisations would win business and then sub-contract work to me. The challenge with this is that there is no way of forecasting what work was going to come in each year.
Over time, I have gradually expanded my network and this has resulted in work that meant I have managed the client relationship as well as delivering the work. I am now starting to focus on generating a much greater percentage of my work directly with clients rather than working as an Associate.
What has been your biggest success to date?
Establishing some longer-term client relationships whereby I have delivered ongoing coaching programmes. I have a couple of clients for whom I offer coaching to employees who have recently been promoted, and these relationships have been in place for over two years.
I think receiving positive feedback from coaching clients, particularly when they have come to coaching in a difficult place, probably lacking confidence and really feeling stressed about the situation they find themselves in. I love watching them grow and flourish as they challenge themselves through coaching and start to take big decisions that ultimately lead to career changes which bring them huge amounts of joy, satisfaction and success.
Many of my clients keep in touch with me sending me updates as to what has happened and how they are getting on. I love that – it’s why I do what I do!
And biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge for me has been to have a plan. Because I started out working as an Associate, there was no way that I could plan because my clients didn’t know when/if/for how long they would need to engage my services.
I am a natural planner, but I am still adjusting to the idea of really needing to look ahead for the business, set a strategy and be clear about my goals. It’s definitely work in progress.
What advice would you give someone considering setting up a new business?
- Invest time in working out who your target audience is and what you offer them.
- Be honest with yourself about where your skills lie and find people to fill the gaps in your expertise (e.g., a virtual assistant or marketing guru like Paula!).
- Have a plan!
What is next for Bloom People?
I am in the process of putting together a marketing strategy for the services I can offer SME’s as I am increasingly working with clients in this space, and I can see an opportunity for me to provide my services to them on a project basis.
I am also working with a colleague to offer one-day career coaching workshops for individuals who may not be able to afford to pay for a programme of one-to-one coaching sessions.
Additionally, I am working with two different clients to offer maternity coaching and career skills workshops for mums looking to return to work and find flexible employment – something I feel very passionately about!
To find out more about Bloom People visit: www.bloompeople.co.uk