14 July 2015

Colleen tutoring with client Mary Riley

Back in 2010, Colleen Jeffery set up 1-2-1 Home Computer Tutoring.

Colleen came to Nwes and followed the Women’s Enterprise Coaching (WEC) programme which was part-funded by The European Social Fund and supported by the East of England Development Agency in the East of England.  Designed to help women with a budding business idea or who were looking to develop skills and confidence to prepare for employment, the programme offered tailored, one-to-one coaching.  In total 1,083 women from our region were coached through the programme, with 578 setting up a business or finding employment within 6 months of leaving the course.

“WEC was a women’s only programme which gave it a different dynamic” reflects Jean McNeil, Nwes Business Coach.  “Women are particularly supportive of one another and very open about lack of confidence and their attitude to risk taking. We covered all the business stuff but also did a lot of goal setting, coaching around self-belief, assertiveness, etc. These were lovely courses to teach – all girls together.”

Professional training can make all the difference between success and failure for a new business. Statistics show that new firms locally are 70% more likely to survive if the founders have attended training.

“I wanted to say thank you to everyone who has supported me over the last five years, because without you all I wouldn’t have anything to celebrate!”  – Colleen Jeffery, 121 Home Computer Tutoring

The range of business pre-start skills that were offered under the WEC coaching programme included creating the business operations summary; personal and business aims; investment; marketing and market research; finances; business taxation; bookkeeping; and monitoring your business.

Having developed knowledge in these areas, Colleen began her journey in business ownership.  Five years on Colleen is celebrating the success of her business and has taken the time to thank Nwes for our support, and to look back at her journey:

In March 2010 I was made redundant from the Study Centre, at Norwich City Football Club, where we taught several groups of Over 50’s computer skills, I really enjoyed the classes – it was a labour of love!

After my redundancy I made enquiries at the Job Centre in Norwich, with an idea for a small business and I was told about Nwes – I’ve never looked back.

On my first visit to their Norwich Enterprise Centre, I was nervous and not at all confident. However I was put at ease with my first 1-2-1 interview with Richard Salmon, where I told him my idea of teaching ‘Over 50’s and Beginners computer skills in their own home’. He answered all of my queries and had excellent knowledge of all areas in business and assured me that a business course with Nwes would be the next step, as I was confident of my knowledge of Computers, Internet, Email, Software Programmes etc, he advised me to attend. 

I began the business course and was introduced to Jean McNeil, along with other women with the same idea of ‘going it alone’, with an array of business ideas, from jewellery making and hairdressing to proof reading and selling African clothing!  She gave an overall view of the training course and explained very clearly about Business Planning, Marketing, Finances, Self Assessment (which I had most concerns about), Forecasts and Insurances etc., she was very friendly, knowledgeable and had had experience running her own business. 

I registered as self employed on the 1st June 2010 at the age of 49½ and took the plunge! (I thought life began at 40 not 50)!  At the time of becoming self-employed, I kept going over and over in my mind whether I had made the right decision, one question was whether or not I knew enough people to make it worthwhile? Another was transport, as I have never had the confidence to learn to drive.  However living in the centre of Norwich, the local bus services are close by.  In hindsight, I needn’t have worried, as over the last five years I have seen over 150 students between the ages of 55 and 102, seeing them either weekly, fortnightly, monthly and a few less often. Whilst some of my students are kind enough to drive me to my next clients, and I have managed to organise my appointments in a particular area, so as to cut down on wasted travel time.

Eldest student at 93yrs - Ellen Clark

Ellen Clark, who, aged 93 years, is Colleen’s eldest student

My start up costs were minimal, I needed Public Liability and Personal Accident insurances.  I was also very lucky in not having to pay for advertising, as I had mentioned to former students from the Study Centre about my idea to teach 1-2-1 and so I had a good number of people to begin with,  relying only on word of mouth to friends and family of my students, who are always willing to pass on my contact details.  I had my first student, Ted, whose wife, Lynette, took a few business cards and told her Cringleford flower ladies about my services.  My association with Cringleford has gone from strength to strength, making many new friends, including most of the Committee Members of Phoenix.  I now visit Cringleford and Eaton every Monday.  It is word of mouth and friends of friends that have helped me go from strength to strength. 

In finishing, I would like to thank everyone for the support, generosity, and for putting up with me – long may our friendship and learning continue.

“Colleen must be congratulated for taking a basic business idea, applying her knowledge and skills set plus everything that she learned on the course to start and grow her business” says Jean McNeil. “She listened to the coaching she was given and put it into practise.

“Her success is down to her determination, hard work and perseverance. How lovely that she has taken the time to thank people who have helped her along the way. I wish her every success for the next five years and beyond.”

And a final word from Colleen:  “I would certainly recommend Nwes to others – you couldn’t find anyone less confident than me and if I can do it, anyone can!  It’s better to give it a try, rather than look back and say ‘what if’!”

If you would like support in setting up or growing your business, contact Nwes on 08456 099 991

Written by Davina Young @ Nwes


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