Tell anyone who knows Fiona Ibbetson that she’s just won a major industry award, and their reaction is likely to be “Well, of course she would. Obvs”.

And it’s easy to understand why. The owner of Get Ahead in Leeds and Wakefield made her business profitable in the first three months, created work for 22 people, and expects to triple her revenue this year.

She’s also taking on the additional territory of York and Harrogate which will generate work for many more people as well as making life easier for the business owners she serves by providing outsourced virtual assistants.

“I’d not had my own business before this,” says Fiona, who’d worked for Morrisons supermarkets for 20 years. “That’s why I went down the franchise route.

“The franchise model offers flexibility and leverages the skills of my team to help local businesses. That’s my passion.

“I’ve grown the business really well during the pandemic, despite losing three clients which halved my revenue overnight.

“I’ve had a great mentor in the franchisor, plus I use two business coaches, one for my personal brand.

“I thought networking would be a completely new skill to learn until I realised I’d been networking naturally with peers and colleagues for years.

“My husband’s still working from home as well, and I’m working on my business around my family as well as home-schooling two children. Everybody’s had to adapt.”

Despite the face-to-face networks she relied on for new business vanishing overnight in the pandemic, Fiona built the business up to a team of six plus 16 virtual assistants, and she’s taking on a Business Development Manager to help with the new territory.

“Winning the award is amazing,” she says. “I’m thrilled to be recognised and it puts me up there with other great franchisees which is fantastic.”

The Great British Franchisee Awards recognise franchisees’ exceptional performance and business experience, ability to drive business growth, staff retention, customer satisfaction, community involvement, inspired leadership, and franchise involvement.

The awards are run by whichfranchise, supported by Lloyds Bank, BDO, AMO Consulting and Chantry Group.

• Read more about the awards at https://www.whichfranchise.com/awards

• For over 25 years, whichfranchise has promoted ethical franchise opportunities in the UK. Learn more at https://www.whichfranchise.com/

The first thing we want to say is that we don’t believe your business is boring. You don’t believe your business is boring. Numbers, letters, spreadsheets or cleaning products may not ignite everyone’s passion but they certainly ignite yours. Maybe that’s because you can see how important they are for keeping businesses open; maybe it’s because you can see there’s money to be made.

However, when it comes to marketing, you might not know where to start. But help is at hand! Read on for five ideas for marketing your “boring” business.

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In marketing, the word “content” refers to a high-quality blog, article, white paper, e-book, video or social media post. The type of content you choose to share will depend on you and your business. Video is very engaging, but written content has its place too, and provides an opportunity to incorporate keywords.

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Ambitious entrepreneurs want to take their business to the next level. Depending on where you are in your career, “the next level” might be a taking on a second client, or opening a second office. Whichever step is right for you, outsourcing can help you expand at an affordable pace, without committing to a huge outlay before your return is guaranteed.

Here are three ways that outsourcing can take your business to the next level:

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Sometimes, we have a job on our to-do list that we don’t like doing, or don’t have time to do. Some of those jobs are commonly outsourced – for example, many of us use an accountant and/or an app like Xero to keep on top of our invoicing. But what about cold calling? Or email management? Or social media?

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Top tips from our newest regional director, Joanne McGowan

Joanne McGowan has been part of our network for a number of years, and when we learned she was looking for a franchise opportunity, it sounded like the perfect match. She took over the running of the Guildford and East Surrey office at the start of June.

Joanne has lots of ideas for keeping businesses running smoothly, so she was the perfect person to interview for our holiday blog! Here are some of her insightful tips:

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The Get Ahead team has been growing steadily over the ten years we’ve been running. Now, in addition to our virtual assistants, we also have an ever-growing team of regional directors. The regional directors are all experienced people managers who have come away from the conventional workplace to run their own teams of VAs and manage client accounts. Valuing all the members of the Get Ahead family is an important part of our business – we’ve thrived and grown in the last decade because we’ve invested in our team.

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Get Ahead operates in ten locations around the country, each with its own regional director. The regional director is your central point of contact, connecting you with the right virtual assistants, managing their output and tailoring the package to meet your business needs.

This blog looks at the role of regional directors and their part in delivering the right support for your business.

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LinkedIn always goes a bit quiet over Christmas, with many of us closing for business until New Year. When we all reopened for business, however, Get Ahead hit the ground running and we were pleased to see our first posts of the year getting good traction. Our social media managers are always encouraging Get Ahead clients to be consistent in their posts and we’ve seen for ourselves that it works in practice. In this blog, we look at why it works and how to achieve it for your business.

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At Get Ahead, we spend a lot of time talking about how much time and money our clients save by outsourcing. But the other important benefit of outsourcing is quality. When you outsource to an expert, the work produced is outstanding – just what your business deserves. In this blog, we look at why outsourced work can be of a higher quality than what you can produce yourself – definitely something to bear in mind when you’re planning further steps for your business.

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