This week on my Mums in Business series I’m excited to the featuring Lesley who created We Mean Business; a marketing consultancy set-up to support startups make a dream become a reality and ensure that they are getting the figures that they deserve. Lesley is a passionate believer of women in business, and that’s why I’m really excited to feature her as part of my series.
So if you’re looking for support with your start-up or want to get your business off the ground check out We Mean Business, and have a read of my interview with Lesley.
Tell me a little bit about you, your background and We Mean Business?
Hi, my name is Lesley Bambridge, mum to Adeline 9 months, and founder of We Mean Business | London where we make big brand marketing accessible for startup budgets.
I used to work for big corporates and FMCG businesses, but after 15 years of building and managing some of the UK’s largest household brands such as Ferrero Rocher, Aquafresh, Lucozade, I found I was looking for a new challenge. So I set out to bring the exclusive marketing techniques of high-profile businesses to startups and entrepreneurs, helping them to cut out the need for big agencies and teams when they don’t have the cash, but ensuring they are building brands that will last, and putting marketing at the heart of all they do.
What were your drivers and motivations for setting up We Mean Business?
I’m passionate about helping those who want to create something for themselves, and I also love brands and the challenge of finding the right audience and the right ways of getting them excited about new products and services. I’m also passionate about supporting women in business, which is why the ‘We” in We Mean Business stands for Women & Entrepreneurs.
51% of the UK population are women, and whilst here are almost half a million new start ups created each year (SFEDI report) and the no. of female entrepreneurs has risen by nearly 10% in the last 2 years (Office of National Statistics); still only 19% of business owners are female (RBS, Women In Enterprise Report) and only 26% of FTSE 100 board members are women. Although this figure has grown from 12.5% in 2011, there is still a long way to go to reach gender balance (Women on Boards, Davies Review 2015).
I have made it my mission to support women & entrepreneurs who are running their own business to ensure that these figures continue to grow. My marketing consultancy and marketing mentoring services are able to provide a network of experience, support and advice to compliment women in business and help ensure these figures continue rising.
How do you balance the business around family and childcare?
I had my first baby, Adeline back in May 2017, and have come back to work with a bang since January. I returned to work quite quickly – easing myself back in by working with some clients after just 4 months, as I recognised that to be the best version of me I need to have a sense of purpose and feel like I’m working to help others and develop myself, and work is really important in helping me to achieve this.
I love work because it’s nice to get out, be your old self, and remember that you had a whole career and life before this tiny little bundle of love came along and rocked your world.
I want Addie to be proud of me as she grows, and I want her to see her mum a strong female role model who works hard to achieve what she wants in life. But finding the right balance can be a challenge, as whether its work or being a mum, you always want to do the best job you can.
The flexibility of working for yourself is great when you have a child, and being able to work remotely means we can travel and make the most of the time we are not working as well.
Since setting up the business what’s been your biggest success to date?
My biggest successes to date are the amazing clients I’ve had the privilege of working with – we’ve helped some fantastic startups such as NIX&KIX, Fitty LDN, LFA Agency, Builders Bay, ItsyBlitz, and its always such an honour to be part of their journey to success. I’ve also just been shortlisted as a Top 50 UK Adviser, and in the Top 5 for Branding by Enterprise Nation & Experian as part of their Top 50 Adviser campaign, which is also a massive honour as well.
What’s your top tip for Mums who are thinking about setting up their own business?
In terms of tips for those thinking of starting their own business – anyone can do it, even those that think they can’t can. But it takes a huge amount of personal strength, resilience and perseverance, and hard work, and that is usually before you start to see any signs of success – so you have to be up for the challenge – that is the key to doing well. The other essential thing is to be passionate about what you are doing, and truly believe in what you are selling – as if you don’t believe in it, no one else will, and it is this passion that will see you through the tough times.
Running your own business can be lonely at times, so I always encourage my startups to get out there and network with other like-minded founders and businesses rather than stilling in silence on your own, contemplating how hard things are and how unprepared you feel. If you just reach out and get out to meet people, as you’ll see everyone is in the same boat, you’ve got this, and actually you’re doing great!
Thank you so much Lesley for taking part in my series, it was lovely to interview you, and I wish you the best of luck in the future.
If you would like to be part of my Mums in Business then just drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or have a nose at some of the other businesses I have featured in my series: Chinskitchen, Kids to Career, and Moment Health.