Parents in Business featuring Lid Project

Parents in Business featuring Lid Project

This week I’m delighted to introduce Gemma and Dan to my Parents in Business series with their business; Lid Project, an agency that operates as a “plug-in” sales and marketing team to support other businesses when they need it!

Oh my gosh what an amazing business this is, and what an amazing ethos there is behind it. Gemma and Dan sound like two of the hardest working people I’ve come across with such passion and determination for the business to succeed, yet at the same time know how to balance the business with family life and are not afraid of bringing their child into the work place. So please all have a read of this interview and I promise that it will leave you feeling inspired…..

Tell me a little bit about you, your background, and your business?

Dan and myself are like chalk and cheese, friends, family and work connections often comment on our contrasting styles of operating, personalities and parenting techniques. Nevertheless, Lid Project has gone from strength to strength, and we’re immensely proud of what we’ve created so far. We joined forces officially in 2015, I brought an international fashion sales background to the table and Dan came with extensive events industry experience. Together we began our quest to build an agency that operates as “a plug in sales & marketing team”.

Lid Project has evolved naturally; the initial concept was about promoting a series of complementary businesses to an end user / buyer. As we have strengthened our team, and client base, our services and projects have developed too. We pride ourselves on being a strong plug in sales & business development team – allowing businesses to access high levels of sales experience, without needing to bring employees in internally. The Lid Project team learns about it’s clients products and services, who their ideal buyer is and then gets to work on bringing these opportunities forward. We network on our clients behalf, become the sales team at client event’s, lead internal sales departments and account manage our clients key customers for them. 

What were your motivations for setting up your business?

I was looking for more, Dan was looking for unconventional. 

My motivators while I was employed by corporate businesses (Folli Follie, Supergroup Plc, Bestseller) was to bring on a new account, visit a new territory, have a bigger team, go after the promotion. My expectations of myself were, (and continue to be) very high. I realised that I could push for that more, and continue to strive with Lid Project. 

Dan was developing quite a reputation for himself, and wanted to be able to deliver and win more than he could as an independent – he recognised that I would be much better at his reporting, negotiating terms on contracts and bringing in a team. He’s been described over the years as “the missing piece” “unbelievably good” and “way too much (energy) to have in the office for a full day”

How do you balance the business around your family and childcare?

It would be dishonest to say this is easy, I spent the best part of two years feeling slightly guilty, and I’ve realised now that, (thankfully) I’m not alone in this. I returned to work 8 weeks after coming out of hospital. If I was doing well at work; winning new clients and delivering well on projects, I was missing out on afternoons in the park, cuddles and bath time. If I was at the Mums group coffee mornings eating cake and discussing weaning – I was desperate to get back to conference calls and signing contracts – I felt like I couldn’t win. 
 
One of the things that we wanted the business to be was flexible – and it totally is, we speak to our clients at 10pm if necessary and respond on their working days and time zones. With this we have built trusting and strong relationships that totally accept when childcare plans don’t quite go to plan – I have been the Mum to have a 2 year old assistant in a trade meeting, and Dan has been the Dad who brings an extra guest (and crayons) to the client lunch. More recently we’ve started to talk about why Mummy and Daddy go to work and the general consensus is that this is “to buy sweeties, yoghurt and cucumber”. We’re encouraging the children to talk about pocket money, choosing what to use their money for and making some choices around their activities. It’s because of all this that we’ve got two little helpers, who love to pretend they’re on work calls and are very good at hand shaking to introduce themselves. 
 
We are extremely fortunate – and have wonderfully supportive families.  They understand our desire to build an international business and help with everything that comes with caring for a family and a home. We are genuinely excited about what is to come with Lid Project, and it is this enthusiasm that drives me to get up 2 hours before the children do, both of us to stop working around tea time and pick back up again later on in the evening.  
 
We’re pretty good at making sure we eat well and at reasonable times, and occasionally take advantage of work trips that we can tag a date night onto. 

Since setting up your business what has been your biggest success to date?

We consistently take things into our stride, we are building an international business, and it’s all through hard work and doing things that feel right, rather than having a comprehensive plan upfront. I am most pleased with our decision to start working internationally, and applying what we have been doing in the UK for the past 3 years to an international audience. We began expanding into international territories in August 2018 and now have projects and clients in; USA, South Korea, UAE, and The Netherlands.

What’s your top tip for anyone who is thinking about setting up their own business?

If it feels right, and you’ve got passion & excitement for it – then give it a go. Tweak and improve your offering as you go along and respond to what your customers are asking for! If you’d like to run anything by us – we’re a friendly bunch, do get in touch!

Thank you so much Gemma and Dan for letting me and Lid Project as part of my Parents in Business series! I wish you both the best of luck in the future. 
 
You can find out more about Lid Project by visiting the website or Instagram, or by following Gemma and Dan on LinkedIn. 

If you like what you’re reading and would love to be part of my Parents in Business series just drop me an email: thepramshedblog@gmail.com. Or have a nose at some of the other businesses I have featured in the series: Parents in BizMojo Yard, and KIH Products.

Claire x

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