Meet the military spouse getting ahead in HR
Jane Fryatt, from Wallingford in Oxfordshire, started her HR consultancy business face2faceHR in June 2018 in order to have a more flexible working life around her young family. A military spouse, Jane is married to Stewy, an RAF engineer serving at RAF Benson.
An experienced professional, Jane was employed as head of HR when she felt compelled to go it alone. The first major decision on her hands was whether to set up alone or as part of a franchise …
She explains: ‘While the initial outlay is more expensive, I decided to launch as part of a franchise as the support that is offered is really amazing and I have been able to get the business off the ground very quickly. I am also able to offer my clients the wider support of the franchise in the event that I’m away or there is a need for specialist skills. I also receive a lot of support from the franchise owner, as well as franchise tools and resources.’
With a franchise engagement comes a fee, which Jane was able to access through X-Forces Enterprise (XFE) in the form of a Start Up Loan.
‘XFE provided me with the capital to be able to set up the business and operate as part of the franchise, and also the courage to do this knowing that I wasn’t going to overstretch myself financially. This has meant that I was able to get out and start client work straight away. I would be a long way from where I am now had I set up completely on my own.
I decided to launch as part of a franchise as the support that is offered is really amazing
‘My business advisor, Dax, was available when I needed him and he touched base regularly to see how my business was progressing. Knowing that someone is there to talk to if I need to is really reassuring.’
face2faceHR is an HR consultancy providing HR advice and guidance to small businesses, with Jane covering Oxfordshire. With services ranging from HR check-ups to employment contracts, Jane offers tailored support to suit the needs of the business, whether it’s a start-up thinking about taking on its first employee or a more established business with 40 staff. The client has access to qualified and experienced HR advice and support without the cost of employing a full-time member of staff.
In order to ensure a seamless income, Jane retained her employed role during the early months of building the business: ‘Setting it up and running it part-time while still working elsewhere has been challenging,’ she says. ‘But it’s been worth it. I really enjoy working with smaller businesses that can make decisions really quickly and where my support really makes a difference to how they manage their people. I love the fact that I am my own boss.
‘For start-ups I offer a one-hour consultation to discuss their HR challenges and needs – it can be really daunting setting up your own business and taking on staff from the outset, and talking to someone can really help you get it right from day one.’
When asked for her advice for other entrepreneurs embarking on their journey into business, Jane recalls the key things she’s learned: ‘If you have a great idea and you love what you do, then go for it. Test your idea on others, but ultimately it’s only you who has the passion and drive to make it work.
If you have a great idea and you love what you do, then go for it
‘I’d also suggest not to join all the business networking groups straight away. Take time to find out which ones work for you; sometimes it’s those you least expect to be beneficial that generate all your leads.
‘And talk to lots of people about your business so you are able to describe it really easily and naturally. I recently had a stand at an exhibition in Oxford and met lots of really interesting and diverse businesses from across the county. The most beneficial element of the day was getting used to talking to people about what I am doing and why – people love it when you put your personality into your business.’
To meet other business owners in the local area, Jane has set up a co-working group on LinkedIn to meet other business owners, called Laptop Monday, which has been useful in growing her contacts.
Ren Kapur MBE, XFE CEO, explains that franchising can be an appealing route into business ownership: ‘Opening a franchise can be a great alternative to starting a business from scratch. Don’t be mistaken, this doesn’t mean it’s an easy ride but, with the support of a bigger company that has proven the business model and built a recognised brand, the franchisee feels reassured and can start to generate a profit more quickly.
‘Jane has recognised that this particular franchise format, in working with other HR professionals, bears benefits for her customers and also suits her personal circumstances as a military spouse. It is a pleasure to be supporting Jane on this exciting chapter as her own boss.’
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