We talk to Karen Cureton, founder of Cureton Consulting, about what motivates her in business and find out what advice she would give to someone just starting out
What do you currently do?
I run Cureton Consulting, a sales and social media consultancy which I founded. We’re based near East Midlands Airport which is handy for travel! There are three of us in the team and we work mainly with small to medium enterprises across the Derbyshire and Leicestershire region, helping them maximise their profits by offering a personalised advice, support and training in social media management, business development, sales and social media training.
What was the inspiration behind your business?
Having always worked in the corporate world, when I had my son I felt as though this was a perfect time to explore running my own business. Like a lot of mums, a big pull in this direction was the flexibility it offered when it came to managing time around my family life. I have always worked in sales ever since I was 14 and had a Saturday job in House of Fraser, and before I left the corporate world I was a sales director for a national housebuilder. In this job I was very involved in training my team so sales training and social media seemed like a natural progression.
Who do you admire?
I admire a lot of people who are successful in business. It isn’t easy and anyone who can pull off maintaining profits by running an enterprise they believe in gets my vote. Specific examples would be people like Karren Brady and Jacqueline Gold. Karren is just amazing, and I admire her for succeeding in football management which has traditionally been seen as a man’s world, although that’s rapidly changing of course. Jacqueline single-handedly transformed the family Ann Summers business into a mainstay of British shopping life, and I admire her vision and tenacity.
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
Yes – I would have learned faster, networked better and got a business coach sooner! The last point, specifically – I think it’s very important in business to focus on what you’re good at and delegate the rest. This is hard for two reasons: you don’t want to admit there’s anything you’re not good at, and you definitely don’t want to spend money on anything that doesn’t immediately appear vital for your success! But I have found that a business coach is incredibly important – it has helped me prioritise effectively and concentrate on what I do well rather than scrabbling around trying to perform functions where I’m not so skilled.
What defines your way of doing business?
I like to get under the skin of my client’s business and, once I’m hired, I see myself as a member of the team. I think it’s very important for any contracted worker to see themselves in that way. I promise to do what I say I am going to do when I am going to do it – I always deliver what I promise! If you can’t do that in business, you’re sunk. Social media training forms the core of my offering at Cureton Consulting and I have been hooked on it ever since it first took off. It immediately struck me as a highly cost-effective and efficient promotional tool and I am passionate about helping my clients harness its power.
What advice would you give to someone starting out?
Be true to yourself, have a strong self-belief, self-motivation and get a business coach as soon as you can.