What do you currently do?
I am the founder of Leicestershire-based Jude Read-HR Consultancy. We offer a complete HR and employment law service to employers of all sizes, from small and medium enterprises to multi-nationals. We offer a range of remote and onsite services from pay & go through to fully managed HR support. Our service reflects the specific requirements of the organisation we are dealing with, offering an individually tailored service instead of a ‘one size fits all’ approach – there’s too much of that type of HR out there already.
The day to day work is varied, and that’s why I love it. Each month brings different challenges. We’ve dealt with owners of smaller companies through to CEOs of multi-national companies and have experienced many different cultures and ways of working. We have helped and advised many start-ups and small companies that are just taking employees on for the first time, and supported far reaching change management programmes, managed complex dismissals of senior employees and helped align HR with business strategy for a range of firms.
What was the inspiration behind your business?
I wanted to provide my clients with a personal service, one that reflected their requirements in a common sense way but also remained within the boundaries of employment law.
Having previously worked for a corporate organisation as a Regional Employment Law Consultant, I had many clients advise me of their frustrations because HR advice, on-site consultancy and processes were very lengthy and overly cautious due to insurance requirements and for those smaller clients they simply did not have the time to jump through unnecessary hoops as it impacted on their production, customer service, employee relations and ultimately their profits.
Who do you admire?
No-one famous! I admire anyone that works hard at achieving what they want, those that bounce back, support others and don’t give up. In a nutshell, positive people and those that triumph against adversity.
Looking back, is there anything that you would have done differently?
Yes, I would have left my corporate life sooner and taken a chance on running my own business years ago. However, working for yourself is hard especially when you have to fulfil many of the different roles within your own business, I’m the CEO, the FD, MD, Marketing Manager, Sales Manager and at some point I’m also a HR Consultant – this is the part I love and am very passionate about – but it’s absolutely worth it. I have met so many wonderful people, many in the same position as me, and all support each other, I would never have had these experiences if I had stayed in employment.
What defines your way of business?
My clients! My clients, and the working relationships which I form, are really important to me. Developing a detailed working knowledge of my clients and building a solid framework on which to work is key to how Jude Read-HR Consultancy operates. Providing a pro-active HR service where my clients know the costs and benefits upfront is critical to both my clients’ success, and that of my business. But I think it’s my passion that is my driver, I love my job, my business and the partnership approach that I use to work with and manage my clients.
What advice would you give to someone who is starting out?
Identify why you want to start out on your own, research and speak with others that have done it but be careful not to take everyone’s opinion on board or you’ll be pulled in too many directions and lose focus.
Find relevant organisations to join where you will have access to free training courses for the new functions you’re going to have manage like marketing, advertising, sales, accounts and employment obligations, to name but a few. At some point you need to recognise that you cannot do it all – and in fact you are not good at everything – and focus on being good at what you really do. Learning when it’s time to outsource will save you money and time as well as improving your business results.
Being successful will not happen overnight and make sure you plan for this. Finally, don’t forget to believe in yourself and realise that you will face setbacks. Everyone in business has bad days and it’s how you deal with these that defines you as a businessperson.