Chamber Start-up celebrates tenth anniversary Back to News Index
07 Jan 2019
Alice Mason, founder of Biking Bookkeeper commented: “I was working as a full time office manager/secretary within a company. There was a bit of a scare in 2008 and everyone was worried about job cuts, so I decided to do something for myself.
“I had experience and qualifications in Marketing/Bookkeeping/Payroll so set up a business called “Biking Bookkeeper” to operate on a part time trial, whilst I was still working.”
Alice met with Steve Mather, Business Start-Up Adviser from St Helens Chamber, who helped her put a business plan together and advised her to become a member of the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers, to familiarise herself with the laws in the UK.
“I met with Steve from the Chamber initially as I was looking to upgrade my laptop and wanted to discuss what grants and funding options were available to start-ups at the time.
“He raised a few things I hadn’t thought about with insurance and legislation and directed me to join the Institute of Certified
Bookkeepers, which was brilliant.
“Steve helped me a lot, he was very patient and helped me put together my business plan so I could set up a Business Bank
account – which is something I now help other start-ups to do.
“The advice I received from the Chamber really helped. Because of the experience, I am able to tell other start-ups that just because they are a limited company doesn’t mean they shouldn’t register themselves, they need to be aware of their responsibilities.
“Because I wanted to give back I became a Business Mentor at the Chamber. I really enjoy helping other start-ups.
“These start-up clients are good at what they are doing, they are just not sure what steps to take first to start the business. It’s nice to give them the confidence they need."
Now in her tenth year of trading, Alice is running a very successful bookkeeping business, having recently taken on staff to deal with her growing number of clients.
Alice commented: “When I first started the business I was looking for some pocket money, I wasn’t looking to grow. I started offering some free advice on Facebook for expats and foreigners on tax refunds and fines and I gained a lot of foreign customers, which wasn’t my aim.
“I just wanted to cycle, be active and work at the same time, which isn’t working anymore, I haven’t been able to cycle to a client in a while now. We grew suddenly through recommendations and we now have around 222 clients, so I had to take on staff to deal with demand.
“I met someone from the Chamber and they suggested joining as a Member. Now I know that St Helens Chamber is one of the best in the UK and I tell that to all my clients. I have heard of other Chambers but the offer is nowhere near what is provided here and not as helpful.
“I find myself lucky to be in St Helens so I can access the level of support that St Helens Chamber Members are provided with.
“The Legal advice has also been very useful, paying a solicitor costs a lot of money, when I called I got the help I needed for my Membership fees.
“I think that you should have an organisation with you when you’re a small business and starting out, to represent your interests, support you and help small businesses.”
To find out more about Biking Bookkeeper visit www.bikingbookkeeper.co.uk/
For more information on the Chamber’s start-up programme visit www.sthelenschamber.com/startup or to get involved in becoming a business mentor contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01744 742104.
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