The Outset Podcast Ep3: Taking on your First Employee

Donna Morcom, Sekoya Specialist Employment Services

Working alone and finding you have more work than you can cope with? Or that you’re having to turn work down? If you need to make the leap to taking on your first employee, have a listen to our latest podcast episode with employment specialist Donna Morcom.

Donna runs the hugely successful HR and employment law specialist company Sekoya, building her own consultancy after being made redundant in 2013. She now employs 11 people, supporting over 160 employer clients and knows all the ins and outs of how to get it right when employing your first member of staff.

She also talks about the benefits of having somebody else to share your business journey and her plans for Sekoya, including expansion, acquisition and a new wellness service for employers to help take care of their employees.

Listen online using the player below or search ‘Outset Podcast’ in your favourite podcast app.

We hope you enjoy this episode. Get in touch for more information on how we can support your business start-up journey.

The Outset Cornwall programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, HM Government and the Outset Foundation, supporting people to become self-employed or start their own business.

Read the full transcript here

Announcer (00:01):

Welcome to The Outset Podcast, the business startup podcast from Outset Cornwall for support and inspiration to start, run and grow your business. Here’s your host Rich Gunton.

Rich Gunton (00:15):

Donna Morcom of Sekoya joins us today. Hello, Donna.

Donna Morcom (00:20):

Hello. How are you doing?

Rich Gunton (00:22):

Very well. Very well. Thanks for giving us a bit of time across your busy day. Obviously you’ve come through the Outset Cornwall programme. You’ve established a fabulous business across the Southwest, born in Cornwall and you’ve kind of grown and developed and worked with other businesses to grow and develop and take on staff and the whole HR legal side of things. So if we can start at the beginning, always a good way. What’s your sort of personal story then? Where did it all start for you?

Donna Morcom (00:51):

Well, first of all, thank you so much for inviting me on to have a chat. I always love doing these things, kind of getting my story out there because I think so many people give up at the first hurdle because they think they can’t do things. And my advice is always just to keep going, just don’t give up and you know, you may fall over a few times, but that’s not failure, that’s learning. And that’s where my story starts really is that I say I’m trained as a solicitor, I joined a local law firm. I had opportunities in London, but decided to come back to Cornwall, moved from the corporate world into employment, spent a number of years in a local law firm. And, and that’s where I learned my craft. So I was, you know, litigating on employee matters, you know, poor people who’ve been made redundant and treated badly or discriminated against, all the way through to supporting employers who found themselves with a difficult employee, or a situation that they felt that they couldn’t handle.

Donna Morcom (01:55):

So following working there for five years, unfortunately, my role was made redundant that the company was unfortunately facing financial difficulties and needed to make some redundancies. My name was on that list. Always fun, making a employment, lawyer redundant it’s not the easiest thing to do in the world, but they tried and failed miserably, but they did try. You know, I understood that times were tough and that actually I needed to take this opportunity to fly rather than working for another local law firm, which I didn’t want to do so I went about doing it alone. And that’s how I met with Outset. I went to the Outset Cornwall programme, which back then was 16 sessions, eight pre start and eight post start which were amazing, actually really, really amazing. I met some really lovely people who I’ve kept in contact with, which has been great, and we still socialize together, which is lovely. And I started my business in 2000 and in January 2013 which was a very scary moment.

Rich Gunton (03:03):

Wow. So you obviously reached out, found Outset decided that you wanted to do something for yourself, a wealth of experience there. And so going through the Outset program, then what did you do overall?

Donna Morcom (03:17):

Yeah, I do. You know, I genuinely loved it. I learned a lot about people. There are a lot of different people who want to do lots of different things who have lots of different skills. It was really great that the tutors including you, Richard we had you for a few sessions, you know, were actually a huge inspiration at the time. I’d been made redundant. My confidence was at an all time low, you know, I could do my job brilliantly, I’d never lost a case, but when it came to life in general, it hit me for six and I’m an employment lawyer. I make people redundant for a living. And when it happened to me, I genuinely hit rock bottom. I felt horrendous, but you know, the people and the tutors on the course were great and they were very uplifting and had obviously been there and done it all before and, it was inspiring actually to sit there and listen to their stories and think, well, actually, do you know, with people’s help, actually, I can do this.

Rich Gunton (04:15):

I think that’s interesting, and that’s great to hear and, going back to being made redundant and it’s kind of a period of change, isn’t it, and you know, that you can feel pretty low. I guess the road that we were on has all of a sudden, just sort of disappeared in front of us. And, and I think that could be true for those facing redundancy or as we’ve seen in recent times, it was the pandemic and things changing dramatically for small businesses, for employers, large and small. And therefore it has a knock-on effect across society and across employment, et cetera. And I think sometimes finding a support group as much as anything, and somewhere to sort your mindset in on a regular basis, in terms of the Outset program I guess it was on a weekly basis then, usually to start to think about actually, what is it that you do want to achieve and how are you going to kind of build from there on, in what were the actual first sort of steps that you took to starting your business, coming up with your business name, what you were going to do, how you’re going to do it.

Donna Morcom (05:12):

So do you know that was many, many sleepless nights of what am I going to call it. Understanding that the first thing you need to do is search Companies House that you can’t have a company that has got the same name as someone else’s. So you need to find something that’s independent, then you want to make sure that you find out that there’s nothing already trademarked with that name. So you have to search the trademark register and then checking to make sure there are domain names and somebody else hasn’t already got that domain name, because otherwise that’s going to make having a website pretty tricky. Trying to come up with something that’s not just your own name. I loved the idea of Sekoya because it’s a tree, it’s the largest tree in the world and it grows from the smallest acorn. That’s a perfect metaphor for an HR company.

Donna Morcom (06:04):

I very much wanted it to feel like all of our clients were part of our family, but that we have expansion to grow, which we have done. So we’ve grown from just me to 11 people. And the plan is to now buy up another company which is where we’re heading next. So there’s so much to think about when you first start and, and even things like, where do I buy my first set of business cards from? I mean it’s incredibly difficult. And that’s why I found, you know, kind of chatting to others, especially the kind of tutors and leaders at Outset.

Rich Gunton (06:38):

I think, like you say, there’s lots of value to working together rather than sort of staying at home on your own, trying to figure it out. You know, we talked about it briefly there about a website and domain name and that type of thing. I mean, where would you sort of pinpoint the first day of being in business then?

Donna Morcom (06:54):

The first day was the day I incorporated the business. That was going on to Companies House, buying the company name, uploading my documents and seeing my certificate of incorporation in paper format was just like the most exciting day ever. But even things like, you know, kind of chatting stuff through with you actually about how do I register with HMRC? I haven’t got a clue.

Rich Gunton (07:22):

Talking to Donna Morcom from Sekoya, who has been in business for nine years, has 11 people working with her. Ultimately, your business is all about helping other businesses to potentially start to think about, well a number of other things, but one of the core areas is that first employee isn’t it? Is that right?

Donna Morcom (07:42):

Definitely. I mean, it doesn’t have to be an employee though. So what happens usually is that people worked on their own for a bit, they set up their business, they’ve asked all the questions, they’ve got themselves a website and they’ve got themselves a logo and started going to networking events and it starts to grow. And then very quickly, it snowballs because people always think that it’s going to take ages to build a business. It really doesn’t if you do it right. And then very quickly, you’ve got that horrible situation where you’ve got more work than you can deal with, but you don’t want to turn it away because you’re worried if you turn it away, you’re not going to get it back again. So there is that moment where you’re just like, Oh, I’m going to have to make the jump.

Donna Morcom (08:23):

You don’t necessarily need to employ someone to start with, maybe try subcontracting some work for a bit. So getting somebody in to help you with the work that you’re doing. So for example, if you’re an accountant or bookkeeper, you might get someone in to help with some of the admin or with some of the bookkeeping tasks, but you pay them on an hourly basis and you have a consultancy agreement or a sub-contracters agreement or whatever you want to call it. Then that way, if you get an upturn in work, then you can offer them more hours. Or if it’s a downturn in work, then you can reduce their hours without needing to comply with any kind of employment law.

Rich Gunton (09:05):

Yeah. And that’s an interesting point because only the other day, someone was asking about that in particular. And, you know, whilst on the Outset program, we don’t give, you know, obviously formal legal advice, we refer to people like your good selves that are there on the button. And it’s in a very interesting point, going back to the whole, you know, self-employment freelancer, sub contracting, et cetera, in those early days. Now there, aren’t a huge amount of attraction in, from a tax point of view and from a liability point of view to take on that first member of staff, it is quite a leap. And so I think potentially if you can find the right person having that relationship with them, that they subcontract for you or freelance for you, et cetera, as long as they are sort of doing that for other people. When they start to look like they are essentially just working for you and also there’s perhaps a sort of an emotional kind of relationship as well, where, you know, you’re beginning to realize that financially they are really quite dependent on you and as your business grows and develops and actually starts to rely on them, that’s possibly the time I don’t know of bringing them in, in an appropriate way. What’s the risk if we don’t, what’s the risks of the IR 35, is it that you mentioned?

Donna Morcom (10:11):

So IR35 is a piece of legislation that governs the tax that’s paid by independent contractors or companies. It’s predominantly there to stop people setting up a business, working for another business through that business, so they’ve only got one client. And that means because they are, then the tax thresholds are lower and the amount of tax you have to pay is lower if you work through a company, that actually they’re paying a much lower level of tax, rather than being employed and paying employment tax, like the rest of us pay. And that’s why people do it because it’s a tax efficient way of working. However, as of April, so it used to be that if you were only…so Rich, if I was working for you as a freelance journalist, for example, and I was doing say on average about 20 hours a week, but I was working in lots of other places at the same time, I was working for, I don’t know, Pirate FM or other different radio stations are available, then I can prove, that at any time if you said to me, actually Donna, there’s no work available at the moment, there’s nothing I could do about that. It used to be that if Inland Revenue looked into that situation and they came and knocked on my door and asked me about who I was working for, then I could show them my books. But even if I was only working for you, the liability was largely on me to say, well, look, actually, this is effectively an employment situation. If they said that to me, then I would be the one that would have to either prove that I wasn’t, or I would receive a fine, and I would also have to pay back the extra tax and national insurance that I should have paid that I haven’t paid. Under the new rules, if I’m now working for you, Richard, and the Inland Revenue knock on the door again you have to have sat me down and looked at the situation and actually provided me with a statement as to whether or not you think I’m really self-employed.

Donna Morcom (12:15):

And the reality of it is that most employers now are going to err on the side of caution and say, well, actually we don’t think you are self employed because the fines and the payback that you have to make if you’re wrong are so significant, it’s not worth risking it. As of April, you will need to now sit down and put together that statement. And I suspect there are going to be very few companies are going to wish to put their neck on the line and say, yes, I think that Donna is actually self-employed because she’s got all of this other work and I’d have to prove to you I had all of this other work and that I’m, you know, employed elsewhere and that I can pick up and drop work as and when I require it.

Rich Gunton (12:58):

It’s interesting, isn’t it? Because I guess the, well apart from, the tax man and lady, I suppose it’s about the protection of, you know, if we look at the courier companies, which probably will find a way around this, taxi organizations and those large organizations where they don’t actually employ the staff and they’re obviously, you know, subcontracted, freelance or whatever. I guess it’s essentially, that’s the funny thing with the law and the legal system, even if we’re just a one person business in the beautiful, deepest, darkest Cornwall somewhere, we still have to comply with those regulations that are probably put in place for people other than us. So just not to dwell on this too much, but if we were looking at sub contracting then, as we talked about that, that might be the first way that we start to have someone else other than ourselves involved in the business.

Rich Gunton (13:51):

Is there one tiny little line that we can give someone to put their mind at ease, as long as they’re working for other organizations, they are then a subcontractor or freelancer. If they’re only reliant on us for their wage, you know, as you mentioned about radio stations are classics, and I believe that even the BBC are the same whereby you know, freelancers who only ever work in that one organization in that one building for instance, that’s the point of difference. And I guess we’d come to an organization like yourself if we needed more information on that wouldn’t we?

Donna Morcom (14:23):

Absolutely. And thank you for the plug there, you’ve grasped it brilliantly. And my one-liner would be in terms of all of that is you’re taking on somebody subcontracting. Do they have the ability to make a profit or sustain a loss, both from you and other people? If the answer is no, then they’re not really a sub-contractor, they’re an employee. So if you’re looking to take somebody on, you know, why not bite the bullet and, and take them on, on an employment contract. You can start part-time, you can take them on, you know, on a fixed term contract. You can start them on just a few hours and build up. As long as you converse with the employee, and they understand what the terms are, you can do almost anything you want. But of course, all of the employment regulations kick in, but they’re really not that complex to start with. As long as you’ve got some basic advice, and actually, if anybody is thinking of doing that and they do want some basic advice, we do offer free basic advice to people off of the back of, you know, the fact that I was helped quite a lot when I started, this is my way of giving back, so we help a lot of new businesses with that first basic advice. Once you’ve got your first employee, you’ll be away and it’s so much fun; you’ve got someone to share the journey with!

Rich Gunton (15:44):

And I think that’s very, very true as well, you know, in terms of, you know, I guess there’s more of a commitment from what we’ve just been talking about with the IR 35 is it, is that right? With regards to that relationship with someone who’s working as part of your business, as part of your, you know, your baby, as it were. I’ve personally found that if you take a little bit more commitment towards somebody, they usually take a bit more of a buy-in to your overall goals and vision, and therefore therein lies the foundation blocks of building a sustainable sort of business, an adventure, which is more than just you isn’t it?

Donna Morcom (16:17):

Absolutely. I mean, once you’ve got, you know, your first employee in place, and you’ve done your contract of employment, which everyone has to do from day one, and you’ve got your handbook in place, and you’ve worked out your policies and procedures and how it’s all going to work, which sounds very scary, but it really isn’t scary. The next stage really is going to look athow are you going to grow your business? So, you know, making sure that you have a plan that you share that plan with that person. So you get buy-in from them. It’s also really lovely because you can go away on holiday and you know that somebody is going to sit in for you whilst you’re sipping your gin and tonic, because it’s really important to have holidays.

Rich Gunton (16:54):

I think that’s the new name for this podcast, isn’t it, sipping gin and tonic.

Donna Morcom (16:59):

We love that. Absolutely. And that’s the main thing about all of this is, you know, if you’ve got an employee, you’ve got someone to share it with, you then replicate that you have another employee, you get two or three more and you build a team. When you first take an employee on, you know, what do you want them to, what do you want them to think and to do in your business? You know, be really clear about the type of person you want to come in, because this is your baby. You started from nothing. You want to be able to have someone who believes in the same things you do, otherwise it won’t work.

Rich Gunton (17:36):

Yeah. And I suppose that, as you briefly mentioned earlier, like visions and values of a business and that type of thing, I suppose that’s where it comes to almost like a personal thing as well is how do you, and again, you know, I can talk personally from firsthand experience of making several mistakes with several people across the globe. Indeed. It’s where you actually are able to harness and embrace almost, the points of difference between yourself as the business owner and the entrepreneur and the founder, however you may think of yourself, as well as then starting to take on another person and then potentially building upon that. Yes, it’s the role and the responsibilities and that kind of job specification and et cetera, so that everyone is very clear of the roles and responsibilities, et cetera, that’s required. But that kind of added value that kind of gold dust that you can’t necessarily put into a job description isn’t it, it’s someone who shares that overall value, but that needs to come initially from you, doesn’t it?

Donna Morcom (18:31):

Absolutely. When you’re taking on your both your first employee and every employee after that, it’s really, really important to understand what you want out of this person that’s starting, but also to get them to understand where you come from. So very much when I’m recruiting people, one of the first things I do is run through with them what our culture is. You know, we are very community-based, we have an awful lot of charities, we do a lot of charity work, we expect people to muck in on charity work. We have an ethos of, we don’t have a hierarchy, I’ve never had a hierarchy, I don’t want one, we are a team, we’re a family, we work together, which means we muck in when it’s really busy. And when it’s not, we go home and enjoy the sunshine and sip gin and tonic on a Friday afternoon. Friday afternoons in the summer, we go home at two o’clock, sometimes one o’clock, you know, because I think it’s really important to have that time with your family. We scream family values, and therefore we must live by those too. So it is very much about, you know, this is our culture, and if that’s not what you’re looking for, then probably this isn’t the job for you.

Rich Gunton (19:42):

Absolutely. And I mean, in terms of help and support for people to be able to hire, is that something that you do or are you able to suggest other HR recruitment companies, or is that within your remit?

Donna Morcom (19:56):

That’s absolutely what we do. So although I’m an employment solicitor and I do all the cut and thrust of hiring and firing, usually the firing, we also have a team headed up by Emma, who was the people director of very, very large manufacturing plants in Plymouth. She does all of the kind of organizational design, but she helps people learn how to look at their business, decide what the person spec is for the person they want, write a job description all the way through to benefits packages, how you make adjustments in their workplace for someone who may be disabled, all those sorts of things we can provide advice on, as well as what happens when it all goes wrong.

Rich Gunton (20:37):

Absolutely. Okay. Well, that’s great. So it’s sort of a one-stop shop.

Rich Gunton (20:42):

We’re talking to Donna Morcom on the Outset Podcast. Sekoya is your business, sekoya.com if we want to find out more about you, Donna. So we’ve talked about the kind of nine years in business, the 11 people that you have in your team now, we’ve talked about your personal story and being made redundant and growing from there on in, and starting to think about making our business more than just ourselves by bringing other people in be it self-employed initially, and sub-contracting. Obviously talked about the IR35 and, and how we start to grow and develop our culture through other people within our business. One of your services on your website is entitled wellness. So now what’s that all about?

Donna Morcom (21:27):

Funnily enough during the pandemic has been very poignant. So about two years ago, I had a breakdown. I was very poorly and it’s, you know, a culmination of lots and lots of various things. And I realized that as a business owner, I was telling everybody else how to have holiday and how to look after themselves, and I wasn’t doing that myself. And so I undertook quite a lot of leadership training to understand that actually you don’t need to work 90 hours a week to run a team. In fact, you’re much more efficient if you’re working normal hours, but you’re running at full speed, which is where we want to be. I had a team tthat was tired at times. I mean, we’ve got 160 employers that we work for now some very big household names.

Donna Morcom (22:15):

When you look after people in your organization, you find that you get a lot more out of them not just in terms of work, but in terms of loyalty, happiness; a happy crowd is a productive crowd. And so we launched Sekoya Wellness to help employers understand and be supported in providing sort of wellness to their employees. So that’s things like offering advice on smoking cessation programs, you know, helping employers to almost every month have a different campaign, you know, healthy eating, you know, understanding what benefits are out there that are available, you know, the ride to work schemes. All of that kind of stuff that doesn’t cost an employer very much or anything at all that could help their employees become much more healthy. And it was also about understanding how people are feeling and being able to spot when people are unwell and particularly mentally unwell.

Donna Morcom (23:12):

Last year, we dealt with three suicides at work, which is particularly tragic. Part of our wellness scheme is to help employers through many schemes that are free, receive mental health, first aid training so that they help to spot when other people are not very well. I mean, I’m, you know, I’m very lucky, I bounced back very quickly. I, you know, I had some counseling and, you know, various bits and pieces and I had a really strong network around me, but there are lots of people who aren’t so luck. You know, the people you work with are the people who will spot it first and are often the people who spend most time with you. And so it’s really important that those people within the organization learn how not to take that home with them, but be able to support others around them and be able to support and signpost when people aren’t very well.

Rich Gunton (24:06):

I think that’s fascinating. And thank you so much for being honest and putting your sort of personal experience and stance on it. And I think, you know, anyone listening to this, certainly with any level of experience will, more than likely if they’re honest with themselves will have had that door slightly opened, at least on, on that kind of, you know, am I having a breakdown here or, you know, is my mental health in check? Am I really, you know, trying to achieve what it is that I want to, because I think that’s the thing, whether we’re employed and we work for someone else or whether we certainly take the leap into the unknown as it could be into self-employment. And then especially if we get to the, to the, sort of the points of, as we’re discussing in terms of growing a team, there is an awful lot of responsibility that you carry on your shoulders, whether you’re necessarily on a day-to-day basis aware of it or not.

Rich Gunton (24:52):

And I think, you know, like you say, practicing what you preach in some regards, as to really checking in as to what are your motivators, why are you in this business and why are you in this development and growth stage? And are you personally okay and, you know, still enjoying it and all those sort of basic things. And I think also the pandemic has perhaps taught us from a plus point of view and from an environmental point of view, you know, we can, a lot of us work from home. However, I think that we are, we’ve changed society for the longterm, I think in terms of engagement and social interaction, and a lot of quiet suffers from some mental health sort of side of things and that sort of mental health first aid care, I think is awesome. And I don’t use that word easily. And I think that, that, that’s probably something we’re going to see a lot, lot more of isn’t it, as we, as we move through the next couple of years.

Donna Morcom (25:46):

I really hope so. You know, most of our work at the moment is actually with the much smaller employers who realized that actually there’s only three of them in an office. They don’t need the office anymore because they’re all working from home and all working really well. You know, some of these people may live on their own. They may all be struggling with homeschooling. They may be struggling with the not going into the office and the office banter and not seeing people. It’s actually the smaller employers who are who we’re sort of urging most to look. And even if you’re working on your own, you think you don’t even employ someone about, you know, checking in on your own mental health and really understanding how you’re feeling and taking some tips and advice on making sure that you get out and you have your daily walk and all of those sorts of things. If you’re an employer, you know, you have a duty of care to your employees. I mean, at the moment we’re having zoom meetings twice a week, a team meeting, one is a work meeting, one is a social where we just talk about anything that we want to talk about, have a whinge. All that stuff you’d normally come in and have a whinge about every day that’s, that’s the whinge hour. And we can, you know, have a virtual hug which is really so important,

Rich Gunton (26:57):

A whinge hour and a virtual hug. I love it. I think that’s fantastic. So, in terms of your sort of personal journey, which we’ve explored quite a bit across the podcast here, when we’re talking about, you know, rest and relaxation, what finds you relaxing and taking a bit of a rest? Aside from gin and tonic that is!

Donna Morcom (27:17):

I was going to say, I’ve had to start putting my gin bottles in other people’s recycling, I’m not sure that’s a good sign! But now we recently got a puppy. And actually I love it. I took on a gentleman called Jay who was an elite basketball player player. He’s a leadership coach. I was sat in the car park one day. I was on the phone team and I burst into tears and I was just like, I can’t do this anymore Jay I’m so exhausted. And he said, Donna, what have you eaten today? Nothing. And this was like half five in the evening. Nothing. What did you eat yesterday? Oh, I think I had a baguette in the afternoon. Right, you didn’t have any dinner? No, I think I understand firstly, why you’re, why you’re upset because you have no blood sugar.

Donna Morcom (28:13):

So I’m sharing these tips with you because they changed my life. So first of all, make sure you eat properly. You need to have your three meals a day. Even if you only stop for 10 minutes for lunch, please, please. I beg you stop and have something to eat. The second thing is he said, what exercise do you do? And I had a look and in a week I’d done less than a thousand steps. And he was like, I don’t even understand how you can do that for you. Like I do more than that going, you know, walking around my house, but no, less than a thousand steps. So he put together just a really short half an hour program of a walk one day and a swim the next day. And within about two weeks, I felt so different. My head was so much clearer. I wasn’t a gym bunny. I mean, Richard you’ll know, I I’m about as far away from a gym as you could possibly be. I wasn’t going to be a gym bunny, but you know, I loved it. I loved every second of it and it was only half an hour and I reckon I was at least 30% more productive.

Rich Gunton (29:20):

I think it’s so true. And, again, especially, you know, with the lockdowns that we’ve experienced in the kind of the home-based working, it’s very easy to kind of raise out of our beds and find our ways to our workspace and actually forget the very, very basics. Pandemic aside, a lot of people will start off their businesses by working from home anyway. So having that kind of plan in place, I mean, fortunately I love running and I’ve done a lot of that. Certainly since I can remember our sessions when, when you were on them. And that for me is had been a personal sort of thing where it’s been another goal for me to work towards running marathons and those sorts of things. And I appreciate that the people listening to this thinking one, there’s no way I want to run a marathon or two, I just can’t do it. There’ll be something for each person listening to this that they can grab hold of, that they can maybe challenge themselves a little bit with, and then move forward, which has got nothing to do with their business and their career and their development, but then everything to do with their business. Because like you say, unless you are there and you’re present when you’re doing those hours of work, then at one stage you’ll probably crack and everything will be a lot more challenging than it eventually needs to be. Having a look at your website, which we can find at sekoya.com, S E K O Y A and the news column, I see you’ve got some Monday MythBusters, so what are they all about then?

Donna Morcom (30:46):

Every Monday we have a MythBuster, which is basically it is a problem that has arisen during the last week that an employer or an employee has come to us with. And we answer the question. There are literally hundreds of them now, if you go onto our Facebook page, eventually they will be updated to our webpage. But unfortunately the link broke, which we didn’t realize had happened, but there are quite a few on our web page, they’re also on our LinkedIn profile on our Sekoya LinkedIn page, but they’re specifically on our Facebook page. So if you like our Facebook page, about three times a week, we post on there with just little snippets of stuff, little updates, funny things. Umone of it’s ever advertising.

Rich Gunton (31:29):

Fantastic. So facebook.com/sekoyases. So Sekoya Specialist Employment Services, I’ve just found you on Facebook. Looks fantastic.

Rich Gunton (31:44):

We’re talking to Donna Morcom on the Outset Podcast. How important has, you know, sort of setting some goals for yourself been, is that been something that you’ve looked at in particular?

Donna Morcom (31:55):

Incredibly. Right in the very beginning, I sat down with a couple of the trainers at Outset and Ian being one of them and he helped me set my first goals for the first year. I set them, did I look at them again? No. Um which is generally what you do, and then you get a really good accountant in year two. And he says, Oh, have you set some goals? No. So you think, Oh, I really need to borrow some money. Oh, I need to have a business plan. Oh yeah. I haven’t got one of those either. So, so then you have to put one together. I didn’t get to that point. I got to about three years ago and decided that I would, that was the time to sit down and put together some, a business plan, which we did, and we stuck to. And this year is the first year that we’ve actually properly kind of shared out those targets amongst the team. We’re monitoring those on a weekly and monthly basis. I’ve even just put in a new case management system. So on a daily basis, we can see how we’re meeting our targets, which is just brilliant. And it’s so important to have those goals, because if you don’t know where you’re going, how are you possibly going to get there?

Rich Gunton (33:10):

Until you’ve made a decision as to why you’re working towards something, how can you know that you’re on the right track?

Donna Morcom (33:15):

There’s a study by Harvard and the study was about how many people are successful and how many of these people put a plan in place. 80% of those people who were the most successful people in the world are people who had a business plan in place and then try to meet it.

Rich Gunton (33:34):

Absolutely. It’s a, it’s a bit of a roadmap to success. And, and on that road, what’s the future then for you and for Sekoya?

Donna Morcom (33:41):

Well, all sorts of very, very exciting things. We are now looking to take on other HR consultants, but under a program where we can supervise them so that we give their products or their advice. So the advice that they’re giving, hopefully there’ll be able to give two levels of advice, the one that they give, and then another one that has a legal assurance stamp attached to it, which is the bit that we’re going to be doing. We’re putting together a lot of packs of information that people can buy online. You know, I think it’s really important to have stuff that means that your business has an income, even when you’re asleep different documentation of various bits and pieces, which I hope that this goes out after we’ve rolled that out. But but yeah, so we’re, we’re doing that. We’ve just got a new case management system so that our clients can now log in and see all of their documents online, which is very grown up. We’re planning to expand the team by at least another two members of staff within the next six months. And we’ve just picked up a very large football club as a client.

Rich Gunton (34:49):

Oh, fantastic, fantastic.

Donna Morcom (34:49):

We took on Paul Ainsworth as a client, he’s great and recommends us to anyone who will listen. And so hopefully we’ll be picking up the rest of the celebrity chefs, which would be very exciting.

Rich Gunton (35:03):

Yeah, absolutely. Tasty and also healthy. It’s the, it’s the clear future for Sekoya. Well, Donna, thank you ever so much for your time and your wisdom and your words. I think that our listeners to the to the podcast will have found it fantastic. And I’m sure they’ll be reaching out to you on, on Facebook and on online as well.

Donna Morcom (35:28):

Thank you so so much. And like I say if anybody needs anything, feel free to just give us a call, we’re quite friendly.

Rich Gunton (35:35):

Awesome. Donna Morcom, of Sekoya, thank you very very much.

Donna Morcom (35:38):

You’re most welcome, thank you.

Announcer (35:41):

Thanks for listening to the outset podcast brought to you by the Outset Cornwall program, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, HM Government and the Outset Foundation, supporting people to become self-employed and start their own business. For more information, visit outset.org/Cornwall.