Getting to know you: Kirstie White

What do you currently do?
I run a company called VoiceNotes based in the City of London. It’s a very simple concept; a dictation service for busy professionals who need to record their meeting notes & follow-up actions quickly, securely and accurately. We have all done it… come out of a meeting with lots of exciting outcomes and actions buzzing around in our head, but when it gets to writing them down, normally that evening, we have forgotten most of them! That’s where VoiceNotes comes in. It’s one telephone number, one message left by you and then one return email from us with the grammatically correct transcript. After originally spotting the gap in the market for this service over seven years ago, I’m pleased to say that VoiceNotes has continued to grow, and we have built a great team in London. The team is my greatest pride, and I’m thankful to them every day that they run the business like clockwork giving me the time to go out and drive the sales activities. I love my job, and I am constantly grateful that events in my earlier career forced me to stride out on my own and run my own businesses. I also balance a young son and a busy household with my career which takes some planning, but it can be done!

What’s your inspiration in business?
After seven years in VoiceNotes, and previously six years running my start-up ‘We’re Moving’, I still get a real kick out of recruiting new clients, and that in turn inspires me to seek out more new clients. There’s nothing more satisfying than a client really having a need, and then being delighted that we can deliver the service they need! I truly believe that people can learn to become sales orientated, and that people can develop almost an addiction to closing a sale. It’s incredibly satisfying for me, but I couldn’t always do it. A combination of sales training and a growth in confidence helped me a lot. If anyone is struggling with the sales side of their business, I would advise anyone to sign up to some sort of sales training if they haven’t already.

Who do you admire?
I really like Peter Jones from Dragon’s Den. He appears to ask the right questions for a start-up and balance a good work/personal life; or that’s the impression I get! Other than Peter, I think it’s a mind-set or approach that I admire such as anyone that’s willing to take a risk and ‘go for it’ be that a new job, a new company, new country to live in. I believe that pushing your boundaries in life is what makes it exciting and stops us getting complacent. Risk is subjective, and for some people, changing a job after 20 years is a big risk and deserves respect. For others, it’s investing all of their savings into a new business. As long as it’s calculated, I think risk can be healthy, and I admire anyone willing to embrace it.

What defines your way of doing business?
Over the years, I have received lots of advice about how to run the business, and how it should be perceived. After a few years in the hot-seat, I came to the conclusion that honesty and helpfulness is the best policy. For example, I was once advised to make out the company was more successful than it was. I felt really uncomfortable about this. Now I say exactly what we are and am proud of our numbers. If you’re smaller than they expect, clients will know you’ll be more eager to do a great job for them. Then, if you tell them that you have grown, they have the confidence that a lot of people use your service. Honesty and helpfulness also applies to our team. We have a loyal, dedicated and hardworking team for which I’m extremely thankful. And we are a real team sharing together the daily highs and lows of an SME and overcoming challenges together.

What advice would you give to someone starting out?
Be determined, don’t give up, and take any advice that someone is willing to give to you. I’m a big believer in the power of sales, so when the sales just aren’t coming in, keep true to your gut feel, try a few different approaches, take some time out, then come back with a killer instinct to get things back on track and moving. If you’re lacking confidence in this area, get some training – it’s never too late to learn and it might change your life and your business!