I always love picking the brains of other small business owners, and this time it’s the turn of Amanda Stewart. Amanda is the director of Illuminate Technology, an Edinburgh-based company which provides IT support for small businesses in Scotland.
The perfect solution for small businesses who don’t have the space, budget or need for an in-house IT department, Illuminate offers everything from IT consultancy to everyday remote IT support. Amanda and her team have over 25 years experience in the IT industry, so they really know what they’re doing.
I had a chat with Amanda to find out more about what she loves about running her own small business.
Why do you do what you do?
It’s the people I meet every day, colleagues and clients. Relationships are key in business and I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t have a good relationship with everyone I work with.
What are you most proud of?
Creating a business that has successfully allowed all the staff flexibility and a good work/life balance.
What keeps you up at night?
Usually, something I have forgotten to do for the children and their incredible social lives. It is hard to keep up!
What was the best business decision you ever made?
Taking on an apprentice. The new modern apprentice schemes are amazing.
And the worst?
Hiring someone in a rush.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever got?
Listen more, talk less. Although I suspect my husband would say I don’t follow this advice very well.
How do you attract new clients or customers?
We haven’t had to up until now, our work has all been word of mouth so far.
What do you enjoy most about your marketing?
It has been 15+ years, and in a previous venture, when I last looked at marketing. It has changed a lot, and for the better – social media has made it much more exciting. No more cold calling, who would ever enjoy that job?
How do you relax?
Ideally? A book, a glass of wine and the sun. In reality, a long dog walk, with the children if I can persuade them.
What is your favourite brand?
Up until the last few years, it would always have been the BBC, as it was a global communicator in high regard. That has now been tarnished which makes me sad. I would say now it would be a good strong Edinburgh brand like the Festival, Tattoo or Edinburgh Gin, their products are amazing.
What’s something you dream of doing?
Travel. I didn’t get the chance when I was younger, so hoping I am able to tick off all the obscure places on my bucket list before too long.
We’ve got a really exciting year this year as we are 10! We’ve just had a brilliant client party to celebrate and thank them all.
We are rebranding this year and hope to launch a new website. Also spending a lot of time preaching about GDPR and helping clients before the May deadline.
I’d love to expand a little and take on another apprentice, but that might need to wait until next year. I’m lucky to have a brilliant team who will work hard to get us there.
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