Day to day, Karen Goldfinch runs Made to Treasure with her husband Shaun. But in addition to providing beautiful wedding and event stationery from their base in Benton, Karen uses her business experience to help other small businesses in North Tyneside, in her role as one of the founding board members of the North Tyneside Business Forum.
In her official role within the Forum, Karen has two main responsibilities: the first is to chair and oversee the events and communications for the Forum, including the annual Awards, coming up later this month. The second is as a member of the Forum’s committee, to represent small and micro businesses in North Tyneside.
“I enjoy working with the Forum a great deal,” explains Karen. “Since setting up our business back in 2002, I’ve always been involved in the business community and find networking with other local businesses has been a huge help to the growth and expansion of Made to Treasure.
“So, I have drawn on those experiences in my work with the Forum, to help other small businesses in the local area. I used to chair the Whitley Bay Chamber of Trade and have, in the past, had links with the Federation of Small Businesses. When I was a fledgling business myself, I found these networks extremely useful for meeting like-minded business people and sharing experiences and knowledge.”
It was in around 2008 that North Tyneside Council approached Karen to sit on the board of the Business Forum. “I’m one of the founding members of the committee and I thoroughly enjoy representing small businesses and being their voice within the borough.
“One of my favourite parts of my role within the Forum is helping to organise the Business Awards. The Awards ceremony itself is a fabulous, glamorous evening of celebration and it brings together some of the best businesses in the North East. It still feels a little odd that as a new business all those years ago, and again as a young business I entered these awards, I never thought 15 years later I’d be helping to organise them!
“But it’s not all about that one evening, obviously. The whole application process is made as simple as possible. Speaking to previous applicants, I’ve been told that the very act of applying is a great chance to reflect on a business’ progress and success. It’s a way of actually qualifying the activities of the past 12 months and many of our applying businesses have found it to be a great confidence boost to be shortlisted for awards.”
This year’s awards mark 20 years since the inception, and the organising team have been delighted to receive a record number of applications for 2017.
“The award ceremony itself will take place on Thursday 30 November at the Village Hotel in North Tyneside, and will feature some of the best and most successful businesses in North Tyneside,” continues Karen. “Each finalist has a video filmed about their business, which will not only be shown on the evening of the ceremony, but will also be made available to each business to be used in their own promotional activities – that alone is a huge plus for any local business.
“I can’t wait to welcome all the successful businesses to the awards ceremony, for what will be a great opportunity to meet other businesses and share the success of our thriving business community.”
- Finally, Karen would like to share a few hints and tips about creating a successful local business, based on her experience as a business owner in the local area since 2002:
Get involved – talk to other business, go to networking events, join your local Chamber
- Talk to individuals – you never know who knows what and who knows who. If you have a problem, or need something specific, someone might have an answer for you
- Use the local authority organisations such as the North Tyneside Business Forum or the Business Factory – it’s always worth asking about funding, training, and networking events
- Interact on Social Media – it’s a thriving online community with all the benefits of business networking, without having to spend time away from your business
- Don’t be frightened to ask for help
For more information about 2017 North Tyneside Business Awards, visit www.northtynesidebusinessawards.co.uk