In case you missed it see what’s in this section
Danielle Holmes of Black Nova Designs has had a busy August!
August is upon us – it’s the month of holidays, summer fun and time off for many people. So how are small business owners coping with the month often known as ‘silly season’?
Today we're talking to Danielle Holmes who is Sales and Marketing Director at Black Nova Designs, a web design and hosting company based in Calne, Wiltshire.
How has August been for your business?
It's summer holidays so, as a family run business, it’s a bit of a juggling act just to get through it! Not only do Kyle (my husband) and I have to balance work and childcare, but we allow most of the team extra time off to spend with their families. Thankfully, it can be a quiet month on the phones as a lot of our clients are working parents as well and taking a much-needed break during the summer. That said, I’m so aware that when people do get back to the office, they are all-systems go for the last quarter so I’m working on marketing and sales plans for then.
What were your personal plans for this month?
Personally, just surviving the month is a bonus! With two kids at home for the holidays it's important to try to get some quality family time and make some summer memories. I try to get out of the office when I can but I’m so aware of the constant battle between cash flow, business and parenting. I know I’m not alone in this so it’s always great to connect with other working parents and see how they cope - find me on LinkedIn!
What advice/tips would you give to small business owners trying to navigate the ‘holiday’ period?
As you can probably tell, this conundrum takes up a fair amount of my bandwidth in the summer holidays! My tried and tested advice would be to take one day at a time. Mum/parent guilt is very real, and it can get you down, but it’s important to remember we all have it - it’s not just you. Be kind to yourself - have that extra donut or glass of wine you deserve it and cut yourself a bit of slack. There is no ‘right’ way to parent and if you care enough to be worried then I bet you’re doing a great job.
Did you know that July 29 to Aug 7 was Love Parks Week? – is this relevant to your business or organisation?
As a tech company we’re pretty tied to our computers to be able to work, so as an organisation we don’t get out that much! However, Kyle and I both love taking long walks on the weekends. They are such a great way to get away from the screen and get some exercise done, and our walks have taken us to beautiful spaces - including national parks! Our kids are currently pre-teens so love a ‘PJ day’ over a park day, but we both remember how vital parks and playgrounds were to our routine when they were younger. Love Parks Week sounds like an excellent initiative to celebrate and protect our parks and green spaces, so I’m pleased to hear about it!
August 13 was International Left Handers Day. Are you left-handed and what issues, if any, have you ever had around being left handed?
One of our staff is left-handed, and it made us aware that the standard desktop setup in the office wasn’t that helpful for them! It can be frustrating to sit down and find the mouse on totally the wrong side and it being a lengthy faff to change it over. We now make sure that all the equipment screens and desks are put together in a usable and accessible way.
August 20 was World Photo Day. Can you share a photo as an attachment which means something to you this year so far?
My personal journey with Invisalign is now completed but it started just over a year ago. It was the hardest journey for me and I’m so proud of myself for doing it! If you’re interested, my advice is to do it, but you’ll need willpower, Bonjela and a lot of resilience and perseverance! I found it tough to only drink water, restrict when I ate and keep my teeth perfectly clean at all times - but I managed, and I’m so pleased I kept at it.
Did you know August 21 was World Entrepreneurs Day? What does this word mean to you and do you apply it to yourself?
Some people grow up knowing they want to run a business or be an entrepreneur – for me it was more fate than anything else. Although my parents had run their own business over the years, it hadn’t really occurred to me that it would be a possibility for me until I met Kyle. Being an entrepreneur to me just means you have chosen to step out of the corporate world and make your own rules. I think everyone has a different idea of what it means to be an entrepreneur and many think working for yourself is easy, when it really isn’t. Yes, working for yourself delivers freedom and flexibility, but you can’t make it work without putting in place strict rules and structures for yourself, which is a bit of a contradiction!
A few days later on August 25, it was Love My Accountant Day. Who is your accountant and why is this person so important for your business?
Paul at Ekins and Co in Swindon has been our accountant since day one, and we could not wish for someone better. I’m actually AAT qualified and we do our own accounts in house on a daily basis however for year end, companies house, R&D claims and everything else, Paul is our go-to guy.
Can you name one business you’d like to give a summer shout out too? Who has gone the extra mile for you recently?
Gosh there are just so many to choose from! If I could, I'd highlight all our amazing clients who have trusted us with creating and launching their websites and all our regular contacts, such as Fiona Scott at Scott Media and Jasmine Punter with her incredible photography skills.
The one I’d like to pick to give a summer shout out to is Rhys Taylor at TT Fitness Hub. Rhys has done a great job and been so patient with me while I restart my fitness journey. I know how important physical and mental wellness is to being able to survive busy and stressful times, and so that’s my choice this month. https://ttfitnesshub.co.uk
We are in a cost of living crisis at the moment? Is that impacting you at all in life or business? Do you have any money-saving tips you can share?
Don’t get drawn in by branding when you’re shopping for essentials! For example, the packets of supermarket own-brand painkillers often have the same chemical composition as a branded version which can be ten or twenty times the cost. Nurofen versus ibuprofen - make sure you check it out next time you’re there. The same goes for so much - toothpaste, mouthwash, shower gel, soap and even some food and drink. Plus, if you can, leave the kids at home when you need to shop or get your groceries delivered. It will save you so much money! Shopping with them is a nightmare as they just see and want so many things that make the bill grow and grow.
Have you got any services or special offers you’d like to mention?
We don’t offer monthly sales or special offers, but our web hosting always has space. And, at £84 plus VAT a year and we take care of the move, it’s a no brainer!
For more information visit https://blacknovadesigns.co.uk
Weather in Swindon