Suzanne founded the company in 2001 with the aim of creating a more flexible working life with her then one-year-old daughter, Melissa. She worked through the maternity leave of her second child Ben, (now 13) and built herself – and the business – back up after a marriage breakdown in 2004. As a single parent, she juggled the business and two children under five at a pivotal time in the company’s development.
Now celebrating 15 years in business, Approach PR has more than 20 Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) accolades for campaigns including Best Use of Media Relations, Best Not-for-Profit campaign, Best Community Relations campaign and a national “Corporate and Business Communications” award for its work on a Bradford-based initiative.
The team manages campaigns, offers PR training workshops including broadcast media coaching and consistently demonstrates the power of PR by planning its own annual events, media campaigns, CSR and reputation management.
Suzanne, who has accolades including ‘Bradford’s Inspirational Woman of the Year 2013’ and ‘Bradford Means Business Woman of the Year 2014’ to her name, shares her top three tips on running a successful business with young children:
- Love what you do: It sounds obvious but unless you have a real passion and a drive for your chosen career, going it alone can’t possibly work. Approach has at times, been like a third child for me – something I’ve needed to nurture, invest a lot of time in, take the knocks and manage the frustrations. But I’ve always loved it which makes the tough days easier and the good days amazing. And just like with your children and your family, what you put in is what you get out and 15 years on I’m incredibly proud of everything the business and the people within it has achieved.
- Keep your priorities in mind: Your business is important but what’s also important is remembering why you’re doing it. For me it was about giving me the flexibility and the important choices I wanted to make while bringing the children up. Knowing I could work around school events, assemblies, meetings… be there at the school gates on the days that really matter to Melissa and Ben. So although your business can be all consuming, you need to be disciplined and make sure you are getting the time you need with the kids and you’re not getting sucked into working 24/7… just because you can. And if that means getting out the laptop again after they’ve gone to bed so you can have quality time together early in the evening, then that’s the hit you take. It definitely gets easier as they get older!
- Be a role model: Melissa and Ben have grown up in an environment where they can see that it’s normal for mum to be working. While I do aim to be there for them when they need me, it’s important too that they understand the realities of the working world – sometimes I do have to work on a Saturday morning, later during the week or very early in a morning. But then they see the results – a successful, award-winning business managing local, national and international clients. I get immense satisfaction from knowing my children are being brought up with a strong work ethic and understand that in life, you get out what you put in. And that applies just as much to raising a family as to running a business.
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