Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Awards 2022
Most promising new business
It’s Time for Change
Contact Name: Lisa LLoyd
Business/Organisation Name: It’s Time for Change
Website Address: www.itstimeforchange.co.uk
Email Address: email@example.com
Business Sector: People (all professional sectors)
Nature of Business: To support organisations to become the best places they can be for their people to be happy, healthy and engaged.
Main Product or Service:
Although I set up It’s Time for Change in 2011, I only established it’s identity, my role and developed my services in 2019. This is when I started creating content on LinkedIn with regular articles and then my blog, communicating what I am about and how I can support clients.
It’s Time for Change provides a bespoke approach, based entirely on client needs, aimed at developing leadership, work culture and employee experience to improve mental wellbeing, engagement and performance. Its point of difference is that I am a chartered psychologist and psychotherapist and so I approach the business world from a unique background that challenges and provides insight outside of the norm.
At an organisational level, I provide consultation, training and workshops and coaching to support people at a leadership level to develop their company from a holistic and strategic place. This includes creating tailored content and processes to meet the needs of the company.
As part of the bigger whole-organisation picture, I work with specific groups across the business, for example, Mental Health First Aiders (to provide CPD), managers (for whom there is often too little investment), and working groups set up to develop particular aspects of practice or to gather and share information about promoting mental health and wellbeing.
I may also work at an individual level with employees who are looking to overcome specific challenges, develop social, emotional and behavioural knowledge and skills that will support them in their role, or provide confidence as a sounding board and advisor. This personal interaction is also a powerful way that I have followed up workshops/ training to ensure implementation and development are effective.
In addition to my time with businesses, I work with a partnership of schools (PEP:mk) and charity (Trinity Learning) to provide training for their members to develop the knowledge and skills of adults working with children and their families, to support their emotional and mental health development.
I also provide a psychotherapy service that is made accessible to members of the public so that anyone of any age can access support, whether that is for PTSD, depression, anxiety, addiction, self-harm or any other challenges to positive mental health. I use the Human Givens approach to psychotherapy that is based on neuroscience and is about achieving sustainable results as quickly as possible; my practice has a strong ethical underpinning.
I consider my service to be one that is about enabling others to be their happiest, healthiest selves so that they are able to engage meaningfully in life and enjoy their experience. This means that I also find as many ways as possible to share my knowledge, experience and expertise as a chartered psychologist and psychotherapist. As such, I am part of the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce steering group for mental wellbeing and have recently been invited to become a business mentor for The Business Spa, supporting companies looking to grow and flourish.
One way that I have been able to share what I know and provide advice about how to develop health and wellbeing is via my monthly Change Bulletin, which contains practical advice, resources and information about leadership, mental wellbeing and employee experience.
I have a regularly updated blog on my website that doubles up as a resource bank and that feeds into other companies’ platforms, on which I am an expert in my field.
And finally, I am busy having awesome conversations with inspiring leaders about employee experience in my podcast ‘Beyond the Water Cooler’. This is new for 2022 and I’m really excited about it because it really does talk about how to create a culture in which to embed health and wellbeing. This was a much-needed move to prevent mental health and well-being being a bolt-on in some companies; employee experience is about joining the dots and we know that healthy, happy employees contribute positively to a work culture, which in turn feeds into good mental wellbeing.
I should also mention my other main ‘service’ that is being a mum to two fantastic kids (and now a dog!) meaning that I juggle my work activities to fit around them. As such, I try not to work full time, so my work-days are intense but I love it!
Please provide a brief description of your business, the products or services it supplies, its customers and the markets that it operates in.
I provide consultation, training, workshops and coaching to support companies develop their employee experience, with this being the basis of positive health and wellbeing at work. I avoid a standard approach, instead, working with companies to identify what they need and how to go about developing and implementing it.
I work with leadership to take a holistic view of mental wellbeing, engagement and performance, and to create a strategy to develop this aspect of the business.
I work with specific groups across the business, for example, Mental Health First Aiders, managers and cross-workforce working groups set up to develop particular aspects of practice or to gather and share information about promoting mental health and wellbeing.
I also work with individuals who are looking to overcome specific challenges, to develop social, emotional and behavioural knowledge and skills that will support them in their role, or to provide confidence as a sounding board and advisor.
I work with any professional company in any sector, ranging from SMEs of 7 employees to the NHS Operations and Delivery Improvement Team, and Government Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
I also work with schools, charities and as a voluntary mentor to growing business leaders.
Please outline the overall trend in your sales turnover and profit development together with a brief description of any key events that have led to any changes where appropriate.
My turnover has increased over 165% over the last three years, doubling in the first year. I have been able to increase prices over time in line with my expanding services, and as I and the companies I work with realise the significant value I provide to their business.
Despite the pandemic my business has continued to grow. There has been a significant need for my services and I am expecting steady growth to continue in the coming years. However, I do not measure financial success as my ‘success’, it is the number of people I help, even in a small way, that is my driving force.
Although there are tangible upsides to my work, there are many more intangible returns that permeate through a business over time.
What are the objectives for your business over the next three years and how will these be achieved?
To adapt my communications to be really accessible and practical, to upskill the workforce with easily implementable take-aways. My aim is that people engaging with these resources feel more confident to make changes for themselves and their colleagues by engaging in a journey with me that feels safe and trusted.
For It’s Time for Change to continue to be a go-to place for an informal chat to sound things out or seek guidance about challenges to mental wellbeing that people come across in their work. I want to become that source of support that people make use of without any of the beliefs or assumptions that can prevent people from checking things out and seeking help.
To continue to develop my network of amazing businesses across the Thames Valley who provide support that I can signpost companies to or collaborate with to enrich my practice and provide best value to clients.
The business will grow on my terms and in a way that keeps my clients in the centre. I do not want to grow for the sake of growth, but to serve more people and contribute to a more positive change around mental health in business.
What planning and preparation was undertaken in developing the business?
My initial business started when I was pregnant and I resigned from my employment as a chartered psychologist. I wanted to keep-my-hand in the world of mental health and wellbeing by working one-day per week, primarily as a psychotherapist.
In 2019 I wanted to be more engaged with companies to really make a difference to a problem that I could see growing. I realised I could provide real value by focusing on the experience of employees.
I tried networking and mis-placed attempts at events. The events failed as they were not in response to company requests; the gap between what I wanted to provide (and knew was needed) and what people were buying was huge!
I enlisted the support of a coach who transformed how I work. My journey to launch my business started in my kitchen, and in February this year I launched my podcast with Dave, my coach, explaining what drove me to do what I do, and how I make a difference.
I started with developing my profile by steadily providing insight, guidance and strategies via articles on LinkedIn and later, my blog, and at events where I could get a speaking slot. This enabled me to build my reputation as an expert in the field of mental health and wellbeing. Rather than sell, I gave away information that provided value, to build trust. It also meant that people could see me for who I am – someone who is passionate, authentic, very approachable and down-to-earth.
I also engaged in reading research and keeping up to date with the reality around the challenges companies were experiencing around the mental health and wellbeing of their employees, so that I could provide advice and help to directly address these concerns.
My greatest challenge was overcoming my own beliefs about what I thought business owners had to do, how they had to behave and what they had to deliver. As soon as my coach gave me the courage to be me and for my business to fit around my lifestyle, I began to enjoy it and achieve success.
Where is your business in the market and how do you stand out from the competition?
I am now well-established in the Thames Valley. Most of my work comes from word-of-mouth, which I am very proud of as it means that connections are genuine, well-matched and meaningful.
Through opportunities to talk at events, collaborate with other companies and provide free webinars during the pandemic, I have created a following where people know that my approach is different. I am proud to be part of the TVCC Mental Health Steering Group.
As a psychologist, I challenge what lies beneath much of the practice we see day-to-day in organisations that is taken for granted. I help break down challenges to become less overwhelming. I take time to unpick and explain why things happen through a psychological lens. This is unique to many of the standard approaches to mental health and wellbeing that focuses on traditional information sharing or one-size fits all strategies.
I take a holistic view about what can be a bolt-on for companies. So, I no longer just talk about mental health and wellbeing, but about the bigger picture including work culture and leadership. This has led me to communicate more about employee experience knowing that the term incorporates all the aspects of business that are integral to a company’s success: authentic and compassionate leadership, manager competence and confidence (particularly in light of the majority accidentally taking on their role), team dynamics and individual responsibility.
I am not afraid to challenge. I will talk about resilience to a room full of business owners, throwing out traditional perceptions and making it a company responsibility. I question practice that I don’t think is working and offer insight into why and how it can be done differently to have a more positive impact. I spend considerable time researching what people really want before offering a ‘solution’, knowing that most solutions don’t fit well enough or aren’t owned by the organisation and so are time limited.
I am an expert in a unique position; there are few people in my role around. But I am also humble. And that has kept my true to my values.
What is the best piece of advice you have received in your first few years of trading and how did it benefit your business?
Stay true to you.
Some of my first words to my business coach when I began my journey in 2019 were anxiety-laden, “I’m not sure you will take me seriously as a company owner – I want to work part time, I don’t work evenings or weekends, and I only do what I enjoy.”
Dave’s reaction said it all and he has helped me maintain my principles about how I work. I have avoided trying to fit the mould that I initially believed I had to fulfil. Instead, I focused on the value that I could offer others simply because I care and am passionate about making a difference.
That means that I continue to ‘give-back’ by working with a group of schools and a charity because I know what a difference I can make to the lives of children, our future generation of employees. I volunteer to support others through mentor schemes and to support other businesses getting off the ground by providing my services at cost. I also continue to wear my psychotherapy hat one day each week, providing financially accessible therapy to the public.
I also continue to look after my own needs, which includes health and fitness, and being a mum. These are important to me and I’m a far more effective (and nicer!) person when I don’t let those important aspects of my life get side-lined. It took courage to stay true to my values when I felt I should be everything to everyone. I had to create barriers to stay true to me.
The benefit of all this is that my business focuses only on work that I find meaningful and that makes a real difference to people’s lives, whether that is in a personal capacity or their experience at work. I have developed a trusted network of amazing people within the Thames Valley and enjoy the opportunities that continue to come my way simply because of who I am and what I do, rather than what I am trying to be.
I feel very proud of what It’s Time for Change stands for.
Look ahead to one year from now, how would you describe a successful year?
Great question! I like to buck the trend of setting lots of goals and a clear plan for where I want to be in 12 months. Instead, I have a sense of direction and an open mind to what opportunities come my way. I continue to be invited to engage with amazing ‘projects’ that I simply could not have predicted. An example is my largest client to date, that came about over a cocktail!
For me, a successful year probably looks different to other companies. I am happy focusing on what I do well, and that is providing psychological advice to companies. I am avoiding the responsibility of employing people that will shift my focus from what I love.
However, I can see that It’s Time for Change will be using the services of Natali, Digital Ops Whizz, more each month as we continue to develop my services. I will be working more closely with some of the organisations who I am an associate of, to support their development and delivery of services. I will also be collaborating more with business owners who have a complimentary skill set and where, in combination, we add greater value to our clients.
I will be speaking at more events as my reputation continues to grow. I will have made a difference to more growing businesses as a mentor. I will have continued to support schools and the charity to upskill their workforce to have greater impact on their communities.
The Beyond the Water podcast and Change Bulletin will have more subscribers and I will continue to have been invited to appear as a guest on others’ podcasts, talking about real life challenges.
Most of all, I will know if the year has been successful if I am still happy and loving what I do. I enjoy my work very much and simply wish I had more hours to take advantage of the endless opportunities to do amazing things. But I have also maintained my balance between work, my family and my down-time. I will still be genuinely smiling!