Inspirational Woman: Lysbeth Fox | Founder of Fox PR

What inspired you to start a business?

Lysbeth FoxNature or nurture, that is the question? My grandfather had his own business, then after many years of being employed my father started his own business. So I suppose I never saw it as daunting, just something one did. I worked for various PR agencies and wanted to set up on my own 10 years before I actually did, but I kept on getting hired by my clients. So when I set up Fox PR finally I was determined that I wouldn’t let my clients convince me into working for them, funnily enough none of them have! However, I don’t regret those 10 years, as what I learnt and the connections I made has shaped me and my company into what it is and who I am today.

What is the greatest challenge and the greatest reward in being your own boss?

I think the greatest challenge, as the company grows is ensuring that I am one step ahead of everyone else in the company. So I suppose that’s about being the boss whether it’s your business or not. Staffing is the fundamental challenge, a great employee is hard to find, but when you do, boy is it rewarding. An average or below average employee can damage your business. The problem about running your own business is you want everyone to have as much commitment and work ethic as you, but we have to face facts, this isn’t going to happen – so the challenge is how to get the most out of your employees in a positive way.

My greatest reward is how honestly proud I am of what we do and achieve on behalf of our clients. I am also incredibly proud and delighted with my team they are my greatest reward. When I talk to clients or meet potential new business figures I am so honestly delighted of what we achieve on behalf of our clients at Fox PR that they can see this exuding from me and realize that we are a very special company to work with. We are honest, fun, creative, yet professional, it gives me such pleasure to know that we will enhance their working life by having Fox PR as part of their team.

What motivational tips can you give to our members about goal setting and managing both successes and failures?

Firstly that the first three years is the hardest you’ll do and that if starting up a business was easy everyone would be doing it! Businesses, sales, staffing etc, all has its peaks and troughs, none of them last forever and you will come out of them all having learnt valuable lessons; a little scarred, but a more confident entrepreneur for it.

Set goals, write down your yearly vision plans, 5 year, 10 year plans. Get your team involved, it’s not only wonderful to hear what they say, but they might have some good ideas too! But be flexible with your plans. I heard one talk recently where the business owner said, “write down your forecast plans, then half them and half them again.” We entrepreneurs put ourselves under tremendous pressure to meet/achieve/over achieve these goals that we set for ourselves (ironic isn’t it). However, running a business is much more flexible than black & white on paper. And to remain on top for the long run; make sure you allow yourself to fail along the way, maybe not reach your targets every year, but more importantly carry on and set more realistic goals for the future – easy to say – hard to put in practice!

What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a business owner?

For me it’s the decision I could make more money in the short term working at a top agency. But I love the creativity, passion and enthusiasm as well as flexible working life that I have as a business owner. I may work at any hour, but I can also do things I wouldn’t be able to do in a more formal working environment.

How have you benefited from mentoring or coaching?

Yes, absolutely. And to any budding entrepreneur out there go get yourself a couple of mentors. I have had three mentors since setting up Fox PR and all of them have been invaluable in their own way, shaping Fox PR into the business to what it is today and what it will be tomorrow. I too enjoy mentoring future entrepreneurs and always have time for people who are starting out and want advice or guidance – I remember what it was like for me at the beginning.

What advice can you give about the benefits of networking?

Invaluable, I work in PR so our DNA is about networking with journalists to get stories featured in the media. I think the best advice for those who aren’t naturally built for networking especially in large cocktail party scenarios, is that everyone in that room is there for the same reason you are, to do business!

What are your tips for scaling a business and how do you plan for and manage growth?

Cashflow, putting in your forecasted business wins vs expenses and working out how you will staff it successfully. I’ve learnt that creating a tension is a great way to grow a business, but I wouldn’t want to do it every day. As entrepreneurs we are natural risk takers, so it’s that clever equilibrium between realistic expectations and pushing forward to grow the business. A great accountant, Ops Director or mentor will help you forecast for the future and advise you on how you will put the staffing or stock in place to successfully grow your business.

What does the future hold for you?

We have some big plans at Fox PR, we have set our five,10 year plans and know where we are going in the future. I work every day like it matters and enjoy the challenges that being a business owner brings. My personal challenge for the future is growing the company whilst retaining it’s amazing DNA of being a very special place to work and ensuring our clients receive the finest quality media awareness out there. That’s my most important challenge.

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