Name: Thomson Lisa.
What is your company’s name?
Where are they based?
We had an office in the middle of Edinburgh prior to the pandemic. Now, myself and my team all work around the Central Belt from home. In North Berwick, East Lothian, I’m fortunate enough to live and work.
What facilities does it offer?
We provide startups and SMEs with outsourced HR services.
Who is it selling to?
We have a niche emphasis in the technology, life sciences and engineering sectors on creative and high-growth startups and scale-ups. During the lockdown, the technology industry in Scotland boomed, bucking the economic trend.
We are incredibly proud of our customer base, which includes some of Scotland and beyond, the most innovative investor-backed firms.
What is the turnover of theirs?
Near to 450,000 GBP.
How many workforce?
Seven-Seven (plus consultants).
When was this company founded?
Why did the plunge take you?
After being laid off from a job I loved, I started my business, so I was trying to create something positive out of a very difficult situation.
Until you took the dive, what were you doing?
I have always worked in the technology field in HR and was very lucky to work for inspiring, creative businesses, including Wolfson Microelectronics, a spin-off from the University of Edinburgh that produced audio chips for the first iPod devices from Apple. I then went on to work, designing and managing their HR functions from the ground up, with other founder-led tech companies. I noticed that in outsourced services, there was an increasing demand for this, and I felt well placed to serve that market.
How did you raise the money for the start-up?
I supported myself from my severance package initially. Since it was a service company, through initial customer orders, I was able to self-fund my costs and expand from there.
What was the greatest breakthrough?
I applied for a program called the Saltire Fellowship and was accepted. I had the opportunity to study and live in the U.S. for four months, with financial help from Scottish Enterprise and Diageo, where I learned about entrepreneurship and the skills to create a successful company – marketing, sales, finance.
That was a big change for me, especially in terms of confidence and ambition.
What do you enjoy most about running the company?
Oddly enough (I never thought I would say this five years ago), I love business development the most.
What do you enjoy the least?
The administration and finances.
Luckily, I’ve built a great team, including my office manager, who is my rock, keeps me on track and is incredibly dedicated, organized and efficient.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
When people make snap judgments or underestimate others and their potential.
I work in industries that are often male-dominated, and when I first started, I also faced ageism and assumptions based on my dual role as a business owner and mother of young children. However, I have strived to not let that stop me. It has also driven my passion for equality and inclusion. I have been privileged to be an ambassador for Women’s Enterprise Scotland for several years and firmly believe in the power of positive role models and mentoring in business.
What are your goals for the company?
To reach £1 million turnover and continue to develop an incredible team and support amazing, innovation-driven businesses.
What are your top priorities?
1.Provide excellent service to our clients.
2. supporting and developing my team.
3. continuing to grow our brand in the marketplace.
4. supporting diversity initiatives.
5. contributing to the growth of Scotland’s innovation economy.
What single thing would help the most?
Although we were fortunate to be able to continue our work remotely during the pandemic, I really miss the face-to-face contacts and networking. I am hopeful that in the next year there will be progress and more opportunities to return to where it is possible and safe.
What could the government in Westminster and/or Scotland do that would help?
Focus on supporting small and medium-sized businesses, which are the backbone of the economy. In particular, the concen