We all need a helping hand….

Small businesses are reliant on partnering with like-minded businesses not only to share learnings and efficiencies but also to drive new business through personal recommendations. Here we talk to the founders of three small businesses: annabel London Ltd – a bespoke PA and administrative service for private clients and small businesses; Good Sorts – the expert home sorting service, and Sort Your Help – for the professional recruitment of household staff; on their business relationship; tips for bringing a degree of order to your life as well an insight into the people behind the brands.

What ingredients do each of you bring to the table to ensure your business collaboration is a recipe for success?

Caroline Hartley (Good Sorts): When we first met to discuss working together, we agreed that Relief with a capital R is the emotion that all our clients have in common as soon as they speak to any one of us. Listening carefully is key so that a client knows straightaway that they are talking to someone who completely understands their problem and will find a solution that’s perfectly tailored to them. We’re all committed to the highest professional standards but, because we have unique access and insight into our clients’ private lives, kindness, sensitivity and a dash of humour are equally essential.

Alexa Ridley and Cath Kenny (SortYourHelp): SortYourHelp is all about our relationships both with clients and candidates. We believe that listening, empathising and understanding is essential to getting the right Help in place. Our personal experience alongside our bespoke service underpins our ethos and means that clients continue to trust and recommend us. The trust we build invariably leads to us being asked to advise or help outside our remit. It is therefore essential for us to have a network of trusted and like-minded partners.

Annabel Bunch and Annabel Jefferson (annabel): As a small, service-led business, it’s all about making an immediate connection with the client and establishing a professional bond of trust. This is aided by working alongside like-minded businesses who share the same core values as us; not only “trust” but also “integrity”, “discretion” and “commitment”…..word of mouth is incredibly important in our line of work and it’s a delight finding businesses who pride themselves on the same level of care and personal service.

From your professional experience, any simple advice on how we can start bringing order to our lives?

Caroline Hartley (Good Sorts): The life events that are the catalysts for calling in Good Sorts are emotionally challenging even without having to organise a lifetime of possessions. Don’t overface yourself. Break everything down into defined, manageable chunks. ‘This morning I’ll go through the cake tins’ not ‘I’ve got to tackle the whole kitchen’. And try to think positively. You’re curating your possessions, not purging them.

Alexa Ridley and Cath Kenny (SortYourHelp): We always say at SYH that “what you put in you get out”. This is key to having long term, successful Help. We always encourage our clients to have realistic expectations and to communicate these from the outset.

Annabel Bunch and Annabel Jefferson (annabel): Planning as far in advance as possible has both financial and time benefits be it tax return planning, legacy planning or reviewing your insurance portfolio on an annual basis. By simply diarising renewals (digitally!) and setting time across the year to collate paperwork it’s amazing how much time and money you can save.

And personally, any recommendations or time-saving tips?

Caroline Hartley (Good Sorts): It’s very important to eat well when you’re going through a stressful time. If you don’t want to cook, Potage deliver healthy and delicious home-cooked frozen meals nationwide with recipes that change every month. www.potage.co.uk @potage_ Once you’ve moved and you have all the fun of choosing new soft furnishings, Painswick Fabrics is a must. They sell beautiful designer fabrics at up to 80% discount www.painswickfabric.co.uk. For picture framing, go to Canford & Co in Lillie Road. www.canfordframes.co.uk @canfordframers If you want a personalised present for someone who’s just moved, Emily Jones China is enchanting www.emilyjoneschina.co.uk.

Alexa Ridley and Cath Kenny (SortYourHelp): We are big fans of making our and our clients’ lives easier. We love lists and timetables at SYH! Our top tip is to have rolling meal plans and save these with a list of ingredients for those plans. It saves hours of physical and/or online shopping time.

Annabel Bunch (annabel): So much to offer but our ‘can’t go wrong’ A-tips are: unique gifts from Debonnaire (@debonnairevb / www.debonnaire.com); beautiful, naturally farmed flowers from Georgie Newbery (@commonfarmflowers / www.commonfarmflowers.com) and delicious, seasonal breakfast, lunch and dinner at Clarkes (@sallyclarkeltd / www.sallyclarke.com) and a cheeky, wobbly love of antique jelly mould collector @adventuresinjelly !!

What has kept you sane through these crazy times and what are you most looking forward to now the end of restrictions are in sight?

Caroline Hartley (Good Sorts): Escapism was a must for me during the lockdowns. Radio 3 rather than Radio 4 and during the first lockdown our guilty pleasure was watching a box set of every episode of Downton Abbey. My not so guilty pleasure was the Slightly Foxed podcast. It’s like sitting around a kitchen table discussing favourite books with well-read friends – if only one could join in!

I’m most looking forward to staying in our favourite Landmark Trust cottage in Cornwall. We’ve had to cancel twice so we’re hoping it’s third time lucky. And getting dressed up to go out – wearing lipstick without worrying about it coming off all over one’s mask!

Cath Kenny (SortYourHelp): I cannot wait to travel again; the planning and anticipation; getting on a plane and experiencing the sights, smells and tastes of a different culture.

Alexa Ridley (SortYourHelp): I am a big fan of the Spectator’s Coffee House Shots podcasts – topical, varied and on point. I cannot wait to make firm plans without worrying that they will be cancelled.

Annabel Bunch (annabel): My absolute favourite daily podcast through Brexit and the lockdowns has been Newscast presented by Adam Fleming – all the facts as they happen – it has kept me sane on the darker days.

Annabel Jefferson (annabel): I can’t wait to enjoy live music and sport again in a safe environment. I will be heading to the Oval to watch Surrey and catching up with some of my favourite bands when they are able to perform again.

Good Sorts

goodsorts.jpg

Caroline Hartley
Co-Founder

Good Sorts provides sensitive and expert help to downsizers and executors editing a Lifetime of Possessions.
 

W: www.good-sorts.co.uk
E: enquiries@good-sorts.co.uk
T: +44 (0)1491 845552

Sort Your Help

sortyourhelp.jpg

Alex Ridley (Left) - Partner
Cath Kenny (Right) - Partner

Sort Your Help is a domestic search consultancy specialising in sourcing the right domestic Help to fit the needs of our Clients

W: www.sortyourhelp.com
E: info@sortyourhelp.com
T: +44 (0)208 720 7063

annabel London Ltd

annabel.jpg

Annabel Bunch (Left) - Founder
Annabel Jefferson (Right) - Founder

annabel London Ltd provides expert PA and administrative support to private clients; entrepreneurs and small businesses.

W: www.annabel.co.uk
E: help@annabel.co.uk
T: +44 (0)7771900661



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