It’s fair to say that 2010 wasn’t the best year of Jo Long’s working life. Following the sixth or seventh round of redundancies at her firm, she decided to leave corporate life after 20 years and find a vocation that afforded her a more balanced lifestyle.
She retrained as a baby & pre-school swim teacher, launched a health and wellbeing venture and, using her vast experience of marketing and relationship management in the corporate world, set up a consultancy that helps SMEs build robust business strategies and marketing plans.
Jo Long Consulting also offers a personalised mentoring service to women who have recently returned to their corporate roles following time out through illness or to raise a family.
Jo, who is originally from Doncaster, said: “I wanted to find a vocation that would allow me to spend more time with my family. After a while I realised that I much preferred running a small business to the gruelling demands and impersonal environment of the larger companies I’d had experience of.”
However, while Jo thought she had the perfect work-life balance, a chance meeting at a local networking event eventually forced her to revise that opinion.
“I got chatting to Angela Craggs of Newcastle University Business School and she recommended Captured to me. I signed up straight away and started working with Brendan Fish, technical director at GlaxoSmithKline. I soon realised that, while I was doing lots of things, I probably wasn’t doing them as well as I should have been. That forced me to take more time to focus on the consultancy business and its future goals.”
Working with Brendan allowed Jo to refine and refocus her business offering so that customers had a better understanding of the services she provides. She also set business goals that could be met within achievable timescales and learned how to market the business more effectively online.
“I’ve really found Captured to be a valuable and worthwhile programme,” she said. “It has also given me the chance to network with like-minded people operating in all sorts of different sectors. The beauty of it is that we’ve had the opportunity to mix with larger organisations, not just the smaller firms.”