Angeline Barnett – Barnett Hood Associates
We interviewed Angeline Barnett, mother of 2 boys aged 7 & 13, who set up a wealth management company with her business partner in 2014.
Would you mind giving us a brief explanation of what your business is and when you launched it?
Barnett Hood Associates is a wealth management company launched in June 2014 by myself and my business partner Luanne Hood.
Our aim is to ensure that the financial needs of our clients are met swiftly and effectively. We help to identify financial priorities and objectives and develop a bespoke personal service to achieve these goals.
What made you want to start this particular business?
Prior to launching Barnett Hood Associates, we had been employed for over 10 years by one of the UK’s leading financial services groups. The Retail Distribution Review in 2013 brought about major changes within the financial services industry and, as a result of the new rules and regulations, a lot of leading financial services stopped offering financial advice or continued to offer advice but with high initial fees. Our vision was to open a wealth management company with a difference.
Tenacity, enthusiasm, the ability to work tirelessly to bring a vision to life, self belief and plenty of patience.
What is the most important lesson you have learnt so far?
The most important lesson we have learnt so far is not to rush into anything and if it sounds too good to be true then it usually is.
What do you think it is about you that enabled you to turn an idea into a business?
Between us we have over 30 years of experience in our chosen field which was obviously a huge help. And we were both passionate about creating a business that would benefit other people. We had the same vision about what we wanted to achieve and the same amount of drive, determination and self belief.
If you were starting all over again tomorrow, what are the top 3 rules you would follow?
- Never ever rush into making a decision. If you are not sure about something, seek help from a mentor.
- Don’t spend too much money on unnecessary advertising. Find out what has worked well for other similar businesses and spend your money wisely.
- Treat your customers better than anyone else, this is crucial for recommendations.
What difficulties did you experience setting up your business and what has got you through the tough times ?
We already knew how to give financial advice but we didn’t know how to run a business. We’ve learnt as we’ve gone along, but that has taken up a lot of time that we hadn’t accounted for in our business plan. Having a business partner has meant that we can share the responsibilities and be there for each other when times get tough. Receiving thank you cards or client referrals when we’ve done a good job is a constant source of support and a lovely reminder as to why we started the company in the first place.
Looking back now, would you have done anything differently?
When we first launched the company we spent a lot of money on advertising, buying space in local magazines, believing it was necessary in order to get our name known. Looking back, I wish somebody had told us that a good presence on social media and client recommendations would grow our business more than expensive adverts.
What have been the ups and downs of creating a business with a friend, and what advice would you give to someone who is going into business with someone else?
When you are so passionate about something that you’ve created, and quite often working to tight deadlines, it’s inevitable that there will be times that you get frustrated. It doesn’t matter how well you know and love someone, you need to be prepared that there will be times when things don’t quite go to plan. You need to learn how to accept mistakes and be willing to move on from them and not hold grudges.
The upside of working with a friend is that you can use your history to your advantage. Luanne and I had been friends for 10 years before we decided to set up on our own so we already had a good idea what each other’s strengths and weaknesses were and that’s been immensely helpful for our business. Starting up with that understanding behind us made us more productive and efficient in assigning roles and getting tasks done.
Do you have any tips for dealing with the struggles of balancing work and family life?
I never mix work time with family time. When I’m working, I’m working and when I’m being a mum, I’m just a mum. I don’t waste a second during my working days too and I am extremely time efficient so I make any calls when I’m travelling to my next appointment. I also pay somebody to do my cleaning which I am aware is a luxury but one which frees up more time for me to spend with my family.
Do you have a mentor and when you need advice, who do you talk to?
Yes, our mentor is a very good friend of mine who has recently been recognised by Her Majesty The Queen for his contribution to sustainable development. He’s been in business for over 40 years and has been a valuable asset for our business as he brings a wealth of expertise, experience and support.
What are your plans for the future?
Barnett Hood Associates has grown since we launched in June 2014 and we are now looking to expand and take on new members to join our team. We recently launched our Will writing service and we are hoping to grow this side of the business in 2016.
Do you have any specific tips for anyone wanting to start a similar business?
Once you have settled on an idea it’s vital to figure out if you can make it become a reality. You need to know if the product or service is something that people would want or need and most importantly you need to know if you can make a profit out of your idea. The more research you can do, the better. Understand who your competitors are and who your target market is. Have a solid business plan that will guide you going forwards and don’t underestimate the time it takes to learn how to run a business!