“Have your goal. Make a plan and go for it! Do what you enjoy,” says Lisa Newton. It has certainly paid off for her.
Lisa set up her bookkeeping service 8 years ago with £100 from her overdraft and a loan of £50 from her mum. Today, Boogles employs 25 people at its London headquarters and it has expanded its operations UK-wide via franchising.
“We help busy owner-managers to get time back in their lives and to sleep easier at night, by taking away a lot of their administrative and paperwork burdens – and their stress… bookkeeping, vat returns, payroll and occasionally credit control,” says Lisa.
“Many SMEs and self-employed people start a business to do a job they enjoy, not to get bogged down with paperwork. We give them their time back. This has since extended into bookkeeping training and cost-expense analysis.
“Lots of people just pay bills, without really analysing whether the expense is good value – so we do a free expense review, just to see if we can help the client save money. Keep your costs down! Have a look at the www.PayLessForYourBills.co.uk – free comparison website. I’m sure we can save you some money!
“When we first began, and for the first 3 years, we had one credit card of £500. The bank was unwilling to offer any more. One day, I happened to be out networking, I met David, a bank manager from HSBC who booked me in to see them and within 2 weeks, I had a credit card, an overdraft and I was eligible for a loan. I had struggled to grow the business on £500. Next thing, £20,000 was available to me. I couldn’t believe it. Years later, the first bank rang me out the blue to see if I was interested in opening an account with them. I said – no way. When I needed the help – it wasn’t there. I’d encourage anyone with banking difficulties to shop around.”
Inspired to work for herself
Lisa was inspired to start her own business when she saw the author Robert Kiyosaki on the Oprah Winfrey Show. “Kiyosaki, just drills home the importance of learning about personal finance and how money works. He said ‘the rich don’t work hard for money, they have money work hard for them’ and he advises you to mind your own business… not someone else’s.
“What he said made complete sense to me. As soon as I completed my MSc in Investment Management – in the same month I graduated – I formed Boogles Ltd. I just didn’t want to work for anyone else but myself. I also believe you should start before you have anything to lose… the sooner, the better.
“I’d describe myself as an entrepreneur. I’m not ‘an accountant’ or just ‘a bookkeeper’. But I run a bookkeeping business. It’s not the only company I am Finance Director of. I’ve always liked sales and business. My very first business was selling bobbles and lingerie to staff and students at school when I was 13. I’ve always been the person put in charge of the money, because people know I won’t spend it. I’ve always been the type of person to find a way to get more value. Running a bookkeeping business, helping people make cost-savings and being the Finance Director, really does suit my skills set.” Lisa also writes books. The most recent being: How To Start Your Own Bookkeeping Business: And Be Successful.
The low points occur for Lisa when she is not in the flow. “You get over it by asking yourself: ‘should I really be doing this’? By eliminating or fixing all the issues that aren’t working, you ensure that they never trouble you again. If your energy gets stuck – change your routine, play some music. Your energy will be zapped if you have people around you who do not add value. Breaking the cycle helps. Don’t wallow. Take action, move, do something about it, and don’t wait till it’s critical to do something – do it way before then.
The high points have been when Boogles has won awards… most recently the ‘Best Accounting Franchisor 2012’ (BKN award). Other high points, she says, are the opportunities to network and mingle with like-minded business people… and completing things. “When you’ve worked on a project for ages, its nice to see the thing finished. You can move onto the next thing.
“The future plan is to continue with the bookkeeping franchise expansion and to get products from the Shapeline Hair business, where I’m also the Finance Director, into the shops.”