• Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

North East Connected

Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub

Back To my Roots


Sara Noel is the founder of Strategize Your Biz and the author of ‘How to COPE with growing your business’ Her mission is to help as many business owners either start up or scale up by developing effective business strategies in order to achieve the financial goals of businesses.    She has worked on a global scale in Export Management and gained extensive experience in the retail sector after graduating from University of Teesside in 1999.

For a free 1 hour consultation to discuss your business growth needs click here.Or alternatively drop Sara an email at sara@strategizeyourbiz.com

The History

Back in 1999 when I graduated from University of Teesside the business landscape was nothing like it is today. Or so I thought. I think at times we are brainwashed to believe that upon leaving business school graduates will only find opportunities in London.  So off we pop with hope in our eyes with no experience armed with a piece of paper and a smile.

I am originally from Thornaby, born and bred.  I went to Conyers in Yarm and then attended college and university in Middlesbrough.

I have lived in Leeds, Brighton, London and the Caribbean and never would I have imagined that nearly 16 years on I would be back to my roots writing a piece for an online business magazine.

The true importance of planning was evident when I relocated to the Caribbean to work as an Export Manager for a brewery.  Based in Trinidad I had the privilege of working with distributors from across the region, I formulated and executed plans to open up new markets and was heavily involved in a trade mission in Cuba.

It wasn’t easy at first and I was faced with many challenges.  I worked in a male dominated environment as a woman from foreign soil.  It took a long time to gain trust and respect but I tore the walls down and through sweat, blood and tears I feel I made a difference to the Export side of the business which is backed up by results.

By the time I reached my last year in this role I had revenue accountability of $10m U.S, and managed a $2m U.S marketing budget.  As you can imagine planning was key as I worked with distributors across the region in ensuring plans were rolled out.  I had to plan monthly shipments of 250k cases each month, conduct regular market research for each market, create marketing plans for each brand within the portfolio and work with each distributor on their Operational and Strategic plans.

The Return

I returned to the North East with my son in November 2015.  Coming back to the North East was never my initial plan.  It was supposed to be short term whilst I launched my business and in the process receive support from my family.  I had created a solid network of friends in London who were and are still considered an extension of my family.   I had resettled back into London life after being away for 6 years in the Caribbean.  It was not an easy decision to make.

However, upon returning home I was reminded of the warmth of the community and the ability of the people of the North to battle through adversity.  In talking to people across the region in the business network community it amazes me how so many people are turning a negative in the recent closure of SSI into a positive.   There is a ‘ do or die’ attitude in the air and many are using the situation to cease the opportunity to go self employed and create their own careers.

The region has taken a hit recently with the closure of the SSI steel plant and naturally this has a knock on effect to other businesses in the region.  Losing the custom of thousands of workers affects not only the supply chain but retail and services as well.

Therefore, it is as important for established businesses to review their plans and to work strategically in order to fuel growth.  It is vital that local businesses support each other to fuel the local economy and to create jobs as a result.  

The Plan

I set up Strategize Your Biz to help start-ups, sole traders, micro and small businesses develop effective business strategies that will give clear vision, objectives, and plans that are executed in line with specific timelines whatever stage of the business cycle they are positioned.

After an initial consultation, I aim to understand where you are positioned in the marketplace.  I will review current initiatives that are driving your business and what you can do differently in the future to improve your sales and position in the marketplace.

I have a passion for watching businesses grow from concept to reality.  There is something incredible in being surrounded by like minded people with a main purpose in life to follow their dreams.  I am a member of a local BNI chapter and it is encouraging to know that everyone in the room has a sole purpose of growing the business of their fellow members.  This is what needs to happen on a whole as a region in the business community.

We are taught to go to school, get a job and save for retirement.  There are people who are comfortable with that system and I respect that.  However, there are also many people who spend years in their career heavy with resentment of making one entrepreneur rich and ignoring their own entrepreneurial spirit that burns inside.   Again, we have been told from a young age to ‘play it safe’.  Well it’s no longer safe anymore.  We live in fear of redundancy and this has resulted in people working more hours for less money, low morale in the workplace and an uncertainty of what lies ahead.

I am here to use this opportunity to share what I am passionate about and investigate the possibility of working with other businesses in the area to  strengthen the landscape.

By admin