Stefanie Hopkins, Managing Director at Faith PR.
Why did you start your business in the first place?
I never set out with the intention of running a PR agency. I went freelance initially ten years ago and the right opportunities came along (combined with a lot of hard work!) which allowed me to grow the business in 2012 when my daughter was two.
What is your business motto?
To deliver excellence through creativity, commitment and fostering client partnerships. My aim is to inspire my team to deliver outstanding work and provide exemplary counsel to retain the trust of our clients to ensure the long-term sustainability of the business.
What advice would you give to anyone starting their own business?
Nail your accounting – stay on top of your numbers and think and act like a bigger company. Put in place systems and procedures that will support your growth and allow you to keep an overview of both the company’s and staff performance.Don’t be afraid to hire people better than you. Put in the hours, stand out, go the extra mile.
What was the biggest challenge you faced starting your business?
People issues have probably been my biggest challenge. Not only in terms of finding, hiring and holding onto the best members of your team but also managing them, keeping them happy and dealing with issues which are not always in your control. Closely followed by cash flow and bad debt – we once had to inject a substantial amount from our personal savings into the business to tide over a cash flow banking issue with an international client.
What do you enjoy most about being self-employed?
The flexibility and freedom it brings to work with the clients I want and the hours I want (to a degree!)
What do you enjoy least about being self-employed?
That you’re always working. It’s difficult to switch off completely. And being accountable for people’s salaries and livelihoods.
Which business figure do you most admire and why?
It would be easy to name a high profile figure like Michelle Mone but in actual fact it’s probably someone much closer to home - my husband. He spent most of his career working at one agency, rising through the ranks to ultimately lead an MBO and become MD. He then increased turnover from £8m to £20m and staff numbers from 48 to 75. There’s no agency, business or staff issue he hasn’t faced! I’ve seen him deal with some of these issues first hand and don’t think I could have a better role model.
What achievement in your career are you most proud of?
Winning a six figure national account in 2013 which spring-boarded the agency’s growth and allowed me to take on my first full-time employee.
Where do you see your business going in the next five years?
I would like to continue to grow our presence and cement our reputation as a leading PR, social media and content agency in West Yorkshire.
My aim is to keep evolving and building on our expertise and skill set so we can offer clients the most pioneering and up to date services with the best people on board to do the job.
This might be through collaborative partnerships or acquisition of complementary businesses or continued organic growth.
If you could invent one new product, what would it be?
A pill or potion to help me sleep on demand for a pre-determined number of hours. Then I would never be tired again and could achieve so much more!
If you could work for one company, who would it be and why?
Aside from Faith PR, it would be a travel firm so I could combine my love of languages and travelling with my PR and comms experience.