Claire Swindell - Blinc
Claire Swindell graduated in 2004 with a degree in Journalism, Film and Broadcasting, and soon launched her own business, Blinc. “I left the company that I was working with, and luckily previous colleagues began offering me work managing their events. I actually had the clients before I had the business”, Claire explains.
Founded in 2007, Blinc is an Events Management company, focusing on the financial sector. Blinc consults with businesses on their event and seminar models, assisting clients across the UK with managing events, and assisting on a consultant basis for clients who already have an event programme in place.
For Claire, it was important that the business had the right image from the start. “I knew that I needed business cards, a website and so on, so that I would be taken seriously by potential clients”, she explains. “Then it was a case of contacting absolutely everyone I knew!”
A few months into trading, the business was regularly securing new clients, but cash-flow proved to be a problem for Claire. “I’d have a meeting in August and win the business, but it wasn’t until January that the event would actually happen”, she explains. Through Cardiff University, Claire applied for a KEF Scholarship, and began to receive money each month to help her with living expenses whilst the business was developing. “KEF was great for travel”, Claire says. “I offer exclusivity on an area, so if I worked with an Independent Financial Adviser in Cardiff, I wouldn’t work with another in the same area. Therefore I was travelling a lot in those first few months to generate more business.”
Starting a business is always hard work, but Claire is grateful for the great opportunities which Blinc has afforded her. “When I’ve had doubts, my family always remind me of the achievements Blinc has brought, such as buying my first house”, Claire says. “Also, my job offers me so much flexibility. It’s certainly let me have the lifestyle I wanted to achieve, which is a huge success for me.”
Claire is currently supporting some of Cardiff University’s programmes for new entrepreneurs, including SIFE and Dynamo. “I have found these sessions extremely rewarding, and they are always an opportunity to remind yourself of how far you have come”, Claire explains.
Claire’s advice to any other budding businessmen and women is “You’re not alone - there is so much support available locally and nationally. You just have to ask. Don’t feel you have to be good at everything. If you have one skill which you think can be converted into a successful business, there will be people available to help you with the other areas.” Claire also emphasises the importance of using your contacts wisely. “It’s often easy to not realise who is in your networks”, she admits. “You must really analyse who can help you; friends, friends’ parents, friends of friends parents!”
Blinc is now in its third year. You can find out more about the services they offer at www.DontBlinc.co.uk