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Friday interview: Natasha Maw

Where are you from and why did you move to London?

I am actually a born and bred Londoner who has lived here most of my life, with a few years spent in Rome after I left university.

How did you get the idea of starting your business?

Quattrain is a partnership of four women.  We all left the BBC at around the same time 3 years ago and thought that there was an opportunity to bring the creative skills of broadcasting to businesses such as presentation, communication and creativity.

How did you start developing your network of contacts for your business? Any tips of groups entrepreneurs, a future entrepreneur should attend?

We sat down together and mapped out our contacts in different areas.  We identified strengths and weaknesses in our contact network and strategically built on the areas where we were weakest.  It is also really important to maintain your existing network with regular communication and updates about what your business is doing.

What made you want to start your business in London?

All four partners in Quattrain live in London and this is a great place to do business.  Given the diversity of businesses in the city, it also holds exciting possibilities for collaboration and partnerships which we are keen to build on.

Tell us what the future holds for your business.

We have a strong record in the media and academic worlds, now we want to build our reputation in the business and entrepreneurial field.  We are also looking to create partnerships with other businesses and, as programme makers with a wealth of experience of media production, we would like to start staging larger events.

What are some of the challenges you faced in setting up your business and the top 3 tips you give to those thinking of getting into your industry? 

One of the biggest challenges for us has been how long it takes to build up relationships with organisations.  You can have really positive meetings and feedback from potential clients, but we underestimated the amount of time and resource it would take to build those relationships with the tangible outcome of paid work!  Another challenge is to win the big contracts that keep continuity of work coming in without having to continually chase smaller projects.

Tips:

  • Think hard about the people you go into business with.  Are your skills and personality types complimentary ?  Do you share the same values about your business and where you want it to grow?
  • Do something that you love as starting up in business is hard work. A lot of graft goes into chasing new contracts, networking, and putting business systems in place. For all this hard work to be worth it, it has to be enjoyable.
  • We operate in a competitive field so any business thinking of going into training has to be aware of their unique selling point (USP). What is it that is going to make you stand out from all the other businesses offering media skills and leadership training?  Our USP is our long and collective experience at the BBC which covers senior management, broadcasting, production and journalism.