WHEN local businessman Mark Moore found himself out of work there was a moment when the 42-year old from Avening thought “now what?”
But the story of how this father of two used this turning point in his life to his positive advantage can, he believes, inspire other people.
“My story is relevant to where the country is at the moment,” he explained. “People are being laid off from work left, right and centre. The financial services company I worked for went into liquidation and there were no jobs out there. But I believed in the work that I was doing at that company and thought that I could offer the same service myself.”
And so the idea for Professionals Connecting, an intermediary company connecting independent financial advisers with employers and the public, was born.
It was several months before Mr Moore was in a position to set up the company but he was not idle. “I taught myself web design from scratch and initially tried my hand at setting up a telecoms company, partnering with o2. I was far from stagnant.”
But he came back to financial services and decided that working for himself was the way forward.
“I was supported 100 percent by the Job Centre. I couldn’t fault them. After being unemployed for six months I was able to go onto to the New Enterprise Allowance scheme which was fantastic.”
This scheme provided Mr Moore with a business mentor and allowed him to access a £1,000 grant.
“You have to show a solid business plan and have an idea of how you will get your business off the ground before they will give out a grant,” said Mr Moore.
This business plan has proved to be a winning formula so far. Professionals Connecting has found itself in demand and highly relevant at the moment as one part of its business is connecting employers free of charge with an adviser to guide them though the complex current workplace pension reforms.
In just one year Mr Moore has moved his fledgling company from his bedroom to an office in Cirencester and Professionals Connecting now employs one member of staff.
“I spent time getting clients on board who were prepared to give me a shot. To start with I was just surviving but then I started to make enough cash to afford an office and employ someone. That was the best move,” he said.
Mr Moore is optimistic about the future and although he sees himself taking on more staff in the future, he does not want to overstretch himself. “I don’t want to run before I can walk,” he said.
But having just landed a major new contract with one of the largest accountancy networks in the UK, it is hard to see Professionals Connecting staying small for too long.
“Business is going well and I am loving it,” he said. “I can’t praise highly enough the help that the government offered to me and I hope my story will motivate someone who has been laid off.
“If you have a sold business plan then go and talk to the job centre and ask about the New Enterprise Allowance scheme. Do not think of it as the end. The way we got out of the last recession was by people setting up their own businesses.”
• For more information on Professionals Connecting go to www.professionalsconnecting.co.uk or call 01285 700768/700762.
• For more details about the New Enterprise Allowance go to www.gov.uk/new-enterprise-allowance