Interview with Karen Davis Director and Founder, chicken/egg Ltd and Be-Fabulous

Tell us about your business?
Five years ago I took the plunge and started my own marketing consultancy, over the years I’ve helped many small (and large) companies with their branding, marketing and business development.  But I’d always had the burning desire to do something a little more ‘worthwhile’ and after losing my mother to Breast Cancer always wanted to do something that would bring women together to support, share and inspire each other.  And this year I launched Be-Fabulous, a lifestyle networking site for women.

Please tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place?
I’ve always wanted to be my own boss but never thought I’d have the strength of character to do it.  I learnt so much from my mother and when I first took those baby steps into self employment I felt such a thrill and a real sense of freedom.  I’ve never looked back and although times are tough this year I know that I have the ability to run a successful business and will weather the storm to bring them both out the other side.

What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?
One of my earliest bosses was a real tyrant and I was absolutely petrefied of him, but he always pushed me to my limits and although at the time I would be a quivering wreck because he made run the pitch, or manage the presentation, the skills and confidence that he taught me gave me a solid grounding within my career.

What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?
I would definitely say it was launching Be-Fabulous.  I knew enough about digital marketing to get me by, but taking a concept and seeing it right through to launch has taught me so much about this field that not only is it an accomplishment for me, but it’s also added to my portfolio for my marketing business!

What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our readers?
It has to be to ‘never burn bridges’!  There have been many occasions when I’ve held my tongue or smiled through gritted teeth, but over the years I’ve build up a great network of contacts and they all remember as someone who pulled out all the stops to help them and deliver what they needed.

What has been the most effective marketing initiatives or programs you have used to promote your business?
Up until recently I would have said word of mouth, but Twitter has proved a great success for promoting Be-Fabulous.

What one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years?
Put one afternoon aside each week to keep on top of admin.  Taking the time to file things away and update my accounts and expenses forms have meant that by the time year-end comes around I can have my books over my accountant within the week.  No stress, no hunting around for lost receipts, just organised and ready to go.

Are there any resources or tools you’d like to share with other small business owners that have helped you run your business?
I’ve kept things very simple and just use excel for my accounts and Filemaker for my databases.  Oh and having a blackberry or an iphone so you can always pick up emails has been a god-send!

What do you do for fun/relaxation?
I have a 16 month old baby so there’s not been much relaxation going on recently!  But I’m a keen reader so losing myself in a good book in the bath is a great way to unwind.  And there’s laughter in our household most days so I never feel like I’m missing out!

What is Number One Business Goal you plan to accomplish over the next year?
My biggest goal for this year is to get Be-Fabulous into profit.  I invested quite heavily in the website as I wanted something bespoke and there are still some more developments happening.  But I’m spending a lot of my time networking and PR’ing the site and I want it to be the ‘place’ to be part of in 2009 and onwards.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
My biggest inspiration was my mother (as you’ve probably guessed) and she always told me to be true to myself.  The tag line for Be-Fabulous is Be whoever you are, whenever you want… and that’s the one piece of advice that I’d like to share with everyone!
In addition to your website, how else can our readers connect with you online?

You can email me via:

Follow me on Twitter at: @befabulous

Skype me on: karenjdavis