FW Capital win award!


We are delighted to announce that FW Capital have won

Private Equity/Venture Capital House of the Year in the North East Dealmakers Awards 2014




Who rings your bell if you work for yourself?

As the Founder of Colleagues on Tap I've worked for myself for over ten years, and I've found that one of the best things about self employment is that if you achieve success it's down to you.  You don’t need to flag wave for the sales team, the customer services department, the marketing director or that person in operations that apparently made it all happen – because you wear all of those hats yourself, so success is down to you.

But the flipside has to be that when you work for yourself you're usually working by yourself too, so there's no one around to get excited for your successes - not just the huge ones that you might think about tweeting about, but just those day to day achievements that almost go unnoticed as you move on to the next challenge - every item ticked off the ‘to do’ list, each time you eat a frog (you know the phrase), the regular occasions you talk business with a new prospect, the emails and comments you receive to say thank you from a satisfied customer – these achievements all add up to making you and your business a success every day, so they need to be celebrated

So celebrate!

If you work for yourself, don't forget to give yourself a pat on the back, and do it regularly, and find someone (probably someone who also works for themselves) to celebrate the little successes with you too. When I set up in business I was bought a brass bell – the type you’d probably hear alongside a call for “shop”. Whenever something goes right in my business I ring that bell - it takes me back to my days in the recruitment industry when the bell would be rung whenever someone’s candidate was accepted for an interview, and you wouldn’t believe the chaos when there was a job offer! But that open expression of “I’ve done it” gives you such a buzz – it drives you through to the next challenge, and just importantly it just sets aside the moment that you’ve done something that makes a difference to your business – no matter how small it may seem.

If you're motivated by praise, find praise!

I know that endorsement and praise are real motivators for me. Some people are driven by money – I make money, but I’m driven by doing a great job that’s acknowledged. So I need those pats on the back – they give me energy and keep me focused. So a couple of years ago, when an Associate called me one day to tell me about something she’d achieved because she didn’t want to lose the moment, we agreed that we’d be the person each would call to have a ‘bell ring’ when we did something we were proud of. We still do it now, and ‘ring the bell’ has evolved into a metaphoric way of conveying that things are good.

If you keep your little successes to yourself you’ll get no acknowledgement, no praise or endorsement to drive you on. So why not talk about what you’ve achieved? We all have networks and peers around us – tell them what you’ve achieved so they can ring the bell for you. I’m not talking a press release every time you’ve received some great feedback, but if you have a network on social media, or amongst your business peers, actively support each other with endorsement and praise - for the small day to day achievements as well as the biggies.

Also it's important to remember that working for yourself doesn’t need to mean working by yourself all of the time.  Through the Colleagues on Tap Coworker Community (you could call that a network, but in the loosest sense), there’s a huge amount of support and camaraderie, and we’re all in the same boat. Talk about your successes – don’t be concerned that you’ll be seen to be ‘bragging’ (someone said that to me the other day) – just put it out there and we’ll get behind you. And if you let me know, I’ll ring my bell for you too.  Get in touch

Coworking Days for homeworkers every month at Clavering House

Since Clavering House opened as a business centre two years ago, it's been a really popular venue for Coworking Days run by Colleagues on Tap.  Up to 12 people who usually work from home are brought together by Colleagues on Tap founder Jayne Graham to work at Clavering House for the day. To anyone who usually works in an office that might sound a bit strange - but if you usually work at home it's a great opportunity to get out of the house, still get your work done but meet up with other business people while you work.

The Coworking Days have been run by Colleagues on Tap for over four years, and are now held across the North East, with between 8 and 10 events taking place a month.  The Clavering House Newcastle Coworking Days are usually sold out weeks in advance - it's a popular venue because it's right behind the railway station, the coffee's good and there's a tailor-made Coworking space that we take over for the day, so there's plenty of desk space and great WiFi to keep productivity high!  We also have a great supplier of lunches - made deli who let us pre-order online from a great selection of really delicious sandwiches, salads and baked potatoes, and when lunch is delivered we sit together and eat and catch up with coworkers after a busy morning's work.

Another key feature of Coworking Days is our after-lunch 'SpoT chat' - this is an hour-long group discussion about a topic that's useful to the coworkers present - helping them in some way with their businesses, from marketing to motivation.  These chats provide the opportunity for sharing knowledge and often lead to new relationships being formed - people have found suppliers, customers, mentors and have often form new friendships and business associations - you never quite know who you'll meet!

Dates for Coworking Days planned for the next few months at Clavering House can be found at http://www.colleaguesontap.com/locations/clavering-house-newcastle-city-centre/ and you can book and pay online. If you book 2 events at a time the cost is only £16 per Coworking Day for the full day including your lunch and as much tea and coffee as you can drink!

Tourism in Northumberland to get a healthy boost

STO Consulting (a Clavering House tenant since it opened) recently worked with Clare Blunt and the team at Hadrian Residential Bootcamp in developing a new business that will get groups of enthusiastic people involved in healthy activity in the beautiful surroundings of Hadrian’s Wall, Northumberland.

The north east based company identified the opportunity arising from a combination of consumer trends, the fantastic resource of countryside that the north east has to offer and the evident demand for a new way of fitting in healthy activity within our busy lifestyles.

This will bring an important share of this growing market to the north east (£4.4bn is spent on sports classes and gym fees in the UK*) and the team are keen to emphasise that this is not just for fitness enthusiasts. It’s aimed at anyone at any level of fitness to come and learn about the range of things that go together to form a healthy lifestyle.

The service that has been developed is described as ‘The complete fitness and health experience’ because participants will be guided through a complete 5 day package of activities from fitness training to nutrition advice and ‘mental fitness’ workshops. This is all done in a positive, fun and supportive team environment.

The fact that this all takes place in luxury (4 star) accommodation within 98 acres of beautiful Northumbrian countryside by the river and the historic Hadrian’s Wall is an added bonus.

As if this wasn’t enough, a renowned local chef, Gez, with a string of successful north east cafebars to his name is also present to prepare a range of exceptional and healthy food throughout the programme. It’s all wheat, gluten and dairy free, so it’s very inclusive. Gez will be picking lots of local produce to provide the raw materials for his recipes.

Gez will also provide a workshop to share his experience of preparing and cooking nutritionally rich foods and to show how easy it is to incorporate this in to family life.


Clare explained her motives for developing the new bootcamp concept:

“My background is supporting mental fitness; understanding the importance of a healthy mindset. I see no better location to do this than the beautiful Northumberland countryside. I am also a fitness enthusiast and love the outdoor bootcamp option as it is so easy to motivate yourself to participate in this”


Head trainer Martin added:

“Having run outdoor bootcamps for several years now, I know how popular and effective they are. We wanted to provide an opportunity for people to either kick start a new healthy regime or challenge themselves to do things they never thought possible.”