This week we spoke to Joanna Goddard, an Edinburgh businesswoman who juggles being a mother with a busy schedule as Founder and Director of Estate Life, Business Development Director of Young & Partners, and Co-Founder of Director Platinum Global Resources.
How long have you been at Young & Partners and what experience did you bring to the table?
I have been at Young & Partners for two years. I bring experience of managing, leading and developing retail and service-led businesses, as well as expertise in creating digital strategy for professional service firms.
The recession obviously hit businesses hard – is it safe to say things are now generally getting easier?
We are certainly seeing a sharp rise in business transactions and relocations amongst clients. The internet and export markets in particular offer significant opportunity to Scottish businesses. I don’t think it ever gets easier for business owners, with the ever developing use of technology customers expect our clients to correspond 24 hours a day, so business owners may be enjoying a surge in business but have to work harder than ever to service it.
What’s the most exciting project you have worked on?
That’s a hard question! One of the most enjoyable parts of my job is the variety of businesses and projects I have the privilege to be part of. One exciting business that I have been working recently with is talkHoliday – the founder had a truly innovative idea for a solution in the travel market and founded a company in an industry new to him. His drive and focus around what the customer needs and wants has driven the success of it. A true entrepreneur, he enlists the support of experts in their field. Angus McGuire, corporate solicitor at Young & Partners has worked closely as part of the team since its inception. It’s really enjoyable to see so many experts at a table making effective decisions quickly that result in business growth. And it’s refreshing to see a lawyer enlisted to help with strategy and planning. People often overlook the value in enlisting lawyers for planning.
You are also the Founder and Director at Estate Life – tell us more about your role there
I founded Estate Life in 2004. Now with 3 other business partners, it services 300+ rural estates throughout the UK and abroad, helping them generate revenue and reduce overheads. This primarily helps grow numerous small rural businesses which has a significant impact on rural employment. It’s a very rewarding field to work in. The exciting bit is the 100+ castles and stately homes that are available for hire – stunning isn’t the word. One of the most exciting exciting development is the soon to be open custom built high capacity venue in Aberdeen which can take 500 guests and sits with the most dramatic backdrop – a pink fairytale Victorian castle!
Tell us a little more about your involvement with the TV series, Country House Rescue
Estate Life has been an advisor to Channel 4’s Country House Rescue since its inception, providing research for the first series and various clients featured. One of my business partners and I were recently recognised on the London Tube as a result of which was funny!
How difficult is it to juggle these two very different two roles?
I actually mostly do the same thing each day, listening, researching and supporting business owners so it’s similar work no matter the what the client’s business type is. My role with Young & Partners is part-time and I am Chair of Estate Life so it balances well. A very rewarding aspect is introducing clients to each other to do business together. The lawyers are also very busy assisting the Estate Life clients with business legal support, from family shareholder agreements to licensing and employment needs.
Tell us about your third and most recent role
Platinum Global Resources was founded in November last year. It provides outsourced business development, project management and co-ordination of cross border investment projects. Working for clients throughout the UK and internationally, projects are professionally resourced and delivered with the utmost discretion. We are currently working on a number of very interesting and exciting projects – but of course I cant’ disclose what they are!
Describe a typical day for you
As a working parent with three teenagers, my day starts with planning, sorting and co-ordinating family schedules, so I usually get up half an hour before everyone else to enjoy a peaceful coffee whilst skimming through Twitter to get a feel for global news and hot topics. My colleagues regularly get a 6.30am email with a link to a relevant news story that may assist them with their client activity. From there I am mostly on the go from meeting to meeting, in and out of various businesses across Scotland. I reply to emails and return calls in between so ensuring I am never far from a charger is fast becoming an important point of my day. (Cafes and restaurants really need to look at charging points!) Recently there have been a number of international skype calls too so often, due to time zones, these have to be early morning or late evening.
It’s a busy week but I do enjoy it and of course it gives me the flexibility to be there for my children. Even now that they are older, support during study leave as well as being there for events is something I highly value. At evenings and weekend I enjoy time with my family, the cinema, and when time allows, a trip to Henri’s in Stockbridge or the Whisky Society on Queen Street!