The MD of a leading retail design agency has told how she has led a management buy out to acquire the business.
Jayne Mayled spent 19 years in senior positions at Boots before joining Notts based Jupiter Design in 2007. She oversaw significant growth and was able to acquire the £6m turnover business in December.
"I know there are a lot of people in big corporates that would love to do something different but they think the skills they have will disappear in a puff of fairy dust if they leave. I am trying to encourage people to explore that world outside."
Ms Mayled, 52, admits leaving a large corporate was a shock to the system, the biggest surprise was not having someone senior marking her "homework" any more.
"However senior a job you are in, you have bosses – people above you who are in control of your life," she says.
Owning and running a business means she has to focus much more on generating new business leads and making a profit.
"It's hard to keep an entrepreneurial feel when you are in a large corporate. You are part of a huge team and, to a degree, it's like a huge liner. You can hit things and sometimes you can disrupt it but it's very hard for an individual to do something.
"In a small business, you are acutely aware that you have to do better in the business every day," she says. "In a big organisation, it can be what's seen to be done not what is actually done. In a small organisation, things are much more visible.
"If you are in a big corporate you have many, fantastically intelligent people in support structures around you. Whereas in a small company you have to build a team and do a wide range of things. Some one on my first day asked me where the smoking bins should be and I had no idea.
Interacting with staff is different. "We have really adult to adult relationships. Large corporates can still be hierarchical and still have parent and child relationships, even at a senior level."
Ms Mayled, who is married and has a 13-year-old daughter, has hired senior staff to help her build the business, including a new creative director and finance director. Former Boots chief exec Richard Baker acted as a mentor and the company retains large clients such as Boots and Argos.
"The master plan is not necessarily to grow humungous," she says. "Our passion is about retail communication. We want to be a national agency that happens to be based in the regions."
She also keeps things in perspective, having had a brush with breast cancer in 1999 that required two operations and treatment. "Some of the really scary things in life are much scarier than running a business," she says. "What's the worst that can happen? It could all just go hideously wrong."
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