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Meet Michael

I got my first taste of self-employment while studying at Queen’s University Belfast in the early 1980s. Even then I wanted to work for myself; so while other students were pulling pints to pay their bills, I was running a painting and decorating business.

After finishing university, I went into business full-time in 1987 opening one of Belfast’s first pizza takeaway and delivery businesses and running it successfully for 14 years. In 2001, I became the Northern Ireland sales agent for a UK business membership organisation. Over the next 12 years I met with and spoke to over 10,000 business owners, listening to their business challenges and problems and bringing them effective solutions to support their business.

Helping businesses with 'peace of mind' benefits such as, Health and Safety, Employment Law, Tax Legislation, Auto-Enrolment and other compliance issues is the foundation of what we do and where I find business owners have the most concerns and challenges. But having been a business owner myself, I saw that there was also a need and a desire out there to add something more aspirational - how to get more business, how to educate, train and reward you team and how to make sure my business is successful.

A good business owner works hard to promote, sell and deliver their products or services to their customers but more and more recognise the need to spend precious time and money complying with today’s increasingly complex business environment. 

That’s why in June 2014 I launched Business First Network. It gives business owners peace of mind that essential business legislation and compliance are being taken care of without it eating into their precious time and profits and because I wanted to give something back to entrepreneurs  in the shape of events, masterclasses, workshops, networking and trading opportunities and the perks and treats of Membership Plus.

 

Our Mission


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Deliver immediate access to essential business advice lines

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Make all businesses compliance affordable and easy and protect them from detrimental prosecution and investigation

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Save small businesses thousands of pounds

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Grow a network of inspired, empowered and fulfilled business owners

Why It’s Just Good Business


Complying with industry regulations, getting the best deal on insurance and business expenses, having proper employment contracts in place for your staff, meeting your auto-enrolment pension requirements - Making sure all those crucial boxes are ticked. "It's just good business".

Marketing your business, staying in touch with your industry peers, forging business connections, staying on top of news and developments, keeping your skills and knowledge up to date - All essential for continued growth and development. "It's just good business".

But none of it matters if you aren't happy. If you're bored, lonely, running on empty, overwhelmed or uninspired - it won't be long until the business suffers. If your heart isn't in it, whose is? As a business owner, feeling rewarded, fulfilled and supported is the emotional fuel in the tank for your business. You've guessed it - "It's just good business."

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So, a one-off, no-strings-attached membership fee giving access to a full suite of business support, legal protection and rewards with a 30-day money-back guarantee? Well, "It's just good business."

 
 

Meet Michael

I got my first taste of self-employment while studying at Queen’s University Belfast in the early 1980s. Even then I wanted to work for myself; so while other students were pulling pints to pay their bills, I was running a painting and decorating business.

After finishing university, I went into business full-time in 1987 opening one of Belfast’s first pizza takeaway and delivery businesses and running it successfully for 14 years. In 2001, I became the Northern Ireland sales agent for a UK business membership organisation. Over the next 12 years I met with and spoke to over 10,000 business owners, listening to their business challenges and problems and bringing them effective solutions to support their business.

Helping businesses with 'peace of mind' benefits such as, Health and Safety, Employment Law, Tax Legislation, Auto-Enrolment and other compliance issues is the foundation of what we do and where I find business owners have the most concerns and challenges. But having been a business owner myself, I saw that there was also a need and a desire out there to add something more aspirational - how to get more business, how to educate, train and reward you team and how to make sure my business is successful.

A good business owner works hard to promote, sell and deliver their products or services to their customers but more and more recognise the need to spend precious time and money complying with today’s increasingly complex business environment. 

That’s why in June 2014 I launched Business First Network. It gives business owners peace of mind that essential business legislation and compliance are being taken care of without it eating into their precious time and profits and because I wanted to give something back to entrepreneurs  in the shape of events, masterclasses, workshops, networking and trading opportunities and the perks and treats of Membership Plus.

 
 
 
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Our Mission


 
 
 

Why It’s Just Good Business


 
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Complying with industry regulations, getting the best deal on insurance and business expenses, having proper employment contracts in place for your staff, meeting your auto-enrolment pension requirements - Making sure all those crucial boxes are ticked. "It's just good business".

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Marketing your business, staying in touch with your industry peers, forging business connections, staying on top of news and developments, keeping your skills and knowledge up to date - All essential for continued growth and development. "It's just good business".

dark-tick.png

But none of it matters if you aren't happy. If you're bored, lonely, running on empty, overwhelmed or uninspired - it won't be long until the business suffers. If your heart isn't in it, whose is? As a business owner, feeling rewarded, fulfilled and supported is the emotional fuel in the tank for your business. You've guessed it - "It's just good business."

new-tick-style.png

So, a one-off, no-strings-attached membership fee giving access to a full suite of business support, legal protection and rewards with a 30-day money-back guarantee? Well, "It's just good business."

 
 
 
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Carol Townsend

Carol Townsend is a co-founder and Director of the Business First Network, based in Brighton. Her focus is to grow the organisation’s presence across the UK to meet the demand from small businesses for affordable, specialised support.

She is a passionate advocate for the small business owner, having played a key role in her husband’s business. Carol was sales director, but also had a hands-on approach to dealing with issues around health and safety, employment issues, staffing and HMRC. This experience led her into a small business organisation, where she spent 20 years serving the UK’s entrepreneurs.

She says: “I believe business success is vital to Britain, small firms being its lifeblood. I pay tribute to the thousands of men and women who every year take their ideas and courage in their hands and stride out to build their future. It is my intention that Business First will do all in its power to support and aid their progress.”

Carol lives on a smallholding with her husband and outside of work, her passion in life is caring for their array of animals. She also loves spending time with her grandchildren.

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Anna Egner

Anna Egner is our Project and Marketing Manager. With over 15 years of experience, Anna has managed several projects for small business owners on a local, national and international level.  Anna joined Business First Network in January 2018 and is responsible for the marketing and project management of the business.  

Anna said: “It is a really exciting time to join Business First Network, as the business continues to evolve, including the launch of our digital platform. I believe innovation is key to business growth and we strive to look at new ways to develop and enhance our member care services.” 

She is delighted to be part of the team and looks forward to creating new innovative initiatives for our member network and driving sustainable growth. As a strong marketer Anna will lead on the marketing and communications of the business, including social media, print and press.

Anna loves travelling to explore cultures and has made it to 30 countries so far. She enjoys arts and crafts, live music and walking her Bedlington Whippet rescue dog.

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Sue Parkinson

Membership manager Sue Parkinson looks after our membership subscriptions, including dealing with any queries or problems our members may have, and managing sales commissions.

Sue’s role also constitutes a key part of the business – we don’t exist without our members or our talented membership partners, so her eye for detail and organisational skills are integral to the Business First Network infrastructure.

Sue has been with us for over three years, joining our office in St Anne’s in April 2014. She is also enthusiastic about the important work of BFN and her contribution to it.

She says: “The most satisfying thing about my job is simply providing a first-class service to businesses throughout the UK.”

Outside work, Sue adores her little Jack Russell dog Chalky who loves her walks. She is a fan of James Bond films and is currently researching her family tree to explore her roots as a Plantagenet descendant.

 

Your Support Team


 
 

Carol Townsend

Carol Townsend is a co-founder and Director of the Business First Network, based in Brighton. Her focus is to grow the organisation’s presence across the UK to meet the demand from small businesses for affordable, specialised support.

She is a passionate advocate for the small business owner, having played a key role in her husband’s business. Carol was sales director, but also had a hands-on approach to dealing with issues around health and safety, employment issues, staffing and HMRC. This experience led her into a small business organisation, where she spent 20 years serving the UK’s entrepreneurs.

She says: “I believe business success is vital to Britain, small firms being its lifeblood. I pay tribute to the thousands of men and women who every year take their ideas and courage in their hands and stride out to build their future. It is my intention that Business First will do all in its power to support and aid their progress.”

Carol lives on a smallholding with her husband and outside of work, her passion in life is caring for their array of animals. She also loves spending time with her grandchildren.

 
 
 
 
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Anna Egner

Anna Egner is our Project and Marketing Manager. With over 15 years of experience, Anna has managed several projects for small business owners on a local, national and international level.  Anna joined Business First Network in January 2018 and is responsible for the marketing and project management of the business.  

Anna said: “It is a really exciting time to join Business First Network, as the business continues to evolve, including the launch of our digital platform. I believe innovation is key to business growth and we strive to look at new ways to develop and enhance our member care services.” 

She is delighted to be part of the team and looks forward to creating new innovative initiatives for our member network and driving sustainable growth. As a strong marketer Anna will lead on the marketing and communications of the business, including social media, print and press.

Anna loves travelling to explore cultures and has made it to 30 countries so far. She enjoys arts and crafts, live music and walking her Bedlington Whippet rescue dog.

 
 
 
 
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Sue Parkinson

Membership manager Sue Parkinson looks after our membership subscriptions, including dealing with any queries or problems our members may have, and managing sales commissions.

Sue’s role also constitutes a key part of the business – we don’t exist without our members or our talented membership partners, so her eye for detail and organisational skills are integral to the Business First Network infrastructure.

Sue has been with us for over three years, joining our office in St Anne’s in April 2014. She is also enthusiastic about the important work of BFN and her contribution to it.

She says: “The most satisfying thing about my job is simply providing a first-class service to businesses throughout the UK.”

Outside work, Sue adores her little Jack Russell dog Chalky who loves her walks. She is a fan of James Bond films and is currently researching her family tree to explore her roots as a Plantagenet descendant.

 
 
 

Free Advice & Support For Business Owners

Get the latest strategies, insights and "need to know" information to protect and grow your business.

 
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Free Advice & Support For Business Owners

Get the latest strategies, insights and "need to know" information to protect and grow your business.

 
Screen-Shot-2018-01-08-at-20.17.02.png