Claire shares her story about stepping into the hotseat at Box-It East
The business, which is part of a national Box-It franchise, specialises in document management and storage and clients range from councils to law firms, and universities.
Based at Symonds Farm off the A14 at Risby, near Bury St Edmunds, the firm employs eight staff, but is all set for further growth as part of plans to double the size of the state-of-the-art storage facility, which is getting close to its 230,000-box capacity.
It is an enormous undertaking, the store is filled with rows of 11-metre high shelving units stacked high with boxes - each carefully bar-coded so that they can be easily tracked and sent out to clients within the promised next day delivery time, if requested.
Claire originally joined the business after spotting a job advert in her local paper, while working in Thetford. That was a decade ago and she has since worked closely with owner David Midwood as the pair built up the business.
When he announced last year that he was retiring, she was asked a rather coded question about whether she wanted to work Fridays – the first sign that she was being considered to take over.
And the married 41-year-old mother-of-one said she was enjoying setting about putting her own stamp on the business, which has seen sales more than double to about £750,000.
Key to that is winning more work in Norfolk, but she has also been inspired by work with her business coach Suzanne MacDonald-Carr to introduce some processes around performance management for her team.
“This year we are looking at the services that we offer, such as archiving and re-location,” she said. “I am thinking about promoting scanning a bit more in the future too.
“I am very much a target driven person,” she said. “My plan is to add value to our current clients and get them singing our praises. To get more business I would like to focus on the Norfolk area.
“I do a lot of networking in Suffolk and I am hoping through Future50 to get up into Norfolk more too.
“We have become a lot more well-known. I am doing a lot more networking and community work and I am getting in front of the right people and that’s helping to spread the word.”
At face value document storage can seem like a benign business to be in – but think about it, if your business lost its critical documents, it could have a significant impact on your operation.
And contrary to popular belief it is significantly cheaper to store documents for the seven years often required under data management laws before you can destroy them, than it is to scan each one.
“Seventy to 80pc of companies that go through a fire or a disaster either do not recover or are dead and buried within three years,” she said. “We are not a storage company, we are a documentation management company – it takes people time to understand what that is. We are experts in what we do – we have got 10 years’ experience. This is a purpose-built documentation storage facility – it’s not a converted grain store.”
She is also very clear on what sort of boss she wants to be.
“I want this to be a good place for people to work, but they mustn’t be complacent, I want them to enjoy coming here and have pride in what they do.”
“I do not work late, and I do not take work home with me. Day to day this place runs itself and that’s a credit to the team we have got in place.
“I love it – I’m not going to make the right decisions all the time, and if something doesn’t work, I’ll try something else. But I will take responsibility for it.”