Local Chiropractor and clinic manager Tone Tellefsen Hughes started her business “Luck’s Yard Clinic” in Milford four years ago in 2007. Following a successful launch of the clinic, she quickly realised that running a business is a daunting task and presents a steep learning challenge, particularly with the regulations and expectations that one has on a day-to-day basis.

So two years ago, she invited several other local business owners to form a friendly and informal support group known as the “Wednesday group”. The group currently consists of managers from two dental clinics (the Iosis Dental Clinic and Notley Dental Care), a solicitor (Penningtons Solicitors LLP), a physiotherapist (Bevan Wilson), a paediatric occupational therapists (Therapy for children), a business coach (d2-solutions) and the co-founders of an independent School for children between 4 and 11 years old (Bloo House).

Explaining her motivation for establishing the group, Tone commented; “I chose all the business managers thoughtfully as I wanted people who shared my values of high ethical standards and a willingness to go that extra mile for their customers and clients”. She continued ’the criteria from the outset was that it should be a support group and not purely a referral group, with everyone being honest and frank about their good and bad experiences.

It has since been a platform for bi-monthly meetings in various local pubs in the county where the discussions have ranged from health and safety, advertising on line, staff management and how to keep going when the going gets tough. Lisa Bevan, physiotherapist, feels that the forum for gaining both ideas and support from other small business owners is invaluable for those of us who trained as clinical professionals and have had to learn the world of management as a second string!

Several members of the group have used the “Train To Gain” programme as a source of further training and have also used their local “Business link” representatives for continual one-to-one feedback and support. Some are also members of their local Chamber of commerce and Federation of small businesses.

”The group has been invaluable to me” says Tone, ‘as it has introduced me to fantastic people with whom I can talk to about all kinds of issues including the challenges and hurdles in running a business. Apart from having lots of fun, we have helped each other in many ways; such as giving general feedback, recommendations and information on contacts, health and safety, and staff management”.

Shapour Hariri from The Iosis Dental Clinic adds, ‘as pressures, red tape and regulations get more and more of a burden for small businesses, the Wednesday group give us a chance to share best practice and talk through some of the issues.

Mete Ucer of Notley Dental Care has been the principal dentist for seven years and comments, “I have found the support and knowledge from the other members of our group to be very beneficial. The meetings are highly recommended, they provide an opportunity for open discussions for current and future issues.”

Tone concluded by saying “I would encourage anyone who has started their own business recently to do something similar as it provides invaluable help”. If you would like to learn more about the Wednesday Club, please contact Tone Tellefsen on 01483 527945. For further information about Business link, Train To Gain, Chamber of Commerce or Federation of Small Businesses see www.businesslink.gov.uk, www.traintogain.gov.uk/, www.surrey-chambers.co.uk and www.fsb.org.uk

Tone Tellefsen Hughes www.http://www.lucksyardclinic.com
Shapour Hariri. www.iosisclinic.co.uk
Melissa Carter and Piers H.Gardener. www.bloohouse.co.uk
Simon Bickerdike of Penningtons Solicitors LLP (www.penningtons.co.uk). Contact Simon at simon.bickerdike@penningtons.co.uk
Louise Williams. www.therapyforchildren.co.uk
Lisa Bevan. www.bevanwilson.co.uk
Dave Nyss. www.d2-solutions.co.uk
Mete Ucer. www.notleydentalcare.co.uk