Fab to be with the lovely Kathy Ennis today, founder of LittlePiggy. Kathy is a business mentor, entrepreneur and trainer. Let’s just call her Superwoman.


Good morning everyone. Great to be with Kathy Ennis today of Little Piggy. Morning Kathy.

Kathy: Morning Emma.

24 fingers: Kathy, let’s begin what is your favorite word.

Kathy: I thought about this and I was trying to come up with something clever and interesting and sparky but I’m just going to stick with a good old word ‘planning’ because that’s what I’m about more than anything. So yeah let’s let’s stick with that. That’s my favorite one.

24 fingers: Sounds like a plan. What gets you up in the morning?

Kathy: My cat. Definitely. Well one of them does. She knows that she has her breakfast at half past seven. But from six o’clock, she likes to remind you that that’s when she has her breakfast there.

24 fingers: Who do you truly honestly think of social media?

Kathy: I love social media. My whole career. You know when I was an employee I worked with information and and you know I was there before the Internet actually arrived. So when this whole world of information became available, it was fantastic. I love social media as as a tool. But I think that people should recognize that that’s what it is. That it’s not a panacea, that it’s not the answer, that it can be incorporated into the things that we do in a really fun and interesting way.

It does have a dark side and we need to recognize that as well. But I think that as long as you’re using it ,you know, in terms of being honest and ethical on there then it could be really good and it can be a great way for a business to actually meet people that they’d never meet. So I think it is great but it’s not going to be the thing that you just start using Facebook and you’re going to make a million. That’s not going to happen.

24 fingers: Good advice there. Kindles or books?

Kathy: Blogs. I Bought myself a Kindle and my husband’s got it now because if I’m reading something, I actually do physically like to read a book. But I think it’s because I spent a lot of time over the years trying to condense information that I actually find blogs more interesting. So you know you can read a six hundred, eight hundred, twelve hundred word blog in in 20 minutes or so and get the gist. I’ve always been more in terms of non-fiction anyway so the factual kind of stuff. So I think it is it is more blog but actually if I’m if I’m reading a thing it will probably be a physical book.

Jean-Luc Picard still reads books on the Starship Enterprise. So we know they will still be there. I’m a librarian by background.

24 fingers: What do you think is the biggest challenge for your industry right now?

Kathy: I am a business mentor and anybody that’s in say coaching or training or anything like that, I think there are a couple of strands to this. One is the number of people doing it. And I think, probably more importantly, is the accreditation of the people doing it. And you know to be a mentor – anybody can be a mentor because a mentor is somebody that you turn to whose got empathy, perhaps he’s been there, done that, bought the T-shirt. That’s absolutely fine.

But to be a business mentor, you have to have had a business before. You have to have known the ups and the downs and the ins and the outs and so to actually do that professionally, I think is really the accreditation it sits on top of. So I think the biggest threat, I suppose, this is just people that say ‘Well today I’m going to be a mentor’.

24 fingers: And I think there’s a lot of people out there who have got an idea that they want to start their business, go onto the Internet, and say ‘Actually I need a coach or I need some help.’ They’re so excited about starting that business, they choose someone without checking the creds. They can spend a lot of money in the wrong place sometimes.

Kathy: And I think also for me, it’s getting people to understand the subtle difference between coaching and mentoring as well because mentoring is far more invasive because as a mentor you don’t hold back. If you can see that something is going wrong, if you can point people in the right direction. So is it that there is a bit more hands on in that as well. And I think that for somebody who’s never had the problem for example of having a brilliant product or service but also having to be the chief marketer for that business, having to be the accountant for that business, having to be the salesperson for that business, somebody who hasn’t had the experience themselves and known how difficult it is, it can be really difficult. There can be platitudes or it can be sort of wiped over. “It’s all to do with time management.” No it isn’t. It’s to do with the fact that as a micro business, there’s only 24 hours in a day and you can’t manage it any other way.

24 fingers: What did you want to be when you were growing up?

Kathy: Oh I wanted to be an actress. And it’s really funny. Well it sounds awful saying it’s funny but I found out that one of my old school teachers passed away a couple of months ago and I remember he was my fourth year teacher so I was about 15 and we had parents evening, My parents came along and I said, this is what I wanted to do. And the teacher basically just turned around and said “Oh you’ll never make it. So you why don’t you think of something sensible instead.” So yeah, that was that!

24 fingers: You’re the second person in the last ten days who has said a teacher has quashed their dreams. Not good. Can you use your favorite words in a sentence?

Kathy: Yes. So I’ll just give you a sentence that I use so planning is the missing link between passion and profit.

24 fingers: Can you make it rhyme?

Kathy: Well I live in the country now so I’m thinking and I don’t know if this rhymes properly but “The farmers in Norfolk are planning their lambing”.

24 fingers: I think you did quite well there! What advice would you give to your younger self, other than don’t listen to that teacher.

Kathy: Well I think it sort of stems from that and I went on a training course on Monday which was really good. And one of the things we did on there, was to identify two words for the year and the first one I pulled out was courage or courageous. And for me, I think if I was talking to myself that time ago, it would be the fact about taking the bull by the horns and just getting on and doing it.

And you know it’s taken me – I’m going to be 60 this year – but it’s taken me a lot of time to get to the point where I actually own the fact that I shouldn’t worry about what people think about me as long as I’m behaving ethically and well, you know. But I think as a younger person, I constantly worried about the impact I was making, what people thought of me, I wanted everybody to like me. All of that kind of stuff. So that’s what I’d get rid of.

24 fingers: What’s the best thing anyone’s ever done for you?

Kathy: Yes I was thinking about this and that I think it’s really hard because so many people have done so many good things. But I think if I put it in terms of my business, there was a point in time probably about nine years ago where I was really struggling and I sat with somebody and I was talking to them about how difficult I was finding it and getting people to buy into me and buy into what I was doing. And you know it was that question that she asked me, which was, “Well, who do you want to work with?” And nobody had approached me or my business in that way before. They’d always started from the external whereas her question was very much the internal thing.

As soon as I was able to say, well this is the type of person I want to work with, all of the little pieces fell in to place like a jigsaw puzzle. And it was from that point, I was able to grow the business and develop it. So yeah I think that’s probably one of the most defining moments.

24 fingers: And if you want a big award, who would you thank?

Kathy: Oh I’d have to thank my husband. He’s been with me through thick and thin. Lots of thin. And you know, never moaned or never said, go and get a proper job. Never Any of that kind of stuff.

24 fingers: Well done Dave! Can you give us a timesaver of the day? I know you’re very systematic so I’m sure that you can.

Kathy: Well I think that one of the main things that is a time waster is not planning upfront. And so one of the things I recommend that people do if they’re not very good on managing their time is make sure they use a desk diary. And one that’s got the hours marked in it and that you mark out specifically what you’re going to be doing in, in each block. And set your phone to alarm when you’ve come to the end of a period of time. That does a few things.

One, it means it forces you to move from one task to another but it also tells you the real time it takes to do stuff because we always underestimate how long it’s going to take us to do that. Now if you do that and then follow the principle I learned a long time ago which is the day ain’t over till tomorrow is planned. So if you don’t leave whatever it is you’re doing until you’ve worked out what you’re going to do the following day then it does make it easier and the other thing is then if stuff hits the fan the following day, you know precisely what you’re going to be doing. And you can rejiggle it for the following day. It’s just a tiny little thing.

24 fingers: The day ain’t over until tomorrow’s planned. Where do you see your industry in 24 months?

Kathy: I think that it’s going to change a bit depending on what happens in the country. You know I’m not even gonna say the word but the fact is that there have been a lot of programmes and things available to people over the last goodness knows how many years which have supported them in terms of their business startup and business growth. And I think the funding for most of those will start to disappear. So where people have had access to things that may have been either very low cost or no cost, I think some of that is is going to disappear. So it may mean that there’s a little bit of a squash in terms of the number of people that decide to set up and go it on their own. It could also mean that people are going to have to make bigger decisions about where they invest their money in terms of support because some of the freebie support won’t be there. So that’s just my thoughts.

24 fingers: Where were you 24 months ago?

Kathy: Well I wasn’t living in Norfolk, I was in Cheshunt in Hertfordshire. And it’s really funny because for this question I had to go back and have a look and I was celebrating the fact that 24 months, I was celebrating the fact that I had increased my turnover by 40 percent three years ago to two years ago. So that was a really good thing. I was really happy to be in this position of working alongside organizations like Enterprise Nation so two years ago I was one of the first eight people in the UK chosen to be part of the ‘She Means Business’ team. So February two years ago we were heading off to Dublin for our training at Facebook. So yeah there’s been quite a lot of that going on. I spoke at the Microsoft conference at the O2 so some really good things happen.

24 fingers: What’s an interesting fact about your company?

Kathy: The thing that I always get asked is why is my business called Little Piggy? To cut a long story short, I had always traded under my name and I wanted my company to change into something that was a little bit more, I suppose, memorable so I thought let’s change the name. And I was thinking what shall I call it, purple banana or something like that. I was in the shower one day and I was thinking, what is it that I do? And it it came to me that my main thing is about getting micro businesses off to market. So I get them to the state where they’re actually ready to market their business and understand what marketing means in their business. So whether they’re a startup or they’re freshening up the business, it doesn’t really matter. And then the little nursery rhyme came into my head, ‘This Little Piggy Went to Market’. Oh yeah and I love pigs! Oh yeah. That’s probably it. So if you wanted to know why I call it that, that’s it!

24 fingers: If you could have a 24 minute Skype chat with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?

Kathy: Everyone says Stephen Fry, don’t they. I think I’d love to chat with Stephen Fry. He lives in Norfolk but the person I would choose is a guy called Malcolm Gladwell. Do you know Malcolm Gladwell? He’s a writer, philosopher, just an all-around interesting man. And the reason it would be him is that I read one of the books he wrote a few years ago and it was the thing that changed my view on lots of stuff and made me really start thinking about my business. It wasn’t a business book at all, it was a book called Blink which is about the power of first impressions. And subsequently I’ve read everything that he’s written and he’s a brilliant storyteller. And he gets information across to you in a way that puts it in your brain but without really punching at it. You know he does it through personal stories. And he’s a fascinating guy. And if you want to see him speak he does a lot of stuff on Ted. So just check out Malcolm Gladwell.

24 fingers: What’s one word you’d like people to describe you with?

Kathy: Well, I’d like inspirational please.

24 fingers: We’re going to ask you do to a selfie for us but we’ll do that later.

Kathy: Yeah yeah that’s fine no problem. I’ve got my lippie on.

24 fingers: And I’ve got my mascara on. A little nod from yesterday’s post there. What’s your favorite Twitter handle or social media campaign?

Kathy: Oh gosh, when I read that, two things came to my mind and actually three things but one of them wasn’t the social media campaign. I love the campaign for the One Dollar Shave. The original one. Yes. That was just fantastic. So check out One Dollar Shave.

24 fingers: If you haven’t seen that yet, that’s a classic. Yeah. Social media marketing genius.

Kathy: The other one was Will It Blend. It was this guy who manufactures these blenders and he wanted to prove how powerful the blender was so he put an iPhone in it to see what happened to the iPhone when it blends it and he became like a mega superstar. People write in to see whether this will blend. So he puts things into the blender.

So those are great and the final one was more of an ad campaign and it was when Ford put out a KA – the black version of the sunroof which they were aiming more towards the male market – And they did this whole series of ads that were really quite shocking. And there’s one that sort of almost shows a cat being squashed and one where a pigeon get smashed by the bonnet coming up and it’s about a car being a bit of an animal. Apparently when they did the testing of this, all the men that they showed it to thought it was the funniest thing all the women who watched it said “Oh I don’t want to see the cat being squeezed” So yes,for me it was just the knowing who their market was because they they weren’t trying to attract women with those ads, they were trying to attract guys in those ads and they got it right. And I think that was just so funny. So check it out on YouTube, you’ll find the ads on there.

24 fingers: What’s one quote which defines your work ethic?

Kathy: For me, it’s a quote that goes something like “Don’t strike while the iron is hot, make it hot by striking it” which is basically don’t wait until the time is right, make the time because you know my saying is just f’ing do it.

24 fingers: Exactly. What’s been the best part of your day?

Kathy: Well, you coming to see me. I’m happy we’re having sunshine. We’re going out to lunch with another business woman in the local area. So for me it’s that interaction with other people. Being a one person operation, it can get a little bit lonely so it’s really nice when you get to interact on a one to one basis with people.

24 fingers: Do you have anything to plug?

Kathy: Oh, what have I got to plug? Well yeah actually I’ve got a couple of things if that’s okay. The first one is that my very good friend and colleague Jo Soley and I, we ran a two day training course last year called ‘Mastering Marketing Magic and due to popular demand, we’ve set up a six months online programme that we’re going to be running via Facebook and it’s actually kicking off on Monday to help people really get to the nitty gritty of their marketing. It’s not going to be a skirt across the top of things, it’s really going to be a deep dive into stuff.

Oh let me grab a copy. Here’s one I prepared earlier. This is my book, The Big Social Media Marketing Organizer. So I wrote this because this is my way of getting the kinds of people I work with to really understand how to create a marketing campaign and it’s not just about making the regular postings out on Facebook and Twitter. It’s actually a lot deeper than that so those two things and obviously you know, come and visit my website, come and like my Facebook page and come and do all those kind of things, that would be great.

24 fingers: Thank you Kathy!

Kathy: Thank you for the opportunity and thanks for those people that are here and those people that will see it later.

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