Karren Brady gives career advice from scaling up a business to unfair dismissal – The Sun
BOSSING It columnist Karren Brady is here to solve all your burning careers questions.
Today she helps out a woman who wants to scale up her business and gives her expertise on unfair dismissals during lockdown.
Q: Two years ago, aged 55, I became a self-employed painter and decorator after going on an Entrepreneurial Spark course. Work was rolling in until the coronavirus crisis hit.
I’ve since been thinking about how to scale up my business, as there’s definitely a market for female painters and decorators. I’m creating a plan and then want to meet with potential partners, such as paint brands
Do you have any tips?
Ann, via email
A: Good for you, Ann! You need to build a brand focused around you and your USP – so you should first define your business values. To work with paint brands, you need to stand out from your competitors.
Start by thinking of three core values – these describe who you are and what you do, and what sets you apart from others. Words like precision, customer-focused, skilled, trustworthy, craftsmanship, accuracy and quality are key here. Then use these words to create your values and show how you deliver on them.
Brands want to work with influencers, so build a following. Create a website, blog and social media platforms that show your work, what inspires you, plus any brilliant feedback and how you’ve overcome unexpected problems on projects and engaged with customers.
Then create brand awareness, persuade people to use you above others and constantly remind them that you are available for work!
Despite the current issues, this is a great time to reflect on how you come out of the pandemic on the other side, with renewed values and a really great business profile.
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Q: My boss agreed for me to work from home during lockdown, but then told me to hang fire on arranging for my laptop to have software downloaded to it.
The next day I got an email informing me of two performance issues (neither of which I’d heard anything about before) and I’ve had no further response, despite emailing and calling. I’d only been there 10 weeks and hadn’t signed a contract. What should I do?
Sian, via email
A: Sian, it is terrible that your company has treated you like this. But it doesn’t matter if there is a contract or not, as it’s implied in employment law that the terms are accepted by both parties.
The concern is that having just 10 weeks service means you have little protection – only after two years working for an employer can you claim compensation for unfair dismissal. It’s unclear whether the email you received was a dismissal.
If it was, you should be entitled to paid notice, plus I’d recommend you ask your employer to re-hire you and furlough you – the government scheme will cover 80% of your salary up to £2,500 a month.
If you have not been dismissed but you’re still getting paid, there’s very little more you can do at this stage I think.
However, it’s clear that the company has acted very unprofessionally and it sounds like it’s time to start looking elsewhere for a job as soon as you can.
- Got a careers question you want Karren to answer? Email [email protected]
The Apprentice's Karren Brady gives career advice in game of Have You Ever?
Compiled by: Claire Frost
Karren cannot answer emails personally. Content is intended as general guidance only and does not constitute legal advice.
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