MD of Silk Bow Bookkeeping, CEO of The Silk Bow Group, Proud Partner of Onle Networking
With their candid approach, Jen Todd and her business partner Pam Bates, have neatly tied together several businesses under the umbrella of the Silk Bow Group.
The company has transcended beyond Jen’s background in bookkeeping to encompass other specialisms with the same diligent demeanour.Connect on LinkedIn
The Silk Bow Group has many arms; how did you decide the ways in which you have branched out?
Bookkeeping and accountancy are my background, and the events company is run by my business partner who has experience in that area.
Silk Bow Global Yachts is based in Italy. My business partner’s brother lives in Viareggio in Tuscany, and runs a company that paints superyachts for Benetti. We run a team that writes insurance reports for any scratches or damage to the paintwork. The partnership came about after spending an evening there by the sea talking with the local paint inspectors who needed assistance with that side of their business.
Silk Bow Business Basics is a free service that we provide. It helps people decide if they want to be self-employed, a partnership, or a limited company. It's very important to me because people can spend a lot of money setting up a limited company and not know that they have to file statutory accounts using software. If I can help people get over those problems, that makes me happy.
You’re very entrepreneurial by nature; how would you describe yourself as a business owner?
My view is to be a true entrepreneur you've got to have had it, and lost it big time, and then built it back up. I haven't ever lost it big time, although I’ve come close sometimes.
We've recently reviewed our company culture, and the one thing that's come out of it is that we're always very honest. When people say to me “What do you think?” I have to remember to pause and say, “Do you really want to know?” Because if someone tells me their life’s dream, and I don't think they’re going to make any money, I will tell them. They might never speak to me again, but it makes me feel a little bit better that at least I've been honest and brave enough to tell them.
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Under the umbrella of Silk Bow Business Basics, what advice would you give to first-time business owners?
My first question is: “What are you going to do, and why are you going to be different from the rest?”
I try to get to know them a bit, because I’ve got some clients who are incredibly successful at what they do, but not good with anything money wise. I try to help extract what they’re good and bad at to help them along their journey, and to help them have the right starting information.
How are your specialist areas of bookkeeping and accountancy evolving?
We’re trying to go as paper-free as possible, and the security of online software has changed this. 10 years ago, there is no way I would have stored anything in the cloud, it was all kept on an external hard drive. I don’t even own any external hard drives now; everything is on the cloud. We use SharePoint, Office 365, and Xero which basically does everything for us.
The rules that the Revenue is bringing in, that everything is going to have to be filed through software, is the next big thing that we and our clients need to be ready for. All tax returns are filed online and everything will be going through our main choice of software.
"My view is to be a true entrepreneur you've got to have had it, and lost it big time, and then built it back up. I haven't ever lost it big time, although I’ve come close sometimes."
What do you enjoy outside of work-life?
I’m going to buy an apartment in Italy, to make it easier for our work in Viareggio, but also to enjoy nice long weekends out there.
I enjoy going and sitting by the sea. It doesn’t matter if it’s sunny, or if it’s freezing cold and wet. The sea holds a fascination for me.
Because we haven’t been going abroad, I’ve recently enjoyed finding local houses and gardens, and exploring things I have driven past for years but never visited.
If you could invite anyone as your guests for dinner, who would they be?
I think I’d invite both Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher, because I think they’d have excellent banter. They stuck to their guns and they were very resilient to many people who were against them, but no matter what they were honest.
"The rules that the Revenue is bringing in, that everything is going to have to be filed through software, is the next big thing that we and our clients need to be ready for."
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