When the world effectively closed down in March 2020, Ann set up a daily Zoom meeting for anyone who wanted to just hang out and chat. It swiftly became one of the highlights of the many months that followed. Unable to go out and meet people, we had a space where you could talk about whatever you wanted. It could be business, it could equally be baking or dealing with boredom. There were no rules. Creating a space for people every day was a incredible commitment and I’m grateful to Ann for doing it. If homeschooling meant I missed one day, I knew she and the Drive community would be there to talk to the next.
Over time, this evolved into a pattern of regular weekly networking meetings and incredibly useful workshops. You wouldn’t think you could meet new people in 2020, but Ann made it possible.
Ann created stability in a very unstable situation. She has been there for business owners throughout 2020 with practical business advice and a smile. Thank you Ann, you made this year a lot more cheerful and surprisingly sociable. Rachel Extance, The Story Cave
In March 2020 I remember I sat in a Zoom meeting wondering what on earth would happen next and if we even had businesses any more. Ann steered us through a period of uncertainty like none of us had experienced before and gave us hope that our products and services would still be in demand (a few needed to pivot, but for many, the urge to drop everything and start again was best avoided). Ann encouraged us to keep our pricing at a sustainable level when around us others were giving it all away for free and had faith that we could get our businesses (and ourselves) through it all. With information coming at us thick and fast, decision-making was hard and Ann helped us gain the clarity to make good decisions that ultimately kept our businesses going in really tough circumstances. Thank you Ann! Helen Lindop – Helping people work better with technology.
The great thing about working with Ann is that she combines the ‘hard’ business aspects of getting the right processes and systems in place in business with the ‘soft’ aspects of how we manage and overcome our internal challenges and listen to what we need personally to help our businesses grow. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who can facilitate both of these quite so skillfully. Thank you Ann!
~ Ruth Farenga, Founder, Mindful Pathway
I discovered Ann in 2015, 5 years after I launched my business. However, I could have done with Ann’s sound advice in 2009 when I put together, what I now realise, was a half-arsed business plan. To be fair, I’d never written a business plan and it’s always easy to look back and realise one’s mistakes. My big mistake was not having Ann right at the very beginning. Instead, I wasted time reading about other people’s experience in business. The problem with this approach is that if you don’t put into practice what you learn, it doesn’t matter how much you know because you’re not using it.
Ann keeps me accountable. Ann gives me time to breathe. Ann reminds me to focus on and finish what I’ve started. Ann is all about the essentials of business. The things that never change and always need tended to. Things like the finances, who is your ideal client, what do they want, how will you find them, why should they choose your business, why are you charging so little? Very important things, but they are the basics and yet they’re so easy to ignore when you’re a service-based business.
Another benefit about working with Ann is her breadth of knowledge. Not just about how to run a successful business, but how to run a successful business in a multitude of sectors. Because Ann mentors hundreds of different types of businesses, any advice she offers is drawn from a rich and varied pool. She has a birds eye view of what has and hasn’t worked in different businesses run by different personalities and she can pretty much take one look at you and know what’s the best solution for your problem. Whether you choose to accept that advice is up to you. I suggest you do because it works.
I love working with Ann because she has a common-sense approach. Of course I talk to her about the big plans for my business, but I also tap her up for advice about the smallest of things. Because, let’s be honest, we all make stupid mistakes that temporarily put us into a tailspin and prevent all rational thought. When this happens Ann is my voice of reason.
It can be very lonely being a business owner. Your employed friends don’t understand and why would you want to discuss your business affairs with other business owners that you don’t really know? This is when you need an Ann. Someone who will help you keep your focus, keep your sanity, keep you profitable and she’ll do this while ensuring you don’t sell your soul. Louise Lee Founder Saunders and Lee Ltd.
As a social entrepreneur I faced what felt like an insurmountable challenge of how to move the clinic forward given specific and unyielding limitations that I had. I engaged Ann to help me sharpen our focus forward and then drill down into a detailed business plan with specific deliverables, timelines and financial forecasts.
I set this up as a 13 week challenge and Ann come onboard to help ensure that I succeeded. Meeting up with Ann every week helped me stay on track and allowed time for exploring as well as drilling down into detail. Now at the end of the 13 weeks, I have a vision for the clinic supported with a detailed, comprehensive and realistic business plan and we are ready to move our social mission forward in a stronger and more powerful way than I was able to anticipate only 13 weeks ago. Thank you. ThorA Rain Founder / Director The Helpful Clinic
I’ve made a handful of really important decisions for my business and working with Ann as a business mentor has been one of the best. She’s great to work with, with a refreshing no-nonsense approach and huge integrity. This cuts out any time-wasting faff and helps move things on quickly, which is key when you’re learning so much, quickly. She’s been helping me recognise that what I’m going through is the same as everyone else which has helped me build my confidence and the tools I need to build my business for the long term. However small the questions or decisions to be made, she helps with expert advice and makes it fun at the same time! I can’t recommend her highly enough. Jo Twiselton, Twist Consultants
That I’ve managed to build my business into what it is – without losing my mind – is down to two things: Heroic dedication (aka fear of failure) and Ann Hawkins, my mentor. Having a mentor has been incredibly helpful for me in terms of keeping on track. I easily get excited about cool, new ideas at the expense of remembering other, slightly more important things. Ann steers me back gently to the most productive path. Ann’s perspective on my business decisions is like someone guiding me from above as I navigate a hedge maze: she can easily see the immediate future at junctions, dead-ends around the corner, and dead-ends I’ve already encountered but forgotten. She saves me lost time and a lot of stress, which makes her a highly valuable ally. That she has a sense of humour, is brutally honest and has no egotism is big bonus! Jon Torrens
I first met Ann when I participated in the online “Work Smarter, Not Harder” programme. I had had a pretty difficult time with a digital marketing consultant which had left me feeling rather bruised. Ann was a very reassuring presence and excellent mentor, and through using her techniques I was able to reconsolidate and rethink my business plan, and be proud of what I had achieved. Ann’s wealth of experience and knowledge really shone through the programme, and it was evident that Ann really does take the time to go through the worksheets you submit as part of the programme through the comments and feedback she provides. I have since joined Drive the Network, masterminded by Ann, which has proved to be a font of all knowledge and wisdom. The most beneficial aspect of Drive is that there is no hard sell and the primary purpose of small business owners sharing knowledge, skills and experience has been preserved regardless of how quickly the group has grown. This is a testament to Ann, who every week inspires me. It is a privilege to know Ann and she has undoubtedly been a fantastic business mentor for me. Louise Frayne
Ann is knowledgeable, action-oriented and pragmatic. She gave us a valuable and refreshing perspective on our business. Ann also has a lively sense of humour, which helps when things feel challenging. Paul Lewis Founder, lewis andersen.
Working with Ann has been the single most important decision I have made since deciding to set up my own business. Ann’s calm yet decisive approach to problem solving, has given me the confidence and tools to build my business and ensure its sustainability. Plus the fact she makes it fun! Sarah Gwynn Proprieter at SJG Bookkeeping
“A mentor to me is like a compass and Ann’s clear-mindedness, business knowledge and integrity, has been invaluable in keeping me on course. It’s really useful to have someone you can consult with on all those little decisions that are involved in getting your business going and a clear and knowledgeable answer was always only an email away. Ann also has a huge list of local contacts who know and respect her and she regularly introduced me to potential partners and clients, which is vital to me as someone trying to establish a local presence. And as someone in a creative field, I’ve found Ann’s emphasis on authenticity has given me the courage to be more adventurous and true to myself, in looking at how to run and promote my business. Simon Hagan www.filmability.co.uk.
“I was immediately struck by Ann’s tremendous enthusiasm and it was clear that what ever she did, she loved doing it! We had a Skype consultation and by the end of a very productive hour’s coaching session Ann was able to tell me what I needed to do to grow my business. Up until that point I really didn’t know what I was offering and to whom. All became clear. More recently, I had the opportunity to attend one of Ann’s two day workshops. The workshop was pitched perfectly and it was obvious that Ann had a clear and thorough understanding of the challenges faced by small businesses and was able to offer lots of practical solutions. It was so evident that Ann has a genuine passion to help people succeed in their ventures. I gained invaluable knowledge, which I was able to take away and use immediately. But what makes Ann stand out in the crowd is her tremendous charisma and a natural ease at public speaking. She knows her stuff. In short, she is awesome! Get to know Ann, she can and will help you.” Caroline Duffy Freelance graphic designer and lecturer.
“I met Ann and she immediately impacted my business in a very positive way. After attending her ‘Work Smart Not Hard’ workshop, I was blown away with how much she knew and her continued support and guidance through out. From the moment I met Ann, I knew she cared about my business and was genuinely interested in helping me out even more. Not only does Ann guide you on the right path and make you think about things in different ways, but she also reasons everything, making it much easier to understand. I have worked with a number of business mentors this year, however none of them have made an impact like Ann did. I cannot recommend Ann highly enough and I’m hoping I can work with her again in the future! Ann is an inspiration to me and by the sounds of it; A LOT of others too.” Hannah Purser Managing Director, MY VIP Wardrobe
” I’ve worked with Ann for a few months now, and she’s really helped me to focus on my target market – when you start out on your own it’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting to just work with everyone. Ann’s helped me define my purpose and message, develop an email marketing strategy and start using a CRM system, not to mention the all-important aspects of cashflow, earnings targets and the monitoring process. Every week we have an accountability call, which is definitely helping to keep me on track. Ann’s like a personal trainer for your business, and I think she’s really helping me get mine into shape!” Jon Torrens Communication Coach and Speaker
“I first wrote a recommendation for Ann Hawkins for the work she did with us in 2011/12. Although we’re still using Ann’s services as a business consultant to Weston Communications and as a mentor for me personally, I felt it important to update our recommendation for her.
It is with Ann’s support that we are continuing to grow, flourish and look for new avenues to generate revenue. We continue to make strong, long term relationships, sound business decisions and try new things with confidence. What Ann does for us isn’t changing – she’s just being Ann. And because of that, we are continuing to benefit from her experience, input and opinion. Anyone can be a flash in the pan. What’s the opposite of that? Whatever it is, Ann Hawkins is it!” Liz Weston, Weston Communications
“Ann brings focus to your business, a brilliant mind that is capable of seeing through all of the noise that clouds the direction of your business from time to time. We have made radical changes to our businesses based on Ann’s recommendation and each time this has given us brilliant results.” Mark Peters, Managing Director, Pirate FM Radio, UKRD Group.
“Ann has been a great support during some difficult times and has helped us to stay focused. Her input has been invaluable and we are now steadily growing our business. She has not only come up with some great suggestions but also makes sure we get on with the job! I don’t know where we would be without Ann.” Ken and Christine Seymour, Directors, KTS Computers Ltd.
“An expert in her field, regardless of whether you are seasoned in business or a novice, Ann will engage and introduce you to the latest business development methodologies. Her style and enthusiasm are infectious, Ann is frighteningly expert in all that she does and I recommend her, her training and support network and all that she provides, without reservation.” Rob Brotchie, Anglia Counselling
“Ann is real pleasure to work with at any level, her professionalism and attention to detail is truly commendable. From the initial conversation to project completion Ann ticks every box; for those who really desire growth in their business and are prepared to be positively challenged Ann is the ideal business partner. Her huge experience speaks for itself and she is absolutely committed to everything she puts her hand too; I would recommend Ann without reserve to any company or individual seeking tangible growth and development.” Keith Brown, Keith Brown Ltd.
“It can be difficult working out what the next steps are – you know where you want to get to but don’t necessarily know how to get there. Working with Ann is one of the most valuable things you can invest in to help you. Ann is expert at knowing what you need to do to achieve the next steps in your business and her guidance and support in putting things in place to ensure you get there make it all so much easier. Instead of racing around wondering what the answers are I am now happily creating a really solid foundation to take my business to the next level and it just feels so much more enjoyable and effective. Thanks to Ann.” Tamsin Higgins, Owner, Tom Higgins Exhibition and Retail Interior Designs
“I have found Ann to be incredibly professional and enthusiastic about her work; creating ideas and challenges for me to put into practice…… she is also very patient.” Angela Wilson Owner Angela Wilson Bookkeeping
“Ann is an empathetic and approachable business mentor who always give her best to help and guide her clients to achieve their desired objectives. I have always found her advice to be pertinent and applicable to the issues faced by businesses.” Gareth Howell, Agdon Consultants
“I have know Ann for a number of years now, she is a lady with a great personality and will always give her best to help and guide her clients to achieve their best, Her professionalism and duty to her work is second to none and I would fully recommend her in everything she does.” Anne Hardesty Owner, T&A Plant Hire
“Ann has a no nonsense approach to business, you either want to learn and grow or you don’t. Ann is a fantastic speaker, she is humorous, full of relevant info and very entertaining. When Ann speaks there is definitely nobody taking a snooze or checking their watch. I love the way she has connected with so many people. Dropping Ann’s name into a conversation always earns me instant respect “Oh you know Ann do you, here take my card”” Tracey Clayton, Bless Ewe Creations
“The title “Inspiring Success and Networking like a Human Being” got me intrigued. And who was Ann Hawkins? I did my research and found one of Ann’s websites and came across Ann’s A-Z of Business Success Podcasts. I listened to a few and found Ann an engaging host and interviewer. Her understanding of how businesses need to operate in order to survive was simply unmistakable. I remember thinking “this lady knows what she is talking about”. So there I was hooked. Ann is as engaging and generous in sharing her experiences in person as she is on her podcasts. Lynette Gough – Wizard Assistance
“Ann came to speak at our event and I was ready to be impressed. In fact I was blown away in the best possible fashion. The way Ann articulated was robust and business like whilst being thought proving and creative. Ann involved the whole audience, kept peoples attention and most importantly the essence she delivered was exactly what I wanted members to take away. At a personal level Ann is deliciously straight talking, helpful and inspirational; she is an essential ingredient for your network!” Bernie J. Mitchell, Engaging People
“I’ve worked with Ann on a number of occasions since we first got to know each other 4 years ago. It’s hard to know where to start or what to say as she is just so good at what she brings to the table and the business community as a whole. I am a member of one of Ann’s successful mastermind group programmes. She has probably the biggest “little black book” in the area, if you’re not in it the chances are you’re not worth knowing and if she can’t help you herself she always has a contact who can, who she freely connects with you – simply wonderful! The point is, Ann just puts her full support behind you and what you want to achieve and just gives you the nudge every business owner needs every now and then to make the magic happen. A wonderful business woman and someone I consider to be a close friend.” Lisa Garwood Managing Director Native Brand
“Everyone setting up a business needs an Ann Hawkins. Supportive, inspiring and very well connected. The Inspired Group Mastermind events focussed my attention on what really mattered to get my business going. Ann is a business partner your business can’t afford NOT to have” Steve Hoare, Principal Trainer, ManagementMadeEasier.co.uk
“Ann is a great Mentor, she is encouraging, always on my case, full of wonderful ideas and information….and we have fun (which is important to me) She has great integrity and I know that she will always give me constructive feedback – Highly recommended.” Lindsey Reed Glows Career Development
“Ann is able to get your attention and keeps it. Her talk was informative, humorous and entertaining. Ann is very passionate about her subject and I would recommend her as a speaker because of the natural energy that she puts into it. Thanks Ann, I hope to hear you speak again one day.” Mark Buchan, MSc (CSM) Change Management Specialist and Managing Director, New Thought Leader
“Ann is an inspiration …so it is wonderfully appropriate that she runs The Inspired Group. She is also one of the warmest and kindest people I have met through business in recent years. Ann is so attentive and caring, which shows itself in the quality of the events she runs which are always a delight to attend.” Garry Mumford, Managing Director, Insight Associates
“For a few months I worked on a project with Ann and discovered how dedicated, how competent and efficient she is in all her dealings. I also attended one of her brilliant workshops. My wish is to be able to share as much time as possible with her. She is a gem, a true inspiration to us all in business!” Francine Rouanet-Démocrate, Founder & Director, The Way To France
“I joined Ann’s mastermind group to leverage the skills, abilities, experience and knowledge of all her mastermind members. To be able to share ideas, thoughts, information, feedback and resources proved invaluable as well as having access to Ann 1-2-1. It is a great concept Ann launched to provide this facility to small business owners. Ann is very personable and cares. She is extremely knowledgeable in running small businesses and provides a great service.” Jennifer Baker, Baker Sales
“I am proud to have Ann Hawkins as my Mentor. When I started my new business earlier this year I knew that I would have to improve my exposure . When you don’t know what you don’t know, then what you do know is that you need help. I attended one of Ann’s Workshops and was most impressed with the way she cared for and treated everybody in the room, whether they had no previous experience when they walked in, or quite a lot. Everybody came away from the event with so much. She is a master and from that event I more fully understood how to rapidly increase my business and so much more. She is always happy to take my calls and answer my questions and is so free with her advice and encouragement. So if you need to ramp up your activity contact Ann for the “fast-track” to excellence!” Nick Ratcliffe | Partners in Motivation.
“Ann is a wizard at giving clients fantastic, easy to implement insights. She offers ongoing one to one backup that means we can put into practice the lessons of the day with confidence knowing Ann is only and email or phone call away. Highly recommended.” Rhonda Deal, Interior Design
“Ann is a fantastic person to know. She is not only a brilliant networker, but has all sorts of useful tips and guidance for someone like me, who was starting a business from scratch and didn’t know who to talk to and how to meet the right people! Ann is a fantastic source of help and gets you moving. I thoroughly recommend Ann’s work.” Sally Storr, Director, Blue Sky Reflections
“Everything that I have attended that Ann has been involved in has been very well planned and I have always gained from any event I have attended. She has helped me to see what I needed in order to make my business more efficient and I have no hesitation in recommending her.” Eric S Britt, Owner Integrity Wills.
Ann is extremely approachable, offers ongoing backup to ensure you are confident and able to put into practice what you learn. Well worth the money and I would highly recommend her. Thanks Ann.” Michele Judd, First Aid Training for Business
Want to get going NOW? Just e-mail me and we’ll set up a chat.
“Ann Hawkins…. A name that you just won’t forget after meeting her. Having been an accountant for over 8 years now – and only being 25, I have managed to develop my skills in many areas (not just accountancy), this is thanks to Ann and her events. I have found these events to provide me with the energy – not just the inspiration, to continue to develop my skills as a business person. She really knows how to get the audience’s attention and thus these events continue to grow – along with her sparkling reputation as a mentor. She is an expert in many fields and I can only learn from her!! A true star and a LOVELY person too.” Kelly Anstee – Tyrrell & Company Accountants
“Ann has been my business mentor for well over 12 months and is second to none.” Phil Begnett Cast Resourcing
“Two words come to mind when I think of what Ann has done for my business – focus and inspire. Ann changed my busy life from a confused and ineffective list of ideas and thought processes to a place of clarity which has for the first time allowed me to move forward at a pace I never thought possible. Take any opportunity you get to spend time with Ann if you are looking for the best way to grow your business and your reputation.” Mark Peters, MD Star Radio.
“Ann – I did a presentation to my network group last week about my business and it’s the first time I’ve sounded like I understand my own business! And I wanted to say thanks for that. After working with you for the past few months I now have a structured approach, a niche, a social media strategy and a high profile that is beginning to grow my business. I feel I have a direction that I am motivated and excited to go after. Thank you for all of your hard work.” Siobhan Costello The Bestseller Academy
“Ann and I met several years ago now. She has been a true source of inspiration for me. Not only is Ann great company, being a lady with a lovely sense of humour, she also has the ability to quickly understand a variety of different business models offering timely advice that is clear, concise and very, very sensible.” Yasmin Chopin, Interior Designer
“I have been inspired and motivated by Ann`s enthusiasm and creativity. She has such a personable style and tremendous energy that is uplifting. A truly positive inspiration.” Sara Collins, Senior Solicitor at Buckles Solicitors LLP
“We’ve hired Ann to work with us on several projects. She has provided mentoring support, business finance guidance and most recently, and on an ongoing basis, is helping us scale up to manage a new business route which will be a huge activity for us in 2012. Her knowledge in terms of breadth and depth seems to be never ending and she’s helping us achieve the turnover, profit and results a year earlier than we would have done without her help which is the perfect outcome.” Liz Weston. M.D. Weston Communications