In this interview on The Logros Show – in association with The Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce – Lee Dinsdale talks to Kaila Minshull, founder of Tru Communications – providers of business telecom solutions to SME\’s in the UK.
Interview with Kaila Minshull of Tru Communications – The Real Sound of the City.
Lee: Good afternoon, this is the Logros Show and we are broadcasting live from a location in Ibiza over the power of zoom. I have a great guest who is Kaila Minshull and today we are going to be hearing her story about how she set up her business, what she does and some practical tips because she has been in business for quite a long period of time. So Kaila can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Tru Communications – SME business telecoms solution providers
Kaila: Yes I’m Kaila and the company is Tru Communications, the business is based in Salford and we deal with all angles of business telecommunications. We work with small to medium to large corporate clients.
Lee: Where are you from?
Kaila: I am from Salford.
Lee: Can you tell us about the services that you provide at Tru?
Kaila: The service is anything from your business landlines, mobile, hosted traditional phone systems and business mobiles. Anything to keep you connected and up and running as a business.
Lee: How long have you owned the business for?
Kaila: Seventeen years and twelve years as a limited company in January.
Lee: How did it all begin, seventeen years ago?
Kaila: I didn’t do amazingly well at school so I went off and did a Btec course at Worsley College. I did three years there in travel and tourism. From there I did a Higher National Diploma in hotel and catering management. I did six months work placement and ended up in a sales office in a hotel and it completely changed the direction of where I ended up in telecoms.
Lee: How did it do that?
Kaila: The manager there gave me some amazing skills and I learnt quite a lot there and they said that would be really good in a call centre. A job came up at Cable and Wireless which is now Virgin Media so I applied for it. It was quite a big jump in salary and I didn’t think for a minute that I would get it – but I did. That’s where the journey began in business telecoms.
Lee: At what point did you go from working for Cable and Wireless into thinking, right I’m going to set up my own company?
Kaila: I worked within Cable and Wireless for about seven years if not longer and worked my way up to the business department. I used to manage about five hundred accounts, then my son came along, and at that point I changed direction. I went working for a small company and I worked side by side with the business owner, shadowed him and learnt quite a lot of skills. Then something happened within the company and overnight I set up my own company and it went from there.
Setting Up In Business
Lee: Can you remember the first step?
Kaila: Yes it was probably the scariest time ever. Being a single parent, it was a really difficult decision to make but something deep down inside me told me that it was right. I was really apprehensive but I don’t think there is any right time to do it, but because of the business that I worked for at the time shutting down I had built up a lot of clients who only phoned me, even when I was on holiday. So from that it enabled me to make that decision and it made it a little bit easier for me. There is a lot that you don’t know when you are setting up but I think but learning things just comes through time.
Lee: So what would you say to people who are a bit apprehensive about setting up? We’ve had lock down and a bit of a crisis over the last few months and it has changed quite a few people’s lives considerably.
Kaila: Yes, well I would say there is never a right time, but if you are going to do it you have to be disciplined with your time. Do your research on your suppliers. Build your trusted contacts around you and build partnerships up with people so that you can jump up the ladder a little bit quicker. There’s always someone who has been in your shoes and there are lots of business owners out there who would help. I asked someone who was in telecom to help me on the start of my journey until I was ready to step off and do things myself.
I would say there is never a right time [to set-up your own business], but if you are going to do it you have to be disciplined with your time.
Lee: We spoke to the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund a few weeks ago and they were talking about start up loans. They were also talking about the advantages of having a mentor. How did a mentor help you?
Kaila: I would say it was amazing; it’s great to have that person. Sometimes in business it can be a bit lonely and having that mentor who is possibly in the same industry, which is what it was for me, it helped me and gave me guidance and tips on things to do. You can run off track so it can keep you steady to meet your goals and where you want to be and get that right advice.
Running Your Own Business
Lee: Kaila, what do you think is the best thing about running your own business?
Kaila: For me because I have been a single mum the whole time I’ve been running my business, the flexibility, freedom and the new experiences and challenges that I have faced and the lifelong learning. It’s always a learning game; you are always learning something new every day.
Lee: What have been some of the biggest challenges that you have faced over the time from a working perspective?
Kaila: The biggest challenge for me is being responsible for making the decisions. Sometimes as a business owner it can be quite lonely so it’s always good to build great contacts, business mentor and a network of people around you so that you have trusted contacts that you can go and chat to and get that little bit of guidance. I would say throughout my career of running my company they are the things I have leant on to help get me through those challenges.
Lee: As you say it can be quite lonely, so how do you stay motivated?
Sometimes as a business owner it can be quite lonely so it’s always good to build great contacts, business mentor and a network of people around you so that you have trusted contacts that you can go and chat to and get that little bit of guidance.
Kaila: For me, my son obviously keeps me motivated; he keeps me on my toes. He sees me doing well and going out and sees my work ethic and I can see that is rubbing off on him. He’s sixteen and just left school and I see the way he is motivated and thinking about what he wants to do. I would like to say that is because he has seen me go out there and do it and push myself forward.
Lee: How have you managed throughout the last three or four months in lockdown?
Kaila: For us as a business we have embraced it and been able to help a lot of customers. Obviously not a lot of businesses were online and able to work remotely so the first two to three works was quite challenging. Everybody wanted to get their phone systems online and make them work but it wasn’t just as simple as pushing a button because you then have to train them. I think we’ve used it as a business to analyse what we are doing and what we want to do as a business moving forward as in our business model. As a business owner it gave me the chance to identify what was good spending time on and what was not and to evaluate things.
Lee: What about you personally, how have you managed lockdown?
Kaila: Well I pushed myself into the amazing Commando Charlie exercise, I can’t thank him enough! I feel I’ve been going to the gym for a long time. His workout is military style so I would say it kept me motivated while I was working from home otherwise it could have been a bit soul destroying.
Lee: You’ve been doing some cooking as well haven’t you?
Kaila: Yes me and my son have been doing a lot of cooking. Having a sixteen year old who never wanted to spend that time doing things like that but because of lockdown I think it’s cemented our relationship more. We’ve had quality family time as well as working from home. We’ve embraced new things.
Lee: Yes it’s been quite a popular activity to do. Kaila you have been in business seventeen years, what has been the main kind of belief that you have thought has held you back but you’ve overcome it? I believe sometimes people invent things in their head and that stops them from doing things but then they find a way to overcome it and achieve what they want to achieve.
Kaila: The thing that I struggled with was setting goals and sticking to them. I would say the key was time and experience and having the right people around me to help me. Now I would say it’s something I find much easier to evaluate and plan the next stage. When I first started it was, I’ve got a business let’s run it, whereas now it’s planning what’s going to happen in the next two, three, five years.
Lee: In terms of setting goals what advice would you give to people?
Kaila: You have to be accountable for your own actions. Don’t try and do the whole thing all at once; Rome wasn’t built in a day, you have to do it in baby steps. If you try to do too much too soon you are never going to achieve. Put it down on paper, write it down and plan it and how far in advance you are looking to achieve that goal.
Lee: What would you say in practical steps is the first thing to do when setting up a business?
Kaila: The first thing before you do anything is do some investigating on who your competitors are and where there is a niche within the market. Don’t try to do too many products all at once. Plan stage by stage and really do your market research. Also speak to other business owners or a business coach who can help you. There are a lot of things to do with HMRC that you don’t know and no one comes and tells you all these things. Find yourself a mentor like I did when I worked at a smaller telecoms company, and they showed me different things and different elements to gather that experience before going and trying to do it myself. Sometimes it can be quite defeating especially if you have not got that support mechanism behind you.
Don’t try and do the whole thing all at once; Rome wasn’t built in a day, you have to do it in baby steps. If you try to do too much too soon you are never going to achieve.
Lee: Ok thank you. Just give us a recap about your company before we finish please.
Kaila: My Company is Tru Communications and has been running for seventeen years. We deal with every aspect of busy business telecoms. We are looking at introducing new services and business services as in energy within our new business branding.
Lee: For businesses listening who are thinking of changing their telecoms what kind of savings are you looking at?
Kaila: It can be anything up to sixty five percent depending on what they have got. We do a full audit on their billing. We do a lot of questioning to understand what their business does and what they actually need rather than just going off what they are currently being billed for.
Lee: How easy is it to do that for business owners? How easy do you make it?
Kaila: All you’ve got to do is send us a latest invoice with the breakdown of the services and from that we dissect it into English. Nine times out of ten you will find that customers are being billed for things they don’t necessarily need and they don’t actually realise because of the terminology. Our job is to break it down and go over it in finer detail with you and make recommendations. It’s as easy as it can be really.
Lee: Okay and how can people find you?
Kaila: Our website is www.trucommunications.co.uk. We have Facebook, twitter, Instagram we have them all. Being a tech company you have to be out there and make people aware of what is available so please do check us out.
Lee: Thank you very much for joining us Kaila. What have you got planned for the rest of the day?
Kaila: I’ve been networking all morning and now I’m going to be contacting a number of people that we have been putting quotes out for, following up on tender processing and stuff like that this afternoon.
Lee: Thank you very much for joining us, have an excellent day.
Article Transcription by Terry Capostagno
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