Norfolk Network stories

Blog Member Stories; an insight into early stage business

Tom Thornhill

It is important to keep learning in business. Norfolk has some of the UK’s most innovative and ambitious small businesses. Here we look at an example of the lessons and highs that come from running a project from the ground up. 

Daniel Harvey is the Special Projects lead at UEA-based advisory firm Chadwicks. Joining as a graduate trainee in January 2014, he founded the following year when he saw a need to help payroll bureaux, accountants and employers comply with workplace pension reforms.

Here Daniel shares the highs and lows of building a business to meet a new market. 

How did the project start?

“I was helping one of our corporate clients with their pension scheme. I soon realised how tricky the new legislation [workplace pension reform] was making the whole process of managing a company pension scheme. We like to think inventively here at Chadwicks; my idea was to simplify the processes that go on behind setting up your company pension scheme. Our aim was to make the whole thing a lot easier for everyone involved.”

“It was one of my first projects working at Chadwicks. The company is a bit different, we encourage and back innovative ideas. As a graduate, leading the project was an opportunity I do not think I would have got anywhere else. It was partly what attracted me to work here.” 

What was one of your highlights on the project?

“There are many highs when setting out on a project like thepensioncounter, especially as I was given a lot of responsibility right out of the gate.”

“I would have to say my biggest highlight was Sage tweeting about our webinar. Sage is a giant multinational company with 14,000 employees with a large user base from which to promote us. Something as simple as that tweet was a great source of pride. We had worked hard and to be recognised by a multinational company such as Sage was a landmark moment.”

What have you learned most from your time working on the project?

“At Chadwicks we consider ourselves a learning organisation. We strive to keep learning new stuff and developing new skills regardless of what it is. We really champion our relationships with our clients and I think thepensioncounter was a lesson in the importance of developing meaningful relationships.” 

“One of thepensioncounter’s USPs was its process. It was hassle free and required minimal engagement from businesses to streamline the process of auto enrolment. As a result we were hindered in actually connecting with the businesses we were targeting. This lack of direct contact made it harder for us to maximise the potential of the relationships we were building.”

“I think it was a very positive learning project. These are experiences that I think have made me a better advisor and a better strategist going forward.” 

Daniel will be speaking about his experiences at Chadwicks Insight Masterclass on Wednesday 14th November where the theme will be early stage investing. Daniel will be joined by innovation specialist Dr Clive Edmonds, founder of Scienta Group and Saffron Myhill-Hunt who, as innovation funding manager at the Low Carbon Innovation Fund, brings her practical experience of investing in early stage businesses.

The event is free to attend but please book your place here

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