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Mike Clyne is our April sponsor for our First Wednesday Meeting.  We talked to Mike about his typical week.

  1. Tell us about your typical Monday morning.

As I work from home I do the school drop off and then often nip into Knole Park for a run.  This is without doubt one of the greatest benefits of working for yourself!  Once at my desk, I am catching up not only with emails that have come in over the weekend and checking social media, LinkedIn etc but also reading the papers.  Working on my own I feel this is vital to stop myself becoming too isolated.

2. Can you explain about FeMan Consulting and what you do? It is very simple – to provide HR support / guidance / consulting to small and medium sized business most of whom have no such resource in house.  Among other things this can be helping businesses in their start-up phase to working with them should they be going through difficult situations eg disciplinary issues or redundancies.  Working with smaller companies is extremely satisfying and it is heartening to see a thriving business community in the Sevenoaks area.

3. Tell us something interesting about you or your organisation My business name, FeMan Consulting, was so named because at the time of setting up the business and for some years after I did Ironman Triathlons (the chemical symbol for Iron is Fe).  Other than that the only two facts I could mention is that I do commentating / announcing at a number of triathlon and running events both large and small; and have been an avid Archers listener for 22 years.  Having ultrafast broadband means I can download the podcast in a few seconds!

4. What’s hot news in your industry? There seems to be a lot of change (shared parental leave is a good example) that has been happening but that in my experience is not really making a difference on the ground.  I believe that a lot of HR matters don’t drastically change over time – how you recruit and retain staff is pretty constant.  However, in the world of ultrafast broadband there is a massive amount of change.  There is constant demand both from households and business for improved broadband and areas like ours have a massive opportunity to be in the forefront of taking up the opportunity of having a service that is among the best in the country.

5. Where are you finding new customers in the Sevenoaks area? The majority of my clients are in Central London but I have a number who are in the local area.  I try to find them via the Chamber and also through talking with existing relationship.

6. What advice or services can you offer Sevenoaks Chamber members? Sometimes people need a 10 minute chat about the issues facing their business on the HR front.  From this I can often discuss how I may be able to help them or point them elsewhere if I can’t.  When I started my business in September 2005 I had help from a number of people who had done the same thing before me so it is good to be able to pass on the favour to new businesses myself.

7. If you were in charge of Sevenoaks for a day what would you change or improve? If I read anything about surveys that are done of businesses in Kent, they mention broadband as the number one obstacle to business progression.  We are at an incredibly exciting time to allow the development of new businesses and ideas which are dependent for good online access but may go elsewhere for this provision.  There is private funding waiting to be tapped for broadband infrastructure investment but local authorities need to examine how to remove hurdles to make this happen.  The experience of getting a brand new ultrafast network into our village and surrounding areas shows that it takes a lot of work and time but the ultimate outcome is transformative.  Sevenoaks DC was very helpful during our build – now they need to find out how to do the same for the rest of the district.  Other than that, I would encourage people to come to Underriver and other villages to establish their businesses or use the village hall as a business venue!!

FeMan Consulting provides pragmatic and business focused HR support to small and medium sized businesses.  The April First Wednesday meeting is being hosted by the founder of FeMan Consulting, Mike Clyne.   The meeting on Wednesday 6th April is being held in the Underriver Village Hall to showcase the hall as a facility for businesses to hire.  Not only is this a different type of venue that could be used for meetings, presentations or even as an occasional office, it has ultrafast broadband installed as does the village of Underriver