Each week, we ask small businesses key questions.
Here we speak to Nicky Carnie, the owner of the Aberdeen based people
development firm Cognition Coaching.
How and why did you start in business?
Early in 2017 my son, Lewis, 25, and daughter, Ashleigh, 23, moved out of the family home in quick succession so my husband and I decided to downsize and live a little.
I really enjoyed helping people understand themselves and others better, and why they might do things differently to achieve a specific objective.
Using a psychometric colour profiling tool called Insights, I decided to follow a long-held dream and become my own boss.
How did you get to where you are today?
A lot of hard work and determination to succeed. I have a human resources (HR) background, with all-round experience in generalist HR, learning and development in the oil and gas and third sectors.
Where my passion lies is in developing people and giving them the tools to unlock their potential and bring the best version of themselves to work.
Networking and building great working relationships with new people I have met, and tapping into my current network has helped me to build trust and credibility and, ultimately, build my business.
Who helped you?
I couldn’t have done this without the support of my husband, Paul, both financially and emotionally.
There are also numerous people I have met throughout this journey I can call on when I need a sounding board, a second opinion or just a friendly face when things are getting too difficult.
Membership of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has been invaluable. Not only does it offer help with late payments, legal advice and tax, but also numerous policy templates and money-saving services.
What has been your biggest mistake?
Being too trusting and a little naive in the early days as I relied too heavily on one source for a pipeline of work. Things change and you need to be ready with a Plan B.
Also, not having all the skills to run my own business as everything was new to me, so I found attending courses really helpful.
What is your greatest achievement?
Gaining my degree in HR management, in 2011, at Robert Gordon University. It was the culmination of four years of hard work, while holding down a demanding full-time job and supporting my children through exams.
If you were in power in government, what would you change?
We need a fairer system to close the gap between rich and poor. It’s not right that in the 21st Century people are having to rely on food banks through no fault of their own.
What do you still hope to achieve?
There is still some work required to educate local businesses so they realise colour profiling is not a discretionary spend but a cost- effective way to get their staff to communicate better, work more collaboratively and, ultimately, become high performing teams.
What do you do to relax?
Long country walks, with my dog, Belle, to clear my head and recharge my batteries. We are so lucky to have the gorgeous Aberdeenshire countryside on our doorstep. I also love hosting the odd party or barbecue.
What are you currently reading, listening to or glued to on the TV?
I like a good period drama and am watching Victoria. I don’t really have time to read, although I always read the FSB First Voice, CIPD People Management and Business Bulletin magazines to keep me up to date.
What do you waste your money on?
My husband would say shoes and/or bags but I’d argue they are an investment. I definitely waste money on dog toys for Belle as she has them destroyed within five minutes.
How would your friends describe you?
My closest friends said I was “fun, a good organiser (of parties), great company and helpful”, so I am feeling very humble.
What would your enemies say about you?
I hope I don’t have any.
What do you drive and dream of driving?
I drive a Ford Fiesta, which is practical, cost-effective and gets me from A to B. I’m not really into cars but if I was pushed to answer, I guess I’d quite like an Audi Q7.