I asked Emma a few questions about her business and here’s what she said.
1. What is your business and what do you do?
I started Acer Town planning in November 2019. I'm a town planning consultant and I can provide planning consultancy advice to anybody that comes into contact with the planning system.
I submit planning applications for a wide range of clients. Ranging from developers, house builders, commercial enterprises right down to the household domestic level as well.
And I work alongside architects and supplement what they do as well. So it's quite wide ranging. I can be working on housing projects, employment offices, bars, stately homes, all sorts of things.
I help to get the planning permission through the system, this includes preparing applications and writing justifications for the proposals, submitting them and then liaising with planning officers at the council. Making sure that the application goes through as smoothly as possible to an approval.
I can also get involved when people had a refusal, and they want to appeal against it. So, I'll help them to appeal and submit an appeal for them.
2. I know that you do a lot of networking and love it. Is this where you find most of your work or do referrals come from past contacts from when you worked in the corporate world?
I was in the corporate world for almost 20 years before I set up my business. I like to call myself a corporate expat… I have a large network from that period of my life, but it is almost a different kind of client that I am looking for now. I suppose I am now targeting smaller clients because I'm on my own. It's relative to the size of the project I can work on and resource. There have been some connections from previous work life that have recommended me. But you are right though, since I've gone out on my own, I’ve made a lot of new connections through going to networking events.
I do specific property networking with Women in Property amongst others and I go to as many local networking events as possible. I've had some good sources of work from those. For example I recently helped a member of the Trafford Women in Business community over in Sale change the use of commercial property lease from a shop to a bar. I have also found local networking to be a great for developing a vital network of support and services that can be outsourced. I learnt pretty quickly that it’s impossible to do everything yourself and that when you work on your own it’s great to see friendly faces and share small business tips.
3. Like me and many of our network, you work around the children and with the summer holidays fast approaching… Are you busy at the moment?
Yes. I've actually got a massive to do list at the moment, queries to get back to as well as admin type stuff and lots of work related lists. In the last 12 months, I’ve really worked on sorting out my approach to be a bit more organised and time focused. Now that I’m busier with client work, I don't have so much time to do everything. We’ll be going away in the summer and I’ll also balance work around spending time with my girls whilst they’re off. However, one of the best things about working for myself is that I’m here more for the family, that’s probably my favourite difference between corporate and self-employed.
If you or anyone you know needs help with a planning application, Emma is your woman…