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Meet your #LoveBiz host - Sue Crooks
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Telephone : 07505 847 807

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Sue Crooks is a businesswoman, mother, entrepreneur and a champion of women in business.

The road to the success Sue enjoys today has not been an easy one. She has had to fight numerous battles along the way which have tested her strength and determination; making her question her self-belief and wonder whether she would ever see the results she was working so hard to achieve. 

Sue was born and brought up in the Midlands. She has always been decidedly ambitious, and at school she wanted to study Art. She dreamed of a creative vocation where she could use her skills and let her imagination run wild. Instead, she was advised that she should consider a career in hotel management. So, with slight reluctance, that’s what she did.

She studied hotel management at Loughborough College and, though she still longed to do Art, applied herself fully to the course. On completion, she landed a job with Trusthouse Forte where she quickly worked her way up to Assistant Manager. She was soon working around the country, travelling to the Lake District, Essex, London and everywhere in between. 

Sue said: “I found working in the hotel and events industry exhausting at times. It was the norm to work 12+-hour shifts back-to-back with little sleep in between. I found it tough, but the team and I pulled together and always got the job done with smiles on our faces.”

Sue has an abundance of tales from her years working in the industry. One of her most memorable was when, as Duty Manager, she had to deal with a ceiling falling on a Premier League football team who were dining in the restaurant. And she once sat with someone for 12 hours to prevent them from committing suicide. Sue said: “To this day I wonder what became of them.”

Life was certainly never dull, and she has plenty more stories about celebrities and members of the royal family too.

Tired of working long, anti-social hours, Sue decided a change of career was in order. She applied for a job at a medical distribution company in Southgate, London, and was interviewed by the Operations Manager who had also previously worked in the hospitality industry.

Sue said: “The interviewer immediately identified me as a hard worker and offered me the job. I felt fortunate to have the opportunity to shine in a new sector, and I embraced my new path with enthusiasm.”

Five years later, the lady who interviewed Sue left the company and Sue stepped into her role.

Fast forward a few years and Sue found herself moving back to the Midlands as a single mum to a young daughter. She had no financial support to help raise her and the future felt uncertain.

After a short break, Sue returned to work at an IT company in an events, marketing and communications role. She found this male-dominated industry didn’t suit her, and she struggled to fit in with their way of working and thinking.

Sue soon decided to take the plunge and go solo, setting up her design and branding business.

Sue said: “With a young daughter to bring up alone I knew this was an enormous risk, but I had a business and finance plan in place and I was determined to make it a success.”

Sue was fully aware of, and prepared for, the hard work and long hours ahead. She soon learnt that one of the keys to a successful start-up was constantly developing along the way. All too often, she had seen people expecting new businesses to be an overnight success and found that they, sadly, are often the ones which fail early on as the owners were not realistic. Little did she realise she would be using the skills she learnt to adapt her business rapidly when the coronavirus pandemic hit some years later.

Reputation was everything in the small town Sue lived and worked in. She felt grateful that clients referred her to their contacts. Before she knew it, her business had expanded and she was heading into year two. 

Reflecting on this time, Sue commented: “Although appearing bubbly, confident and hopeful for the future, nobody knew that behind closed doors I was struggling to cope with postnatal depressing and crippling anxiety. I felt uneasy leaving the house and was suffering severe panic attacks, despite being on medication to help lessen the effects.”

Around 8 years ago, Sue bravely decided to stop taking the medication. It was controlling her and she wanted that to end. She tried several alternatives and eventually discovered hypnotherapy. She no longer takes any medication and hasn’t suffered a panic attack for five years. 

Along with the hypnotherapy, Sue found surrounding herself with positive people was beneficial to her health and mindset. This is something she remains passionate about. 

Sue said: “I realised that, like me, a lot of women who are sole traders work at home on their own, which can be a lonely place. There is nobody to bounce ideas around with, nobody to ask for advice and nobody to share successes with.”

Sue’s desire to help isolated businesswomen led to her organising a lunch for local ladies who wanted to meet like-minded people. But this was to be no ordinary event. She had done a lot of networking and found the meetings had no buzz. They were lacklustre and full of people thrusting business cards at each other. Sue wanted to create something different. Somewhere not just to make business connections, but a place for support and friendship too.

Sue said: “The lunch was a huge success. All 28 attendees wanted to meet up again and LoveBiz Networking® was born.”

The first #LoveBiz meeting took place in April 2012 and since then has gone from strength to strength. There are now groups across the UK.

What makes LoveBiz Networking® unique is that it is women-only, and the priority is to build relationships in the first instance and do business and pass referrals second.

“Members generate much stronger business relationships this way as they feel connected on more than just a business level,” Sue said. “Friendships are forged, and they support each other in work and life; celebrating the highs and encouraging each other through the lows.”

As member numbers expanded, Sue knew she couldn’t continue to host all of the events and keep on top of the admin associated with a growing business, alone. She was also working hard on her marketing and design business. 

In November 2017, after months of planning, guidance and investment in legal advice, Sue sold her first franchise. There are now 9 #LoveBiz communities hosted by invested franchise owners, all with the same belief of supporting and connecting women in business and all running their own businesses alongside.

Now in her 50s, Sue’s desire to support more women in business is as strong as ever and the coronavirus pandemic only spurred her on further.

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