Sharon hopes for success

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A WOMAN who took the plunge into business after 20 years of working for others is celebrating her first year as an entrepreneur.

And now Sharon Crosby, 47, is hoping for more success. She has become the latest entrant in the Hartlepool sector of the Local Business Accelerators competition.

Sharon owns and runs Flexible Conveyancing which offers legal services for anyone buying or selling a house.

She decided to set up on her own after 20 years of working for solicitors in Hartlepool, Stockton and Ferryhill, in County Durham.

Hartlepool-born Sharon set up her first ever business on November 1 last year and it is still going strong in Scarborough Street in the town.

She said: “Going into business was a huge shock to the system. To be fair, I think if I could have got another job, I probably would not have done this.”

She remembers a conversation she had with herself while she was working in her last solicitors’ job in Ferryhill.

“I said to myself ‘If I get made redundant, I might set up on my own’ never thinking it was actually going to happen.”

Now she heads up a two-person office and admits the first year has been hard. “I was used to working for other people but we are getting there and we are feeling our way.”

Sharon is hoping to win the Hartlepool leg of the competition where the prizes are free advertising in the Hartlepool Mail and mentoring from three town business experts.

She admitted: “Mentoring would be nice, someone to give us a bit of advice on where we are going wrong, if we are going wrong at all.”

The closing date for entries to the competition has now passed.

The next stage is the judging of the contest to decide which firms are the best in town.

One Hartlepool company will also go on to represent the town in the regional, and potentially, the national stages of the competition.

The overall winner will receive free membership of the CBI for a year, free business advice from the ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) valued at £2,000, and an iPad from Freeagent, which is also offering a year’s free access to its accountancy software to each of the national finalists, valued at £300 each.

The winner will also receive mentoring from the campaign’s national ambassador Deborah Meaden, of Dragons’ Den as well as a £10,000 cash sum.

The shortlisted Hartlepool companies will be revealed later this month.