Be scared to do it and do it anyway

Start Up Loan recipient Victoria Nicol tells us that's one of her top tips to others starting out in business. We find out what else she's learned from her entrepreneurial journey so far and how her loan has powered the ambitious growth of her business, My Language Connection.

  • Who are you?

Victoria Nicol, Owner and Managing Director of My Language Connection Limited.

  • What does your business do?

We are a specialist provider of business and technical translations. All that we do is guided by our mission to provide an easy, joyful and professional service to our clients.

  • Where are you based?

We are based in Glasgow. The majority of the direct team live here and we have access to an excellent support network of other businesses who we have both personal and working relationships with. We also have key clients in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

  • How did you get started?

Using a PC in home office, before quickly moving into Collabor8te shared office spaces.

  • What is your background

I have a degree in management, technology and enterprise, coupled with five years of translation industry experience.

  • What are your top tips for others starting out in business?

Be curious; continually ask questions, get out and meet interesting people. Be scared and do it anyway. Understand that it’s never going to be plain sailing and enjoy the rough with the smooth.

Always trust your intuition and don’t be afraid, even if the decision seems scary. If your intuition tells you something, then listen to it. If it tells you that a working relationship isn’t right then trust it and take action to resolve whatever isn’t working. Open and honest communication is key.

  • Has anyone helped you get started and how?
Michelle

Victoria's adviser, Michelle Doherty

We didn’t receive financial help to start up as we were fortunate to have clients that needed to have documents translated straight away, but a few months into trading, we approached Transmit Startups for a Start Up Loan to continue our growth and get the business to the next stage.

We used the funding to further develop the relationship with our main clients, getting an introduction to their global network and securing contracts as a direct result.

We invested in the hiring of project management, administration and accounts management and marketing support subcontractors to help with operational growth and to provide me with the time to focus more on our clients and sales.

Without Transmit supporting us during this period, we wouldn’t have been able to grow as quickly. Our account manager Michelle made the whole process very easy and enjoyable. She was a great support to us in helping us put together and submit our application.

  • What was your biggest mistake/or what would you do differently?

Honestly, I would go faster. I would have hired sub-contracts and our first staff members sooner and I would have pushed to make key decisions faster.

I cannot stress how important it is not to try and do it all yourself. You may not want to run a multi-million-pound business but get help. You can’t wear all the hats effectively so get a PA or administrative help – even on a sub-contractor basis initially.

If costs are the issue, I think you need to question whether you’re doing the right thing not investing in the right kind of support to help you focus on more of what you enjoy and are strong at to help grow your business.

  • Where do you plan your business to be in five years time?

In five years’ time, we will have exceeded £1m turnover with a dedicated Account Manager and Project Manager to each technical sector that we service, and a bigger team. We will expand our network of 300 + qualified, native and professional linguists worldwide.

Our plan is to grow incrementally to guarantee that we keep our personal touch with our clients. We will remain agile enough to react quickly to our client changing business demands pivoting when necessary. This will also mean that we can pivot and adapt to changing external factors out with our control allowing us to successfully continue to deliver high quality, accurate and professional technical translation services.