I am a big believer in imperfect action and I would rather make a mistake than never try. I also know my own limits and make sure that I build a team around me, to make up for my short-comings.

 

Experienced and passionate recruiter and business owner. Karla has experience running businesses in recruitment, staffing and ecommerce. Experience recruiting up to CXO level and across a variety of industries.

Karla has 10 years experience as a recruiter and business leader. She is committed to growing and developing BeecherMadden as an award winning international recruitment company, seen as the recruitment partner of choice for corporate governance, resilience & security and niche technology. BeecherMadden provides talent to banks, consultancies, telecoms, retailers, technology houses and public sector bodies. In 2017, BeecherMadden was acquired by the Nicoll Curtin Group.

Karla is a judge for the Cyber Security Awards. She is also an experienced speaker, on the topic of cyber security and women in technology. Her views are often sought and published on this subject, as well as entrepreneurship. Karla is the founder of Tatius Group, an ecommerce investment firm.

Karla was a finalist at the Women of the Future awards in 2016, for Entrepreneur of the Year. BeecherMadden have won the BestFor Recruitment award for Security, and shortlisted for a number of awards for their recruitment services.

Where did the idea for BeecherMadden come from?

I had always done recruitment, so starting a recruitment business of my own was a natural next step. I started the business in a recession, which actually helped as many services were cheaper than they might have been. I had also done information security recruitment before so I was already in the space. When the term cyber started being used, the market exploded and I was lucky I was in the right place.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

My kids wake me up early so I am on the go as soon as I wake up. Once I get them to day care, I commute into the office and try and make the most of my hours. I spend time catching up with my team, connecting with clients and making sure we are delivering to expectations. I also spend time looking at what is happening within our industry and connecting with new people. I either then rush home to get the children from day care, or I attend a work event. I typically work most evenings and with a day like that, I never have trouble falling asleep!

How do you bring ideas to life?

I just get started! I am a big believer in imperfect action and I would rather make a mistake than never try. I also know my own limits and make sure that I build a team around me, to make up for my short-comings.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

I’m very excited by all the movements promoting and empowering women across the world. The most relevant to me is the desire to attract more women into cyber security, which I believe, will ultimate make us all more secure.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Regular self-review really helps. It brings me back to what is important and keeps me focussed on what my business, team and family need from me. I am open to being criticised and take direct feedback well. As business owners, we can often be guilty of getting over excited about new ideas and looking for the next big idea. By keeping focussed and listening to others, we can be more successful at what we are good at.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Be yourself sooner. Everyone you work for will give you advice on how to change your style but this is generally based on their own image, rather than what will be best for you. You do your best work, when you are yourself, not when you are trying to be how someone wants you to be.
vTell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

That LinkedIn is not the only way to do recruitment. Actually, LinkedIn themselves agree with this, but nobody else seems to!

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Review yourself. While those that know me, might not realise, I constantly review the decisions I have made and how I work to grow the business. It’s important to me that I am comfortable with the tough decisions you inevitably have to make. Not everyone gets the full picture on these and you get judged by others with incomplete information. So I review those and how I can learn from them. I also review my weaknesses to make sure I am mitigating them. And I read and try to learn new skills or ways of approaching business as much as I can. While it is important to believe in your own ability, constantly reviewing yourself is the only way to improve.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Apart from delivering what we said we could, I always interviewed good people, even when I wasn’t hiring. By meeting lots of people in the industry, it helped me grow my brand and I also had people to go back to when I did need to hire. More often than not, meeting someone that excited me drove me to find a space for that person. We grew our headcount above our projections very quickly, which helped us exceed our revenue targets.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I hired some very senior and experienced people that didn’t work out. The risk to the rest of the team and to the company culture, of having someone senior in the business that isn’t working, is huge. Balancing the needs to give them enough time to perform, to be fair, to look for a return on that investment but without upsetting the wider business to much, is a really delicate balance.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Any business idea that helps entrepreneurs outsource life admin. I love a virtual PA or anything that helps make my home life easier. At the moment, I would love to have a service that can collect and drop off my dry cleaning, in my not-so-far-out of London address!

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I bought a course of Bikram yoga classes. I’m a huge fan of Bikram. As well as the physical side, I find it really helps me relax and stay focussed at work.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

Amazon Prime! I have no idea how anyone got through life without it. It helps with work but it also helps me stay on top of my personal life; planning gifts for friends for instance. I can save time and work at being a better friend / mother by being more organised.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

“Lean In”. Men and women can benefit from understanding the areas where women struggle in the workplace and how we can help make a difference to this. Sheryl Sandberg uses an analogy where women and men are running a marathon but while the men are being cheered on, the women are being told it’s OK to quit or even shamed for running. As a working mum, I have experienced this and knowing how to recognise this as bias, has been helpful for me.

What is your favorite quote?

You can’t throw stones at every dog that barks.” It helps remind me that I can’t do everything.

key learnings:

  • You can’t do everything, just do your best at what you can.
  • Find ways to make life easier, so you can spend more time on what you are good at (and what makes you money).
  • Self-review is very important. Seek feedback as often as you can, as much as you can, so you can spot the trends and learn how to improve yourself.

Connect:

https://www.beechermadden.com
Karla reffold on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/karlareffold/

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