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Maggie Geraghty's Member Story

Yorkshire based Gap Training Ltd provides training for businesses across the UK. The company was established in 1999 by FSB member Maggie Geraghty alongside her husband and business partner, Garry. 

The business soon grew, by 2006 they had registered as a limited company, opened a second office in the North East, and they were then able to take on more staff. 

Their bespoke and up to date training is an essential must have for any business, they specialise in delivering Apprenticeships across several sectors. Training provision relies upon government funding and is especially important because it “gives people a qualification who have never had one in their role within the business before.” 

Like other small businesses throughout the UK, Gap Training felt the squeeze over the past few years and shrunk back down to a small company, with just two directors and two employees.

Maggie originally became a member of the Federation of Small Businesses in 2006, but left after feeling like she wasn’t getting the most from her membership, “it was really just a badge. I didn't benefit that much in the past, and decided not to sign up again. You get out what you put in.”

Maggie also describes her experiences with other business support organisations that she had signed up to, “I didn't bother renewing them. I did try their networking events, but I found that I was being leapt on by accountants and solicitors. They just looked at me as a potential client, so I didn’t find the leads that would help my business to grow.”

Thankfully, the last few years have seen a turnaround in the business and Gap Training Ltd re-joined FSB. When the team came close to making staff redundant, Maggie found that our FSB Legal Protection helpline could support her with employment advice when she needed it most. 

“A new contract came in, so I wanted to make sure the offer I was making my staff was above board and legal and I was entitled to do it. I called FSB, that gave me the assurance that I was on solid ground and I was doing the right thing. It was knowing that I wasn't just me interpreting the law by myself.”

Like other members, Maggie really began to feel the benefits of her renewed membership, “It’s difficult when you're running a small business to get objective advice because most people are trying to sell you something. Your accountant has got an angle, the bank has an angle. I’m looking for support where you can pick the phone up, ask 'am I doing the right thing' and it won't cost me £40 for the phone call.”

“Even in the short space of time that I've re-joined the organisation it's been a completely different experience. I've had more contact with people ringing me asking what service I’m using, making sure I get the most out of my membership.”

Maggie adds, “When you're running a business, you're doing everything. You're doing accounts, finance, HR – you don't really have the time to go and just listen to a solicitor.” This is where FSB has been able to support Maggie.

We asked Maggie what advice she would give to small business owners, “Join FSB! I would say you need that outside support, so try and garner that support as you can.”

“Don’t try and take everything on yourself. If you're setting up a business today, sit down and think: What is it that you're looking for? Where do you want to be? Who can you use? Who can you trust to help you get there?”

The future looks bright for Gap Training and the employees they were able to keep on board, “a young lady joined us as an admin assistant, who answered phones and did some filing. Now she’s in the second year of her degree. Her life has changed because we invest in training. It changes people's lives.”

FSB is here to help small businesses throughout the UK. We offer each member advice, finance and support in the hopes that they can succeed with our powerful voice behind them.

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