The Rebel Flock
In this interview, we meet Emma Davies, founder of The Rebel Flock, whose journey from a globe-trotting career to entrepreneurial endeavours has led to a unique perspective on business growth and workplace culture. With a passion for genuine human connections and a keen eye on the transformative potential of AI and emerging technologies, Emma shares insights essential for businesses striving to stay competitive in today’s evolving landscape.
1. Tell us about yourself and the consulting service you provide.
I became an inadvertent continent hopper following a role that took me from the UK to Los Angeles for three years, where I met my Canadian now husband. I moved continents three times in five years and eight house moves in seven years. I left employment when I decided to move to British Columbia, Canada, where my husband lived. Little did I know that mere weeks later the world would shut down due to COVID, and my residency and work permit would not arrive until 2022. I began freelancing as a remote writer, yoga & meditation teacher and business strategist while I worked out the next steps.
My career prior to my freelancing had been in Sales, Business Development, and General Management. While freelancing I joined a non-profit in Canada supporting women back into the workplace on their Board of Directors, where I created a self and career development program to serve our clients and assist the organisation in securing larger grant funding. Alongside this I worked with a start-up in its growth phase in the U.K. developing and delivering a pitch for them to secure R&D funding. It was an eye opening and rewarding experience to dive into the full details of the funding process. One which serves me well now to support clients.
When my permits arrived I decided to use my career and freelance experience to set up my own business rather than go back to employment since it offered much more flexibility for visits home to family and friends which remains a key priority for me. I operate as a Strategic Partner to SMEs to help them build and refine clear strategies, plans and processes that engage the entire team around common goals. This approach delivers business growth and sets the foundations to build a positive workplace experience for all. I work with businesses in the UK and North America, and while most of the delivery is remote, I love working in person whenever possible. I value building relationships and businesses that have longevity over time, so I most enjoy working on an ongoing basis with a company over a period of time where that is appropriate.
While it is in the very early stages, I’m also testing out utilising an App to make business advice and support more accessible to businesses and I’d be delighted to connect with anyone who’s willing to share insight on how this could support them in their business.
2. What has been the most rewarding part about starting your own business?
It’s always the people. Getting to meet different people, to see new ideas, different outlooks and perspectives. I get to learn and grow from the different experiences of everyone I meet as much as they get to benefit from my experience. There is immense creativity among SMEs and I love to see people’s individuality shine through in what they are creating in their business. Running my own business I equally get to be my unique self and approach life and business in a way that fulfills me. With respect to this latter point, much of the reward comes from the challenge of slowly working out what exactly doing life my way actually means!
I would also concur with the sentiment that setting up your own business is the greatest journey in self discovery and growth. In that respect it has been a challenging period, and yet for which I’m immensely grateful. I feel I know myself much better and have become stronger and more self-aware in who I am and what I do.
3. What are some common challenges businesses face when trying to boost their growth and productivity?
The most common challenge I see in smaller, fast-growing or new start-up businesses is simply that there is so much going on that there isn’t time to step back and reflect on where they are at vs. where they want to be. It can be overwhelming for owners and leaders when there is too much to manage at once, trying to deliver on tasks, support a team and plan for the future. This can bring an equal challenge of good communication falling to the wayside which can impact individual and team effectiveness as well as morale. Feedback from businesses I worked with as a freelancer referring to the impact of having to wear too many hats at once, unable to see the wood for the trees and the value I was able to provide to them through objective strategic oversight is what set me off in this direction with my own business.
4. What role does employee engagement play in improving overall performance, and how can it be enhanced?
Employee Engagement is often perceived as the realm of big business and for many as a tick-box exercise. The term can come across jargony when really what it’s about is how much people care about the business they work for. Therefore, it is of central importance to businesses of all sizes. What most businesses seem to miss is that the strategy and planning process and agreed daily ways of working are what underpin engagement. Your method of creating and communicating your strategy and plans directly sets the tone for the level of engagement, which in turn directly impacts the likelihood of success. So engagement is critical to business success.
5. Are there any emerging trends or technologies that businesses should be aware of to stay competitive in their industry?
I can’t not mention AI here. It’s new and we’re hearing about it everywhere, the tools available can quickly streamline processes and tasks for business so it can not be ignored. I’m certainly committed to learning more and having a deeper understanding which of course helps me to support those I work with too.
On the flip side of technology, and more naturally my cup of tea is humanity. Following the separation experienced in recent years and the growing presence of technology in all aspects of life, any company that can connect a genuine human experience to its business and offerings will lead the way. We are human beings and we strive for connection, we seek inspiration and wonder. I think experience is what is going to keep companies competitive.