Bridgehouse Company Secretaries was founded in 2006 by trained lawyer and chartered secretary, Ibi Eso (on the bottom right), who recognised that many smaller private sector companies and charity organisations cannot justify the expense – or do not want the commitment – of employing a full-time chartered company secretary, yet most do not have the professional skills in-house that are needed to meet their statutory legal obligations. They're now based at Clerkenwell Workshops and here Ibi tells us a little more about her business.
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Tell us about Bridgehouse Company Secretaries and how you started your business.
It all started in 2006. Following years of experience in the field and a burning desire to have a larger variety of work, I had the idea of founding my own company secretarial firm.
My vision was to offer clients a first-class company secretarial solution that worked around their own business needs, and so I decided from day one that Bridgehouse would offer a completely flexible approach to its way of working - this provided me with a good amount of work variety and was also very cost effective for my clients!
As the business has grown, so has our passion for good governance, and our journey as a company has developed from lone company secretary to now being a sturdy team of five that are dedicated to supporting businesses and carving out an industry standard for good governance within the UK.
What’s it like settled at Clerkenwell Workshops?
We discovered the Clerkenwell office purely by chance and were smitten with its quirkiness right from the start! The building immediately created a great first impression and we sensed good vibes from the offices within it.
Like Bridgehouse, Clerkenwell was fresh thinking, unique and welcoming - it was what we had been waiting for.
We have settled in well and it feels good that our first impressions were correct.
Business-wise, what are you most proud of?
I am proud of getting this far in my journey. I have created the type of company I wanted, one that prides itself on delivering first class services tailored to our client’s needs. I feel a large sense of achievement when I hear our clients tell us what a great deal of attention we’ve paid to them and the positive differences we have made to their organisation.
What have been your biggest business challenges?
The largest, and most daunting, challenge would have to be making the decision to invest in the expansion of the team and putting down firm roots in an office space. The tipping point of when the business has become larger than the team operating it, yet not large enough to be fully comfortable in your investment, is hard to juggle and a big step for any up-and-coming business!
How is Bridgehouse Company Secretaries funded? Did you seek any outside help?
The business has been self-funded and grown steadily in direct correlation to client growth. As our income grows from expanding our client base, so does the business. We have periodically looked at other investment sources to boost funds, but it’s a bit of a maze out there and the associated risks are generally too high.
Our business model for funding and growth shall always be linked to how well the business is doing. Careful consideration is always applied to any return on investment opportunity so that the business maintains a low risk status.
Where do you see Bridgehouse Company Secretaries in a year's time? In three years’ time?
Like most companies out there, we see ourselves growing, and then growing even more. The ideal would be to get the company in such a stable place that it will carry on developing and providing services for many more years to come. Shorter term, we see ourselves as a slightly bigger team and an even bigger client portfolio.
How can you help other businesses based at Workspace?
We would welcome the opportunity to assist any of our fellow Workspace businesses. We can support by offering a wide range of company secretarial tasks to help save time, money and provide peace of mind that compliance and governance is being taken care of. Our services can range from the filing of annual returns, maintaining statutory registers, minute taking at Board meetings through to a complete revision of company Articles, drafting shareholder agreements, advice on corporate law Director training and governance reviews.
We offer monthly packages of support from £475 PCM or one off projects at hourly rates. We are a small and welcoming team who would love talk through how we could help any of our business based at Workspace.
Please give us a call on 08450558260 or drop us an email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an informal free of charge chat - we are not far away to meet up for a coffee in the communal areas!
What are the benefits to outsourcing company secretaries? When should businesses start thinking about getting a company secretary?
We have discovered that around 90% of companies need help with their governance, but it can sometimes take them quite a long time to realise. Our advice for growing businesses would always be to start using a company secretary as early as possible, so that as it grows it has solid foundations in place and peace of mind that the business, and its Directors, will not come unstuck!
A full-time company secretary can attract a high price tag and realistically they are not always needed for the seven hours a day, five days a week that the business pays for.
At Bridgehouse our expert team knows how much time is needed, for specific company secretarial/ governance tasks, we are therefore able to create a flexible solution which enables organisations to access the highest quality company secretarial resource, at a time and frequency that matches the needs of their business.
Outsourcing to Bridgehouse is very different to normal outsourcing – you won’t find us dotted around the world or hard to contact! We have a highly personal approach so that our clients have the same named resource who works quickly and effectively to become a crucial part of their team.
Businesses who try cutting corners will often find that their in house resource, usually the Financial Director, becomes overburdened or stuck on technical issues, and so if this happening then it should set alarm bells ringing that the business needs the professional support of a company secretary who has the right expertise.
What are the most important things for you in an office space? What's your office luxury?
Even without realising it we spend over one third of our time at work, usually in an office, and so we treat our working environment as being part of the team. It is the place where we can put all our good ideas into practice and produce great work for our clients in comfort.
The office luxury comes more from the people that we spend that time with rather than a comfortable chair. Maybe also a good cup of coffee can be added to that.