As anyone who has been in this community for any length of time knows, we are all about collaboration and radical generosity. And one of the most collaborative and generous things you can do, in my opinion, is to offer recommendations and referrals. In this post, I’m offering you some of my BEST recommendations and referrals. 


People ask for my opinion a lot. And by people, I mean you – the wonderful Actually community. You want to know what kind of database to use, which bank to bank with, who can help you with your branding, your finances, your mindset, your speaking skills and so on. 

And sometimes the answer is ‘Us….we can help you with that.’ But, as shocking as it may seem, we can’t do everything and we’re not everybody’s cup of tea (although if you’re reading this we are hopefully YOUR cuppa!). 

So I thought I would gather together in one place my best recommendations and referrals for you to keep handy when the time comes. This week – part one of my miscellany of brilliance for business owners.

1. Best Database

If I had a pound for every time I am asked this question…OK, here goes. 

Firstly, do you need a database at all? Well, in theory, no. If you’re a tiny business with only a handful of clients and you don’t want to grow or email them anything more complicated than an appointment confirmation then you COULD an Excel spreadsheet. 

But most of you WILL need a database and the decision about which one to use will depend on: 

  • How big your list is now
  • How big you’d like it to be
  • How much money you have to invest
  • How complex the automations and sequences are that you’d like to run

If your list is relatively small and not likely to grow much, if you don’t have much to invest and / or the automations you want to run are not that complex, then one of the free or lower price databases like MailChimp or MailerLite will work perfectly well. 

If, however, you have a larger list (1000+) or you know that you want to grow your list significantly and you want to be able to run more complicated automations or segment your list to create more targeted campaigns, then we recommend ActiveCampaign.

2. Best Business Bank

As far as I am concerned there is ONLY one bank worth banking with in the UK and that’s Starling Bank. Admittedly I am slightly biased since they were once my client and I helped launch them – but I do also happen to think they are the best and apparently 82% of their business banking customers agree. 

My top three reasons for preferring Starling? It’s free. They provide 24/7 customer support and you can talk to an ACTUAL human being. My account integrates with my finance package which makes my life SO much easier!

3. Best Finance Packages

Talking of finances, you may have clients who are happy to pay by bank transfer but if you want them to be able to pay by credit card, bank card or in instalments – you’re going to need a payment system. We use Stripe. We did a lot of research and in the end it came down to this: their fees were the lowest. 

And at some point you’re going to need an accounting package to track all of those payments, create and send invoices, track payments and give you a proper overview of your finances. I recommend Xero. But I also recommend you check with your accountant what system they use / prefer. We went with Xero because it is so comprehensive but also because our accountant recommended it. 

4. Best Accountancy Support

Talking of which, there is ONLY ONE person I recommend for accountancy support. She is a legend. She must be….she puts up with me and does both my personal and my business accounts and tax returns! She is Nicola Deverson – the Founder of Envision Partnership. Nicola is fabulously knowledgeable, infinitely patient, wonderfully good-humoured and utterly brilliant at what she does. She also has a programme educating female founders about finance which I thoroughly recommend. And if you are a member of Actually JFDI (so much more than a membership!) – you’ll several training videos from Nicola in the JFDI Cavern – Training section. Aren’t you lucky?

5. Best Business Insurance

I am a loyal customer – when I like a company I go ‘all-in’ which is why my house insurance and business insurance are all with one company: Hiscox. Their cover is comprehensive and their customer service is second to none. For the coaches amongst you, they’ve also built up quite a specialism in insuring coaches. Worth chatting to them.

6. Best Business & Marketing Strategist

Ummmm….rude. 😉 What do you think I do all day? Twiddle my thumbs? Business & marketing strategy is my bread and butter darling. 🙂  

There are lots of people out there who claim to be able to advise you about strategy. And I think most of them fall into one of two groups: 

  1. They have created and grown a successful business and believe that ‘strategy’ is simply telling you how to do what they did. 
  2. They have actually studied strategy, know what it is (clue – it’s not what the people in group 1 think) but they can’t explain it in simple language. 

The problem with group 1 is that they don’t actually understand strategy – if they did they would know that just because their approach worked for them doesn’t mean it will work for someone else.  And the problem with the second group is obvious – you can’t understand a word they are saying! 

My recommendation is that you ask anyone claiming to be a business or marketing strategist to tell you what business strategy is. If they simply start telling you about what they did or you can’t understand their answer – well to quote one rather amusing TikTok-er ‘à la poubelle’*. 

My answer is this: strategy is a description of how you’ll get from where you are now to where you want to be. It’s entirely different for every client because it has to be based on a deep understanding of that individual and their business: their strengths and weaknesses, their market, their aims. 

If you’d like my advice about the right strategy or approach to achieve your business and marketing aims then why not book a Power Hour?


Ok that’s enough for Part 1. Check back soon for Part 2. 

Big love




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