From washing cars at the age of nine with a few friends to running her own Marketing Business at the age of 21, Cleo Morris embodies the idea of a young entrepreneurial business women with the determination to be independent and successful! I went to secondary school, with Cleo, so it’s great I’m able to see how well she has done and share her story with you! – Serena
But first let’s get to know Cleo a little better.
What would you most like to change in the world?
Business development in third world countries; I would like to help create a stable business economy to help developing counties to be more self-sufficient.
What do you do to relax?
I love sports and like watching Basketball and Formula 1; so on a race weekend I do nothing but sit and watch Lewis Hamilton race a Mercedes. If I am not watching sports I take part in a martial arts called Aikido.
For some people the idea of running their own business is scary, but from the age of nine Cleo had already decide that this was exactly what she wanted to do. Whilst other girls of her age were planning their wedding or worrying about make-up, Cleo and a friend were with the Deputy Head teacher discussing a way they could deliver a better experience for kids who had packed lunches at primary school. This resulted in the roll out of a successful “fun lunches experience” for those in year 6.
Cleo’s entrepreneurial spark had been lit!
But what next for this ambitious nine year old? Fast forward a year and Cleo now begins to talk about her first job washing cars in her local area. “I began washing cars with my friend. We started knocking on doors during the school holidays and asking people if they would like their cars washing. I sorted out the pricing structure for the business; whereby I implemented a basic wash for our customers at £2.50, and we would up-sell on the waxing and hand drying of the cars. I then came up with a loyalty scheme for our customers – in which we made paper coupons for them to receive money off their future washes”.
However it wasn’t until 2014 when Cleo had completed her undergraduate degree in Business & Combined Studies that she took the plunge and opened her own business, Marketingmaker Ltd.
“I didn’t see much point in making someone else’s dream come true when I could make my own” and being a women going into the business sphere certainly did not faze Cleo. “I feel very comfortable as a woman in business. I don’t let my gender define my ability to do anything. People who are serious in business don’t see gender, they see business individuals.”
“I realised many SME’s struggled to both brand and market themselves within their respective markets. Wanting to make marketing simple yet effective and cost efficient for all businesses, I wanted to provide great marketing to companies regardless of their size or stature. Setting up Marketingmaker Ltd works with start-ups, SME’s and Charities providing organisations with bespoke marketing at affordable prices. Marketingmaker Ltd works closely with companies to ensure businesses with 1 or 1,000 employees receive the greatest return on their investment.”
Starting up your own business can bring a range of experiences and opportunities, but what would Cleo pick as her most challenging and memorable moment?
Meeting amazing people is definitely one! “Speaking with an esteemed businessman such as Tony Fernandes, The CEO of Air Asia, was amazing! I wouldn’t have had that opportunity if I didn’t do what I do.” But opportunities to inspire young people are also great experiences for Cleo, “speaking to students about business skills in several different schools is very enjoyable for me.”
As Marketingmaker Ltd has grown from strength to strength the need to hire staff has arisen, this has created a few challenges for Cleo. “Ensuring I have the correct people within and around my business. I found that not everyone is meant to work within my business. Therefore finding the right people who fit within my business and understand my vision is the biggest challenge”.
Here at Women & Enterprise we are all about supporting women in business so we asked Cleo for her top tips for women running their own business
“The only thing that is constant is change. So don’t wait for things to be in place before starting a business. If you want to do it, do it. Also being persistent, running a business is not easy, it’s a long term game- understand your end game and continue pushing on.”
LinkedIn: Cleo Morris