• The Business Owner

Meet the Boss - Sue Cuff

Company Name: Cuff Associates

Position: Founder & Director

Industry: Recruitment


What was your first job or role after education?

A very exciting one, selling advertising for Haymarket Publications. I was initially in telesales, in a great young team working for charismatic leaders under Michael Heseltine (former Deputy Prime Minister under Margaret Thatcher), who was inspirational.


Could you describe your career path for the reader?

Sales all the way! Getting more sophisticated as the years went by, through the growth and professionalising of the recruitment industry, innovating through new hiring models, adding value to the recruitment process for candidates and hirers, forging and retaining stunningly good relationships, many of which have lasted four decades.


When did you realise you wanted to be your own boss?

I did not – it was forced upon me! after the major financial crash and subsequent economic climate.


What is your current role and what is your favourite part about it?

I own and manage my own boutique recruitment business in the financial markets. My favourite bit is being my own boss.


Are you optimistic, realistic or pessimistic about 2021?

Realistic. It will be hard. And not Christmas, New Year, Easter, Summer or any other such “date” will make a difference.


What is the most important task you carry out each day?

Deciding what the priorities are. And then attending to them.


What advice would you give to your 21 year old self about your career journey?

Don’t trust without good reason to do so. Think big. Be ambitious. Be brave. Never be a fair-weather friend. Treasure your relationships. Work your socks off. And have a blast.


Have there been any positives about 2020 and lockdown for you?

No. It’s very scary. A lot of people are talking up the “new normal” which in my view is not a valid concept.


What causes you the most stress at work?

Apart from the obvious financial stress of a struggling business, it is the lack of respect and courtesy extended to us as suppliers. It’s brutal, it’s rude and it’s unnecessary.


If you could instantly change one area or thing about your business, what would it be?

I would remove the work “recruitment” and re-invent the proposition - re-position it as an advisory / consulting service.


If you had your time again would you still choose to be a business owner?

With the right people, yes. I made some very poor judgement calls on business partners, which had devastating results. Entirely my responsibility – I do not blame anyone but myself. And the people concerned, obviously.


What do you do to unwind?

Theatre, music, reading, cinema, rugby, my amazing family, fantastic friends and social life – I am absolutely blessed.


If you could give a single piece of advice to a start-up entrepreneur what would that be?

Choose your business partner(s) extremely carefully. Preferably – don’t have any.


Thank you so much for your time Sue, if we could bottle your energy I’m sure we’d make more money than Red Bull. If you would like to contact Sue or find out more about Cuff Associates please click on the link https://www.cuffassociates.co.uk/