How to be a flexible business analyst

Do you have a head for business and are you looking for a more flexible working life?

If so, Heather Black may have a solution for you.

Heather is managing director of Economic Change which provides management solutions to help social enterprises and charities improve their efficiency, sustainability and socio-economic impact.

To help her monitor the impact of the business strategies she was developing, she started using Salesforce, a Customer relationship management [CRM] tool which companies use to manage and analyse customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle.

She realised that the organisations she was working with might need Salesforce administrators to work on their business development strategy, but only on an ad hoc or part-time basis. She decided to set up a programme to train people who could meet that demand and thought mums, including those who had taken a career break to bring up young kids, might be interested.  “I thought there were other people like me who were mums who might want to be Salesforce administrators and that we could help them work flexibly with non-profits,” she says.

The course she has set up is called Salesforce Superheroes. Trainees can either work regularly or on an ad hoc basis with her company who will provide clients or set up on their own. “We want to build our own resource base,” says Heather.

Already through word of mouth Heather has received some cvs from people interested in doing the programme. Most applicants have a business background, for instance, they have been business analysts or office managers or PAs who have worked with CRMs before. “What they have in common is that they want to work flexibly rather than in a full-time job,” says Heather.

Training programme

She is looking to train 10 people initially and all trainees will be offered work experience with charities. Heather has set up a programme with smaller charities who struggle to pay consultancy fees. She will provide trainee business analysts at a reduced rate. “It’s a win win,” says Heather. She recognises that supporting women into work requires more than just training in how to use Salesforce so work experience at two projects as well as knowledge sharing through interactive webinars and mentoring are built in. The six-month training programme costs £1,500 and Economic Change says that, after qualifying, those who take the course can expect to earn between £20-£40 per hour as a freelancer.

All the training can be done from home, but trainees can shadow an analyst if they want to.

The training programme closes on 30th October and runs from November 2016 to April 2017. Heather is keen for people who have business experience to apply. “The programme would suit people who understand business or charity processes,” she says. “Having an understanding of CRMs and the value of CRMs is also important. They need to understand the big picture and have a head for business and user dynamics.”

Heather knows only too well the issues for many working mums. She has a four year old and a three-month-old baby. As she runs her own business, she only had two weeks off when her second daughter was born and has been working three and a half days a week since September. She spends two days a week in London seeing clients and the rest of her time in Hastings. Her main role these days is business development and her long-term aim is to build a team of freelancers around her. Already she has five mums who are working remotely for her. She thinks mums are ideal for this .”Working with mums I have noticed how resourceful and empowered they are. They are happy to get on with things,” she says.

*To apply click here.

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