At Natural HR, we’re preparing for our favourite event of the year – CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition! I cannot describe how excited I feel for this event, even though I’ll be up at the crack of dawn and standing up for 2-days to showcase our HR software, I love it…in fact I’m in my element!

Rather than post a boring and generic exhibitor blogpost in the hope that you’ll visit our stand (it’s G54) and pick up some freebies, I thought I’d share what it is about this event that’s so special to me personally and our journey at Natural HR.

I first exhibited at CIPD ACE in 2015, at the back of the hall on a small stand with panels that Jason and I literally velcroed to the shell only stand ourselves. We drove for 7 hours to get to the venue with everything loaded into the boot of our car.

CIPD ACE 2015

The stand was…functional!

The night before the event, I looked around the exhibition hall and felt rather inadequate as huge stands we’re being put up around us by teams of workmen in high-vis jackets and not a fellow exhibitor in sight.

Nevertheless, it was a huge leap to take as our first ever exhibition and I was going to make the most of it.

As it happened, we had a great show – we won new customers and turned away some of the biggest high street names who came to talk to us about buying our HR software. Whilst they were much too large for us their interest was a great validation of our message and value proposition.

Added to that, our now Chairman was also there with another of his portfolio companies and our presence and passion along with the level of interest he saw convinced him he wanted to get involved and we now are thrilled to have him as part of the team.

Our continued growth, combined with being VC backed meant that last year I turned up to the exhibition hall to meet David Charnley and his awesome team at LoveExpo putting together our shiny new (stress free!) stand. Not at the back of the hall, but in prime HR tech space, I felt Natural HR had arrived!

I could hardly sleep with excitement the night before CIPD ACE 2016 and enthusiasm is infectious as with just the 3 of us on the stand we won the Best Stand Award. To be clear, this award is not for the shiniest stand nor the biggest as, whilst our glossy stand does look brilliant, there were much bigger stands than us. The award is all about the team and service delivered – how friendly we were, how approachable and how we engaged people who came to talk to us.

CIPD ACE 2016 Best Stand

If you’re attending this week’s event, please stop by and grab some sweets (or fruit) and say hello – we would love to chat whether you are interested in HR software or not.

Date: 8th and 9th November 2017
Venue: Manchester Central
Stand: Natural HR – G54
Tickets available at: https://events.cipd.co.uk/events/annual/ 

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Sarah Dowzell, Assoc CIPD
COO & Co-founder at Natural HR
Sarah first became an employer in the cleaning industry at the age of 21. She holds a First Class Honours Degree in Business Studies and Associate CIPD membership. Sarah is passionate about HR, Entrepreneurship and encouraging other women in business.