You know how it is. You carry on with your daily routines, seemingly alert to everything around you and feeling good about it all, safe in the knowledge that you are in equilibrium with your world.  Then somebody says something quite innocuous, but it causes a reaction, and not necessarily right away. You realise you have been missing something. Suddenly there is a hole that you had not seen and you have to explore what lies beyond that hole. Threat or opportunity?

What they said was “Shetland”.

We may not be at the forefront of technology when it comes to accountants, but I like to think that we are up there or thereabouts and making the most of opportunities and the available resources to enhance our business and the wellbeing of our clients. When she said “Shetland” I realised we were missing a trick, had overlooked an important opportunity.

The person who said “Shetland” is Donna Smith and her company is Thystle Limited. For many years Donna worked for larger organisations and specialised in sorting out systems and making them as efficient as possible. Now she does that for her own clients and helps small to medium sized businesses to streamline their administrative processes, something which seems to be needed in these days of rapid technological change. As she says, she wants her clients to be able to say “Thystle do nicely”.

Anyway, the point here is that Donna is based in Inverness. Before Covid she would go out to clients’ premises and work with them on their systems and implementing the changes. Clearly the current restrictions have put the brakes on that so she has moved online, like so many others. She has been working with a client in Shetland. She has therefore transformed her business from an Inverness business into something that basically can operate anywhere. She said “Shetland” and a penny dropped in my own mind. Cannot travel, then get on to Zoom or Teams and start looking farther afield for business.

We already use Zoom extensively and regularly have meetings as far away as Englandshire, but it is a whole new way of thinking to look after clients online in this way as a matter of course. I have had meetings with clients in places like Skye and Edinburgh on occasion but how can we now make this a core part of our activities. And all this came from Donna saying “Shetland”.

The other woman that I will mention is Clare Humphries. Clare was in HR but now operates her own business “Will to Win”. Like Donna, think Inverness. But in Clare’s case she operates and has operated for some time online with clients basically from anywhere in the world. She is a personal and professional development coach and I know of a number of business owners who have benefitted from her coaching. I know, when you hear “personal development” you think New Age Mumbo Jumbo, but I can almost guarantee that the people she has coached, who I know, will be more profitable for the experience.

Anyway, the point here is that these two women are building businesses that are drawing clients from a distance and are not reliant purely on the local trade. We have all seen the growth in online shopping and the demise of bricks and mortar shops. There is a new wave coming and that is in delivery of online services. Time to ride that wave.

I am not on commission but if you want to contact either Donna or Clare, their contact details are below:


Donna Smith

Thystle Limited

07786 918215

Clare Humphries

Personal & Professional Development

07765 056440



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