Business Spotlight -pHReedom HR Ltd

Their logo is a swan chosen because it represents many of the values they hold . The Swan is sacred and protected, and Annie and Andrew aim to reflect this in their attitude towards both their own business and the clients they work with – helping protect an organisation that means a lot to the people involved.

Based in Crieff, Perthshire Annie and Andrew are well versed in the specialised arts of HR. Having previously operated another HR business, their newest HR venture is barely 6 months old, but is already making a huge impact and securing some great companies for its portfolio.

To find out more, we put a few questions to Annie and Andrew:

Business owner: Annie and Andrew Leaver

Date business started: 11th May 2015

Business location: 25 King Street, Creiff, PH7 3AX 

Business tel: 07834 477165 



annie1. What did you do before you started your business?

Andrew was the HR Services Manager at Gleneagles and I was a freelance HR Consultant. We also had a previous HR Company called Black and White HR Solutions (International) Ltd, which we sold in 2008. Before that I was the HR Director at Crieff Hydro. 

2. What drew you towards your field of business? 

We are both HR and Recruitment Specialists (Annie specialising in HR and Andrew in Recruitment) and we are very passionate about it. 

Annie has worked in HR for over 27 years, and Andrew in Hotel Operations and laterly HR - but with a Recruitment bias ever since he left college in 1987.

3. What hurdles and challenges have you faced in getting to the stage you are currently at?

Utility companies have been our biggest Achilles heel and have impeded the smooth running of our business - and it is still not resolved! 

In addition we have had to change banks on account of it reneging on their original terms. It has however turned to our favour as the interest rates and terms are now better at our new bank than the first time we went to talk to them. However, switching isn’t quite as smooth as a guest on Radio 4’s Today programme make out. It is very stressful and hugely frustrating not to mention time consuming!

Planning permission to convert the retail premises we own in Crieff took us to the wire: We only got permission to turn it into an office the day before we opened!

4. How has Elevator and Business Gateway helped you and your business on its journey?

One key issue they have helped with is the Digital Funding which we are in the process of completing and applying for. 

Questions about Modern Apprenticeships and training through SDS have been answered.

5. Since starting your business, if you could have done one thing differently, what would that be?

We had an Implementation Plan and Critical Path which we followed meticulously - so this is hard to answer because we crossed our T’s and doted our i’s. All our learning was done the first time around (although Annie is such a planner she had an Implementation Plan first time round) when we had our previous business! There isn’t anything that springs to mind. Sorry!

6. What aspect of your business have you taken the most pride in since you started?

The Brand. We absolutely love it, live by it and we are so proud of it. Feedback has been tremendous. In the main everyone loves it and we’ve had tremendous feedback from the brochure.

7. Do you have any entertaining stories or experiences since starting your business, unexpected events, or interesting developments?

Following a brief conversation with a fellow business person in Crieff, I had a lightbulb moment when I got back to the office and came up with a Women in Business or Simply Women idea. 

I had written to approximately 25 women in Crieff and had a very positive response. Our Integral meeting is in November 2015. The event was free of charge and will not require compulsory 1 minute speeches or referrals. 

Had I not spoken to Susan who was expressing a view about something I wouldn’t have thought about it and how it can help people with the conundrum she had.

8. Has the business recently secured significant orders, expanded its premises, taken on new staff, received funding, produced something unique, increased exports, etc.?

We have just won several new clients in London, the North East and Ireland to mention but a few.

We were so excited and truly delighted to have been awarded some training work with the Royal Yacht Britannia - it was so wonderful going on board and meeting the HR Manager Vicki and Events Manager Andrew. They were both so respectful and endearing to our skills, knowledge and our brand, which was so humbling.

Our Recruitment package and service is totally unique; so unique we are in the process of copywriting and investigating the possibility of trademarking the brand. 

We are ahead of budget year to date in our second quarter of trading so we have just appointed a Law Graduate and an experienced resourcing Partner as our Customer Services Manager.

9. What do you love about running your business? Or the sector you work in?

The real diversity of the work we do, no two days are the same. We are truly passionate about HR adding value to every business we work with including our own so we inspect what we expect.

We are totally people centric. We love helping our customers and meeting potential new clients, and then converting them to become part of the pHReedom community (our mission statement is: harmonious relationships create freedom). We love sorting out their problems and enhancing their businesses. We also absolutely love the business planning and strategic elements of running the company.

Being truly passionate and people centric is 100% who we are. We all live by our values and we are so proud of the brand we have developed.

Andrew and I have unique chemistry that simply works! We bring different things to the table: he is incredibly creative and I am logical, very disciplined and organized. 

Screen Shot 2015 10 09 at 12.03.3010. What plans do you have for the future of your business?

We have just applied for some Digital Funding for a Candidate Tracking System as this will enhance our capability in the resourcing arena, improve search engine optimisation and provide a streamlined approach to candidate source and select.

We have set aside a new Think Tank away session on 25th and 26th October so that we can establish the Vision for the next 10 years. We have our Mission Statement and year 1 Business Plan but we now need to set our Key Performance Indicators, Growth Strategy and anticipated turnover.

We have just secured some SDS funding for training, so our Administrator has just started an HR long distance course, and I am going to do a mediation qualification in January 2016.

Oh and we are planning to write a book on HR and Recruitment titled What they Don’t Tell you at University!


If you’ve got a business or idea that can fill a service gap or gap in the market, then Elevator & Business Gateway can help.

From a wide range of free workshops, through to supporting you every step of your journey, Elevator & Business Gateway can help you launch your business or service with confidence.

Contact your local office now to find out more:

Perth: 01738 448310,

Dundee: 01382 443400,

Aberdeen City & Shire: 01224 289700,



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