Jurga Zilinskiene answers your questions with Stylist Magazine

Today Translations is delighted to announce that this Friday (10/02/2012), Jurga Zilinskiene the founder of our leading international translation agency, will be the special guest for the Stylist magazine’s Lunchtime Masterclass. She will be joining stylist.co.uk for a live web chat at 1pm tomorrow!

Jurga originally established Today Translations in East London in 2001, with funds saved from previous business ventures. Eleven years on, Today Translations manages an international network of over 2,600 linguists, who translate, interpret, proof-read and edit in over 200 languages and dialects, including Arabic, German, Russian, Chinese and even Glaswegian.

The success she has had with Today Translations has lead to interviews with BBC London News andSTV. Jurga’s business and entrepreneurial knowledge is held in great esteem and she often participates in many business conferences. A summary in City AM described her as: “… one hell of a formidable businesswoman … a Lithuanian-born cross between Richard Branson and Margaret Thatcher … combined perhaps with shades of Warren Buffett.”

Jurga is also an eloquent spokeswoman for entrepreneurs and small businesses. She has been involved in various programmes championing SMEs. Her latest initiative, concerning building a sustainable and fair supply chain to help SMEs supply to large companies in the City, was kicked off with a roundtable discussion hosted by Ernst & Young.

Are you a small business owner in need of tips and advice? Or perhaps you’re interested in expanding your business internationally but aren’t sure how? Join the discussion here: http://www.stylist.co.uk/stylist-network/lunchtime-masterclass/jurga-zilinskiene at 1pm tomorrow (Friday 10th February 2012).

There was a terrific turnout for Jurga’s Lunchtime Masterclass. You can see a transcript of the questions asked and answered below.

John Nicholas – 13:03 GMT – ‘Client Speak’

‘Hello Jurga – thank you for sharing your knowledge… My question is… Your business, like my own, touches many fields of business and industry and being able to “talk their speak” is sometimes critical to imbue client confidence and win their business. Have you had to develop a technique to be able to speak in any environment, or do you simply do a crash course in their industry/environment speak?’

‘That’s an excellent question, John. It’s an issue that many people fail to appreciate when pitching for new business in a sector that isn’t their specialist area. My experience is to do your research which, yes, is a sort of crash course. Short of becoming an expert yourself, a good step is to spend time with contacts who have expertise in that field or recruit that skill into your team. I do both of these and have some great talent in-house with extensive and diverse knowledge. This has paid off by helping us to extend our reach into new sectors and overseas markets.’

Emma – 13:03 GMT – ‘Business Tips’

‘What in your opinion are the makings of a fantastic businesswoman? Is there anything that makes one person stand out against another? thanks’

‘Was it Margaret Thatcher or Richard Branson who said, “If you want to know how to do something, ask a man. If you want it done, ask a woman”? Now, seriously, what makes one businessperson stand out from another is a person’s ability to get things done; and to do this effectively and promptly without hiding behind excuses for failure.’

Leoni – 13:05 GMT – ‘Style-lover’

‘Hi Jurga I’m interested – what are your opinions on fashion? what do you love to wear and what are your style no-nos?! thank you.’

‘Hi Leoni, have you planted this question because you know about my love affair with tweed and British handmade bespoke tailoring? I’m fortunate at the moment that for the first time in 50 years my look is actually in fashion. I don’t think British tailoring ever goes out of fashion but it is tricky finding a master tailor who has the age-old skills to match classic lines with the female form and not make one look like an extra from the Great Gatsby – a real style no-no! Away from the City, classic Chanel and Ralph Lauren are unbeatable.’

Simon Duffy – 13:07 GMT – ‘Language’

‘Hi Jurga, I set up a skincare business with a friend selling male skincare products in the UK. meetthebulldog.com. We have started to export overseas now. Being British is part of our story so I wondered whether you think we should keep as much of our text in English (for brand reasons?) or whether it would be better for us to be fully local language wherever we launch? Thank you, Simon’

‘Great question, Simon. English may be the language of business, but it isn’t the common language of the world’s fastest growing online consumer base. Englishmen are clearly being won over to the merits of looking after ones skin, but their change in habit will soon be overshadowed by a growing number of beautiful people overseas. You may be interested to know that 75% of the world’s population doesn’t speak a word of English and communicating in their language opens up a huge market for you. So you know, in the past decade alone, Chinese online traffic increased by 1,300%, Russian by 1,900% and Arabic rose by a staggering 2,500%; while English saw a modest increase of 300%. Simple advice, translate your website and localise your brand for the markets – professionally. What works in the UK may not work in China or elsewhere. Give my team a call.’

Alix – 13:08 GMT – ‘Obtaining Funding’

‘Hi Jurga, How do you feel about paying to be put in touch with investors via Dragon’s Den style matchmaking? Is it a necessary outlay, or are there better ways of finding funding for a business idea? Thanks!’

‘Hi Alix, I love the whole Dragon’s Den sketch. It’s worked wonders not only for helping budding entrepreneurs, but for getting people interested in the whole idea of being in business and what it means. When it comes to raising funding don’t mix this up with Dragon’s Den type of advice. Advice is available in many forms and so is funding. There are advisors out there who may not be in the best position to advise, so be wary. The best way to get funding is by speaking to your bank, accountant or a trustworthy friend in business who raised funds in the past.’

David Pack – 13:09 GMT – ‘Networking’

‘Hi Jurga, You’re a top notch networker! What are your networking tips for other small businesses or potential entrepreneurs?’

‘Hi David, thank you! Networking is not about eating sausage rolls and canapés. I love meeting people and am curious to find out what they do. My advice is to think of it as speed dating, but you’re not going on looks or personality, instead you are thinking of mutual business opportunities!’

Monica Montero – 13:19 GMT – ‘International Trade’

‘What is your strategy when approaching different international markets?

‘When approaching different countries, I first talk to our trusted contacts on the ground. I always have a specific set of questions that will give me a feel for the market. I find the UKTI are excellent at taking things further. When it comes to selling, local language is paramount.’

Giuseppe D’Anna – 13:30 GMT – ‘Make Every Word Count’

‘Hello Jurga Language is at the root of how we communicate. Do you think there is often too much waffle on company websites and corporate literature? What, in your opinion, should be done to ensure we make every word? Thank you for the excellent service you have provided.’

‘Thanks for your kind comments, Giuseppe. It is increasingly tricky to get through the waffle in any language. You should take the view that it is not about the quantity, but the quality when it comes to communicating with your customer abroad. It does help to have professionals on board to help you out.’

‘Lessons Learnt, Pitfalls and Starting Afresh

Running a business is never easy. Be vigilant when appointing advisors and don’t be afraid to ask awkward questions. Being a Lithuanian in the UK was never a problem for me so it shouldn’t stop you from achieving your goals.’