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10 years of Mozer. Here’s what’s happened…and a rare insight into Alison’s personal life!

27 September 2023

Starting a business. Getting my first client. Moving back to Yorkshire. Landing some retainers. Running a world-class bid. Working 16-hour days. Growing the team. Having a baby. Making some life-long friends. And planning for the next 10 years.

I had just turned 30. I’d thrown myself into my job at a national property company and climbed the ranks from a Bid Exec to a Director and Head of Bids in just three years. And I’d built a fee earning arm to the team where we helped clients to win bids with the guarantee of the downstream work.

First triumph 🏆:Following an intro from Thomas Phillips, we’d helped Redrow bid for a £1.2b scheme in North London and won. A £100k fee for my company. A teeny tiny bonus for me.

The itch 💡: Game changer. Decision made. Go. Time to start my own business.

Naming the business

I had all the gear, but no idea. How do I set up a company? How do I manage my accounts? What else do you do to run a business? I hadn’t even thought of a name.

The birth of Mozer 🍼: Zalecki wouldn’t cut it for a web search. I’d need to spell it out every time. So, I decided on my family name on my maternal side. After my Nana, Irena Mozer. A strong-willed, fiercely independent Polish woman.

Getting some work

Mozer’s first gig 🤝: Redrow was my first client. Thanks to Philip Chadda, Jack Widdup, Giles Martin, Matthew Lees and later Tom Pearson, I got a regular stream of work. And as people left and went to other businesses, and told their industry colleagues about Mozer, the pipeline grew. After 12 months I was ready to go full time.

Moving back to Yorkshire

Mozer goes Northern 🚂: So, I didn’t need to live in London anymore. I went back home to Yorkshire and jumped on the LNER down to London every two weeks. I bought tickets so far in advance they were only £10 each way and Chris Lewin would always be on hand to sort my tickets out when I messed up and booked the wrong days!

Payment in chips 🍟: My friend Charlotte Allsop used to put me up in her flat in West Hampstead for the cost of a couple of drinks and fish n chips from the local Nautilaus Chip Shop. Keeping the budget tight made it possible for me to go and see clients and attend networking events to build the business.

Landing some retainers

It was meant to be : Then after going on one failed date with Adam Scott-Avisat Montagu Evans, he recommended me to his company, and I landed a three-year retainer. We won some fantastic bids in that time, and it was the steady income I needed to be able to grow. And it is here I met the lovely Romy Edison, a client, turned good friend, turned landlady for my more recent regular trips to London. We have since gone on to work on retainers for Foster + Partners, Unite Students, Gerald Eve, and Savills.

Working for some great clients

A neverending story 📈: After just a few short years, I had a loyal group of clients that just kept growing. The work kept coming. And just when I would look at the pipeline and worry that there was nothing new coming in, two emails and four calls would arrive. It always happened. And still does now.


Running a world-class bid

MIPIM adventures 🛥️: I knew I needed to get out to MIPIM and mingle with my clients and others in the industry. A working holiday, but one that gave me some of my best friends. Solmaz Zeidi being one of them. It’s like going on holiday with 150 of my mates, but balancing bids and banter.

Lindsey Fallon invited me to a lunch at Café Roma and sat me opposite Garry Rowlands at AFL Architects. I could hardly chat to him. I had a bid deadline coming up and, with my laptop propped on my knee messaging the graphic designers with one hand, and eating with the other, Garry must have thought I was the rudest multi-tasker he had ever clapped eyes on!

Then came the big one 🌎: A few months later, Gary and John Roberts put Mozerin front of Bugra Cem Imamogullari at the Turkish Football Federation and signed us up to run and write their bid for UEFA EUROS 2024. What the ****?!?!?! And what a bid!

Working 16-hour days

Slogging for results 🤹🏼‍♀️: I had the help of some freelancers at this point to juggle all the bid deadlines and keep my clients happy. It would be some time before I was confident enough to put anyone on the payroll. I worked 16-hour days, seven days a week for almost eight years.

Married to the business 💍: You have to love what you do to put this much time and effort into anything. And I did love it. But it came at a cost to my personal life.

Making some changes

The commitment 👰🏻‍♀️: I needed to have a real think about the shape of the business, the direction I wanted to take it, and what I wanted from my personal life.

A weight off 🏋🏻♀️: In the last three years, I brought Teneeka Addelle James into the Team to coordinate the bids. She takes such a load off us all by summarising the brief and deliverables, producing our programmes, setting up meetings, writing down and chasing the actions. Nothing and no one escapes her. Then came Emily Stevenson, who’s stormed it in the last year, and I’m pleased to say I’ve promoted her to the Team Leader as of this October. She’s been everything I needed to be able to take a few steps back and get some balance back in my life. It’s thanks to Pippa Birch CPP. CAP. APMP MIAT MCIHT and Martin Smith and their great advice that I’ve been able to expand and grow.

Parenting and running a business

Mozer gets a newbie 👶🏽: So not many people know that I had a kid 12 months ago. Holding most meetings on Teams meant it escaped attention, and it was a lot of fun going to networking events where people I knew pointed at my belly with surprise and I’d look very offended and tell them I wasn’t pregnant ( Martyn Howie, and Charlotte Glover 😂).

Most of you won’t be surprised to know that I drove myself to hospital at 03:30 in the morning, sent emails from the delivery room whilst labouring, and checked in with the team to make sure they could pick up my meetings that day. I gave birth to Albert John Aftab Zalecki late that afternoon, and he soon found a good daily sleeping spot on my knee those first few weeks whilst I joined Teams meetings!

Growing the business

Three became four 👭👭: Then Charlotte Cook joined us three months ago and is running with some big bids and best practice projects with confidence and independence.

New year new Mozer 💁🏻♀️: We’ve refreshed the website and restructured the business. We are now Mozer Group Ltd. Under this umbrella is Mozer Consulting (running and writing winning bids) and Mozer Training (developing our client’s skills at writing, running, and building the strategy for winning bids as well as preparing for and delivering pitches and presentations).

Partners in crime 💼: We have partnered with Mike Harris at Greengage Environmental Ltd for ESG, Andy Gawin Warby (FRSA) and Oliver KemptonEnvoy Partnership for Social Value, and John Witt at Stotles for tracking and selecting public sector tender opportunities. And our wonderful graphic designers Rafael Teixeira and Martin Dieguez at Wedidit Creative who have been with Mozer since day 1. They have designed both websites, all our materials, our training programmes, and most importantly our client’s bids. They are like family.

A helping hand ✍🏼: And we have the help of Kim Engelstad, Richard James, and Janine Newton for bids where we are under resourced or conflicted and they each bring their own experience and knowledge to the projects from within the industry.

Looking to the next 10 years

So, a lot has changed in the last 10 years. We’ve grown, we’re well-known in the property industry, we have some fantastic clients from local SMEs to global brands and won some fantastic bids. Google Kings Cross, Redbull London HQ, John Lewis Planning, Crown Commercial Services GPA, and Facebook Dublin Security. Dan Brady alone gives us and intros us to enough bids to last the year!

I’ve been able to take my foot off the pedal and let my team take on more responsibility, which has proven essential when nursery call part way through the day asking me to pick my son up when I have three meetings in the diary and need someone to step in! I’ve also met some wonderful people through work that are always looking out for me too and checking in every now and then Wesley Ankrah, Jeremy Brim CP APMP, and Sarah Bruce.

So, whilst it’s still full on in every direction, it all seems to be working, and we keep #winning.

To everyone who has been part of our journey so far and has helped to make Mozer what it is today; clients, consultants, associates, employees, and friends…thank you ❤️🏆.