Meet the team

Meet the team

Working together: meet the people behind Essential Business

Julie Stanford

Director, Essential Business

juliestanford_teamJulie is the founder and creator of the Essential Business range of guides, workbooks and courses. She not only had the original idea, but also designed The Essential Business Guide, as well as our other publications. Julie has run her own businesses since 1981 when she built her own successful graphic design company. She founded Essential Business in 2002.

An Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship and a Fellow of the RSA, Julie is also past Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Brighton and Emerita President of the Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce. In 2016 she was awarded an Honorary MA by the University of Brighton Business School for her work with businesses in Brighton & Hove and with the university.

Julie manages the publishing, production and customer liaison aspects of Essential Business. For more information about bespoke design and publishing, please contact Julie directly.


Twitter-new  Follow @JulieStanford on Twitter    

LinkedIn-new  Find out more about Julie on  LinkedIn


Marianne Whitfield

Director, Essential Business; Managing Director, Cobweb Information

marianne_teamOver the past 15 years, Marianne has worked with hundreds of corporate, public sector and professional clients to create and develop bespoke information solutions for their small and micro-business customers. She has a keen understanding the realities, pitfalls and day-to-day frustrations of running a business, but is also aware of the pride, fun and satisfaction of getting things right.

Marianne manages the commercial aspects of Essential Business. If you are interested in finding out more about volume pricing discounts and partnership opportunities, please contact Marianne directly.


Twitter-new  Follow @MarianneW_ on Twitter 

LinkedIn-new  Find out more about Marianne on LinkedIn


James Pike


jamespike_teamJames was chosen to provide the photographs for The Essential Business Guide due to his rare ability to make ordinary people look extraordinary. The majority of images in the book are by James – great photos of real business people. You can also see some of his photography on this website (see below).

Talking of photography…
The majority of the photographs used throughout this website are taken by James and feature real businesses. Our thanks to Alexanders Uphosterers, Beads Unlimited, Cellular Solutions, FDM Group, The Home Catery, Hugo Morris Bespoke, Rise Sales Development, Vine Resources and Zippy Engineering for allowing us to use these pictures of them going about their daily business.


Jane Priddis

Marketing Consultant

janepriddis_teamJane wrote the Marketing section of The Essential Business Guide and a large part of Planning and Starting Your Business. She is a marketing consultant expert and consultant and runs her own consultancy business, PlusOne. She is also a Senior Lecturer the University of Brighton, teaching retail management, consumer psychology, international marketing and strategy to MBA and final year students.


Anna McGrail

Editorial Consultant

annemcgrail_teamAnna is responsible for shaping the content of The Essential Business Guide. Anna has many years of editorial experience in publishing, both as a freelance and a managing editor, she has started and run a highly successful company, and is the author of several books.



Paul Williams

Graphic Designer

paulwilliams_teamPaul is a freelance graphic designer who works mainly in the design for print field, undertaking anything from advertising to complete corporate identity solutions. Paul worked with Julie on the original Essential Business brand as well as the look and feel of the publications.