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With an international clientele, Clare Fenwick’s executive search business often finds her in conversations with candidates and customers halfway round the globe.

And as Chief Executive and founder of the Hartlepool-based company she says digital tools are an impressive aid to running her business efficiently.

She said: “We specialise in identifying, sourcing and hiring for commercial, project and technical / engineering roles for the oil and gas, process (chemical and petrochemical) and renewable energy sectors internationally.

“That means we’re often talking to customers, potential candidates and partners in different countries where there’s no prospect that we can meet face to face – so we use Skype for online video meetings and interviews.”

As a busy executive, Clare also uses Skype to save time closer to home.

“I’m using it more and more to save me having to travel to meetings,” she said. “After all, your meeting might only be half an hour away, but that’s still an hour taken unnecessarily out of your day.”

Clare set up Watson Lily in 2013, several years after returning to the UK after the death of her father. A business mentor, she spotted a gap in the market when it came to sector-specific executive search and consulting services – and because her father had worked in the oil and gas sector as well as the iconic ICI sites across the region, found she already had a wealth of knowledge about the sector.

“I suppose the business is a salute to my Dad, really,” she said. It’s a salute that has paid off – Watson Lily is now a leading executive search company in its field, and taps into the wealth of industrial experience in the North East.

“North East people work across the globe because of their skills,” she said. “It’s surprising how often I’ll ring someone in Houston, Texas or Singapore, and they turn out to be from Teesside…”

The Watson Lily website, while already attractive, is about to undergo a revamp.

“Our website is like a brochure for our company that people will check to see our credentials and find out more about Watson Lily,” she said.

Clare believes the secret of success in using digital tools to boost your business is to pick and choose carefully.

“Some people look at what’s available – Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter – and feel absolutely overwhelmed because they think they have to have everything,” she said.

“That’s just not the case. It’s important for people to think carefully about digital tools and decide what will work best for them. For instance, we use LinkedIn because it’s a business networking tool, but Facebook wouldn’t be right for Watson Lily at all.

“Another thing that’s important is just to have a go. You don’t have to be perfect – just get out there, take advantage of workshops and training that are available, and give it a try. Your business will benefit.”