1.Why did you start your own business?
I like the freedom that it brings. A job that required me to appear at a specific location and sit at a desk for 8 hours – most days while achieving nothing – did not appeal. I don’t mind working hard, but when there is nothing to do then I find that there is nothing more soul-destroying than sitting still thinking of all the other things you could be doing instead!
2. What are the hours that you work?
It depends very much on the day and the season. My accounting business is very busy over SARS due dates and then I can work for 11 hours a day, 7 days a week. During quieter times I can work as little as 3 hours a day.
3. How many people work in your business?
The accounting business employees two part-time ladies, I am hoping to make the one fulltime very soon – she is fantastic and I would love to grow her too.
The food delivery service employs one fulltime lady, one part-time gentleman and we have a driver on contract. Myself and my partner pretty much work fulltime for it too 🙂
4. What are the goals for your business?
I have always had one goal for both businesses: make other people’s lives better. I don’t mind if the businesses grow huge or stay small, I just don’t ever want to lose sight of what is important!
5. How do you handle pressure?
I just put my head down and keep going. “This too shall pass” gets me through a lot of stressful days! Exercise does help when I make the time for it, but I am bad at making time for it. My husband is also incredibly supportive and if I am feeling like something is too much to take, then I go cry on his shoulder a little – he reminds me how strong I am that I am stronger than I feel and sends me back to work feeling better!
6. How would a man run your business differently?
I think he would pay less personal attention to the clients and the staff. I am always constantly aware that my customers are real people. What I do affects their lives and I want to have a good affect. I think sometimes I care too much and it increases my stress levels, men are better at switching off, but my personal touch is what keeps my customers happy.
7. Would you ever go and work for a boss again?
If I had no choice I guess I would, but for as long as there is a choice, no!
8. Do you ever take work home with you?
Everyday. I do try not to though
9. What do you do to relax?
I love reading, and I love the bush. I also love puzzles, so spending some quiet time in the bush with a good book or a puzzle book makes me very happy!
10. What would you like to know more about to run your business better?
Not really sure. I dont think you can ever know enough of any one subject so I constantly try and learn more about everything I can, but I can’t think of one thing specifically.
11. What would you do differently if you had the chance?
When I was trying to grow the business I said yes to too many things and overloaded myself. I would recognise my limitations and say no more often.
12. Did you have to borrow money and if yes what route did you follow?
No, my first business, the accounting business isn’t really one that requires capital so it was easy to start up without any. I was lucky to start with two clients, so I had some income and I could limp along until my customer base grew.
The second business has basically been funded by my first business and my partner’s family 🙂 but we didn’t go the formal route of getting funding.
13. What satisfaction do you get from running your own business?
Freedom is very important to me, having my own business gives me tremendous freedom. I am in charge of my own life and it is very satisfactory. I also like knowing that I make a difference to others – a small difference, but its still a difference!
14. What makes your business successful?
I think for both businesses the answer is the same: we care. People often complain about getting bad service and I think it just boils down to companies (and owners) not caring. If you truly care about people then you make an effort to make sure they get value and go away with a smile.
15. What form of marketing do you use?
Word of mouth is still the most effective of all marketing avenues! But I have used print advertising and social media too. They all work a little.
16. Do you have a favourite mantra or quote that keeps you going in tough times?
“This too shall pass!”