There are many reasons for starting in business and these are often very personal to the founder.
It's for this reason I decided to put into words the journey that led me to undertake the rocky road to setting up my own business.
So where did this start for me?
Throughout the course of our lives we are offered so many pearls of wisdom and pieces of advice - some great and some less so.
The best piece of advice I ever got was from my dad in my early teens which went, “If you want a decent life then you would have to work for it” and it was these simple words that stuck with me.
Heeding his advice into my teens I took on numerous casual jobs ranging from paper rounds to housekeeping and waitressing - hustling to earn spare cash where I could to spend on whatever I was interested in at the time. Naturally growing up in a seaside resort the vast majority of the jobs I had was in the hospitality sector.
My Early Career
When choosing what career to pursue I decided on sales as a means to make good money having seen many of my peers make a decent living from it.
To support me during my studies at the University of Salford I took on a couple of sales roles meaning I left with minimal debts. So on graduating, selling felt like a natural career trajectory for me to pursue.
My very first sales role after graduation was exciting and really appealed to my competitive nature which meant I performed well. Although I was having fun and got on famously with my colleagues I knew that there was little chance to progress so therefore took the decision to move to a corporate environment to get some experience within a multinational organisation.
The Corporate Career
Landing a sales position at Shell gave me a great opportunity to advance my sales career as well as affording me the chance to learn about business from some very talented people.
During my time there I got to work with a diverse client base including numerous manufacturing businesses before switching across to the automotive market. This provided some great insights into those sectors and the challenges they faced.
Although I had a lot of fun in the role, developed some great relationships and was rewarded well for doing it, I was somehow not as fulfilled as I wanted to be. I felt my sense of purpose was missing so when I had an opportunity of pursuing my dream I took it.
Subscribing to the belief that in life you don’t regret things you do but rather you regret the things you don’t do I went on to set up a pub business with my husband. It was an industry we were both passionate about given I started out in hospitality whereas my husband on the other hand grew up in various public houses across Manchester.
It was quite a transition learning to become my own boss having worked in a corporate environment where decisions would constantly require authorisation. It was something I relished doing. We worked hard to make it a success introducing a comprehensive food and event offer - working with the community to create a space they wanted to spend time in.
Over a couple of years we saw the business grow. We did so well, that we maxed out its growth and it was the right time to move on. To grow the business further would have taken significant investment on an estate we did not own so we had little chance of seeing a significant return on our investment - it didn’t make financial sense. So by the time we had left we felt reassured by the knowledge that the business was in better shape than when we found it.
Being bitten by the entrepreneurial bug I went on to pursue a venture in e-commerce which did not prove as successful as the previous business. So armed with the experience and knowledge I had accumulated in this short space of time I went back into sales, albeit as a freelancer.
This was quite an eye opener and gave me a window into how many businesses operate which led a path to what I’m doing now….
So what now?
Working in my own sales business and on behalf of other business owners I understand how driving revenue is critical to success. Everything that takes place within an organisation should align with that goal. Yet this isn’t always the case as with growth comes complexity whether that comes from the addition of stakeholders within the business to the processes they introduce. This can often result in pursuing activities that don’t contribute to the bottom line. You need the leadership to steer the business in the right direction and the appropriate tools to deliver the business growth aspirations which nicely leads to what I do now.
The business borne from this experience
A sales consultancy for manufacturers and software development companies. The cumulative experience and knowledge has been incorporated into the development and implementation of business growth programmes to share best practices and useful resources to enable many more businesses to scale and grow sustainably. This means I have been able to work with many businesses developing growth strategies to help them scale, delivering at least 10X return on investment.
I would love to hear your story as ti what made you sttart out in business so feel free to share your experiences in the comments section below.