Here at Esme, we’re always celebrating business owners, but ahead of International Women’s day, we’ve teamed up with successful business woman - Diane Hutchinson, owner of Ripon Tennis Club.
We spoke to Diane to find out how she’s built her business, the obstacles she faces running a non-profit organisation and what advice she would give to other business owners or future entrepreneurs looking to jump into the business world.
The hurdles of starting a business
Starting a business can bring a lot of challenges, so seeking advice from entrepreneurs who have been in the same position is priceless and could get you on the road to success much quicker.
“I worked my way up within the management side of the sector and in the early days would take on work that perhaps wasn’t the best paid if it meant I could work alongside very experienced people to gain vital skills and knowledge.” – says Diane.
We asked Diane about the challenges she faced when starting her business and how she was able to overcome them in order to succeed:
“Right now I’m working in a non-profit organisation that has a constitution and volunteer committee members. When I first started, the club was very much steered by these volunteers, which meant it wasn't necessarily operating in the most efficient way – but appealed to those few volunteers who wanted it to function in a way that suited them as individuals. Changing people’s outlooks on how the club needed to run in order to remain financially viable was not easy, but definitely an achievement once overcome. Learning that it’s impossible to please everyone, all the time is important, but making measured decisions on what will minimise damage and optimise efficiency and long-term quality is the key to making it work.”
“There have been plenty of challenges and these will continue, but looking back I can’t really identify any because nothing is unachievable; when something seems like a hurdle, there is usually a way to overcome the problem and looking back you often realise things work out for the best.”
Passion is key!
Starting and running a business is hard work – so it’s important to be passionate about your business idea and goals in order to succeed as an entrepreneur. It’s one of the most effective motivators and one of the strongest predictors of whether an idea will lead to success.
We asked Diane what made her want to start a business in the tennis sector and whether she thinks that entrepreneurs are born or made:
“I believe that people are either that way or they’re not. Some people are constantly thinking out of the box and looking for the next opportunity, whereas others are very much content to do their job and don’t push any further than their required role. Ambition is a skill that needs to be recognised and used to a business advantage, in the same way that great people skills or computer skills are utilised.”
“Having played tennis to a performance level as a junior; I personally have a passion for tennis and general fitness, so the natural progression for me was to become a tennis coach. However, I soon realised that I wanted to move into the management side of the business.”
Tips on how to grow a business
We asked Diane what the three most important pieces of advice she would give to someone looking to grow their business based on her success so far.
1. Treat others with respect and always look after your staff and especially your customers
“Treat others how you would like to be treated yourself; it’s easy to be so driven that you forget about people, both staff and customers.”
2. Learn from the experienced
“Don‘t undervalue the opportunity to shadow and get experience, even if you do it for free in your spare time at the beginning.”
3. Always look ahead
“Keep moving forwards and never sit back and think you have reached a level – people and circumstances are always changing and businesses have to adapt to keep growing.”
Here at Esme we lend to limited companies and sole traders, so whilst we may not be able to lend to a non profit organisation we could still lend to your business. If you’re looking to expand your business or take it to the next level, here at Esme we offer online business loans from £10,000* to £150,000 that can be repaid over a 1 to 5 year period. All our business loans are unsecured and can be quickly applied for with our 10 minute application form. To get a rough idea of how much you could be paying back each month, try our business loan calculator or get an instant quote today.
* From £25,500 for Sole Traders
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