School in Bath followed by university, took me on a path to….well, anything I wanted. One thing I knew I didn’t want was to work in the family business! A bakery started by my parents when I was 5 and I lived through sacks of flour up the stairs and a fridge full of butter. I went away and got a “proper job” selling electric bikes around the UK to cycle and mobility shops, throwing me in at the deep end to sell to retailers. After a while I realised that sales was a great career and that the bakery was in a pivotal moment for growth when I joined fully.
What skills can you bring as a mentor?
Having worked in the family business for the last 14 years I have learnt many wide-ranging business skills – from growth and development through to the day to day running and people management. I believe that great communication and networking are key, as well as meeting customers face to face to talk through their challenges and to meet needs. I have experience in a wide range of markets – retail, gift and foodservice. Helping along the journey to achieve aims and goals. (I can even help with warehousing and packing and I also make a mean cup of tea!)
What do you think makes the difference between a good business and a brilliant business?
Going for it! Rather than the “what if I do that and it goes wrong?” think more along the along the lines of “what if we don’t do that?”. Many times some proactive decision making is needed (not rushed) to enable to the business to move onto the next stage. A plan is of course important, but so too is seizing the opportunity.
If you had time again, what would you do differently?
Wishing I’d spoken to and networked with all sorts of people earlier than I did. Meeting other business people, from any type of business, and learning from them is crucial.