What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I have been an operator, a restaurant owner and involved in teaching and training within the hospitality sector for many years and latterly ran a national training company as a member of the board of directors. This company was sold and as a result I had to look for something new. An idea was born, why not set up and run another company where I am in full control of all operations. Hospitality is in the blood, I have a clear passion for the sector and certainly developing the people within it and saw starting my own business as the best way to add value to this wonderful sector.
Tell us about your business:
Pub & Bar Academy is part of the Grant James Group and is based in Wolston near Rugby in Warwickshire. We offer a wide range of Level 1 to Level 5 qualifications, bespoke courses and support from organisations such as the Institute of Leadership Management (ILM), the British Institute of Innkeeping (Bii), the Wine & Spirit Educational Trust (WSET), Highfield (H&S, Food Safety, First Aid) and Insights Discovery (employee profiling). We cover the whole of the UK with trainers / coaches covering all parts of the country.
How did you go about setting up your business?
My first port of call was to look for safe and cost effective investment opportunities for my new business. I had a meeting with my bank manager and he suggested CWRT as a possible source of investment into my new company. The application process was rigorous which in my view is re assuring and thankfully they agreed with the funding but only after a thorough and detailed business plan, cash flow forecast and P&L was produced.
What has been your biggest challenge so far with running your own business?
The biggest challenge is managing the operating capital, cash flow and time. Throughout the set up process I was conscious of the time I was spending bringing the money in and the need to balance this time with ensuring the business set up was going to plan. I have to be honest, I was around 3 months behind where my business plan said I needed to be to launch the business but was constantly re assured by my Mentor that I was behind for the right reasons namely earning money.
How did/have you overcome these challenges?
I think that when you are going through the planning stage you need to be realistic with time. I overcame the challenge by constantly reviewing and updating my business plan and cash flow forecast as and when there was any time slippage. This helped me plan expenditure more effectively and meant I didn’t run out of money.
What do you love about running your own business?
Creating something new and if I stopped for a second and reflected then I am sure I would be excited.
Are there any top tips that you would like to share with others thinking about starting or growing their own business?
Plan, be realistic with your plan, don’t be too proud to change your plan as circumstances change and work hard.