Here follows some valuable advice from a lady who is passionate about what she does. First UP Services operates in the highly competitive market of facilities and health & safety management. Thank you Ursula for taking the time out of your busy schedule to encourage and motivate other small business owners and budding entrepeneurs!
Without further ado…
Q1: When did you start your own business and what led up to you deciding to ‘be your own boss’? What/Who motivated you? A1: First UP Services has been a work in progress for many years. Early in my career I knew that some day I would have my own business. Over the years I gained invaluable training, development, mentor ship, guidance and more importantly applied the mindset “if this was my business what would I do”
Early in 2015 the contract I was assigned to started to restructure. As head of my department I knew we would be affected, but not sure to what extent. Without a second thought, as a family we immediately started putting plans in place that if I was affected we would be ready. It was at this stage that we knew we wanted to run our own business. I was confident I had the skills and discipline to pursue what I really wanted, and eventually in October 2015 I was retrenched and ready to run our own business.
Q2: What were your fears when starting out and how did you overcome them? A2: My biggest fear was not having a regular income at the end of each month and still is, but this is what drives us to get out there and make a difference.
Q3: Name a big success while in business that motivated you to keep going. A3: Referrals are huge and speaks volumes about your work and you as a person. I have done very little marketing but word of mouth has been amazing. Self belief is also very critical.
Q4: Name the worst that has happened to date and how you got ‘back on track’. A4: That is a difficult one to answer because I don’t view anything as a setback. Everything happens for a reason and I apply the mindset “what have I learned” or “it didn’t happen for a reason” so move on swiftly. I have the ability to move on very quickly and look for new opportunities so perhaps that is the way I address “getting back on track”
Q5: What are the biggest issues you find currently running your own business? A5: Having to do everything yourself at this stage. Resources cost money and you have to be sure it is necessary, long term and you’ll be able to meet monthly salary bill.
Q6: Did you have a proper business plan when just starting out or only an idea with huge amounts of motivation? Or a combination of both? A6: A combination of both, but I have always had a business mind. Most of what I apply in my business today I’ve tried and tested it out during my career. However, from where I started in 2015 the business has evolved immensely and I follow opportunities as they present themselves. My reading pleasure by far are business books, and this is how it has been from early in my career.
Q7: How did you launch your business when just starting out and how do you market your business currently? A7: By word of mouth and through great friends, colleagues and even ex clients.
Develop and hone a 60 second pitch of what you do and the difference you can make and keep on updating it – I do this weekly.
Q8: If you could give 5 tips to someone contemplating starting their own business of what they should do and look out for, what would they be? A8: Know your product/service and believe in what you are selling. Love what you do, and it will shine through every conversation. Be yourself! Keep your word and deliver on time, every time. March to the beat of your own drum. Have fun, even when it gets difficult!
Q9: Name 5 things to the next entrepreneur that they should NOT do, ever. A9: Question 8 in reverse!
Q10: If you had the opportunity to do it all over again, what would you do differently? A10: Thankfully nothing at this stage, I’m comfortable in the way the business has developed and is evolving.
Q11: Lastly, send out an encouraging message to the next entrepreneur. A11: March to the beat of your OWN drum!