It’s been a little more than 2 years since I’ve blogged on this site, partly due to how busy we have been but also due to how hard it was going to be to write this particular entry.
I felt it was important to start again in the hope that sharing some of my experiences as a woman and a mum in a very male-orientated business might help someone else in the same position as me.
Let me start again by telling you what has led to me being one of the few females in Glasgow running a second-hand car showroom.
As many of you already know I began working for my father’s business ten years ago and love what I do.
I worked closely alongside my father for many years and helped to build our family business. For those who knew my dad they will tell you this business was everything to him and he had installed this value and drive in me.
Our business was an extension of our family. However, things changed when on Christmas Day 2017 my dad passed away suddenly from a heart attack.
It was the most surreal and terrifying thing to have ever happened to my family.
The man who myself, my mum and brother relied on for so many things had gone. I felt our safety net had been ripped from us.
In that moment I felt that was it, with him the business would go and how could I possibly do this without him?
But as soon as I had thought this something else took over and I went to a sort of auto-pilot. Each day brought more problems to overcome within the business.
I did this one by one, I decided to make this a success, as I couldn’t let his life’s work go with him.
Also, it was to support our family as I knew my dad would want me to make sure mum would always be ok.
If someone would have asked me a few years back if I would be strong enough to do what I have done over the past nineteen months, I would have said most definitely not.
But I have come to know over the years – and without realising – that my dad had taught me everything I needed to know.
My other major driving force is my four-year-old daughter.
I think if it wasn’t for her, I would not have had the same determination – not just for financial security but also to be the best example I can be for her and show her anything is possible if you work hard and have a positive attitude.
Well, what a nineteen months it has been.
Let me explain – when dad passed, he was a sole trader, so legally the business went with him.
This meant that mum and I would have to start a whole new business from scratch. How we manged this just days after losing my dad I will never know – but as I have said before something else just took over, at work I would get on with things with a drive I had never had before.
Then I’d go home and grieve.
It took around three months of hard work and overcoming daily problems before we had the new business up and running properly again and aside from my daughter this is probably the thing I am most proud of in my life so far.
However, we would never had gotten through without the help and support of some amazing friends and colleagues who I will never be able to thank enough while this blog so far has been about the hard times with all of this has come the most amazing year our business has had to date.
Around December last year we made the decision to expand and extend our premises to hold double the amount of stock. With this came another set of new challenges. However, I now have a new outlook when it comes to work and believe that the hardest thing to ever happen to me already has, so anything else is easy by comparison.
We took on the unit next to us and started to knock down the walls in a freezing December – and, at the same time, began to increase our stock levels.
There was so much to do with taking on the new building and my husband took on most of the responsibility for the physical work involved with the move despite working full time in his own job.
It was always dad’s plan to take on the extra unit and I am so pleased we have managed to do this within the year, and it has really paid off as we are the busiest we have ever been.
So much so we have had to take on another member of staff to manage our now-huge showroom. As you know we pride ourselves on being a family business so, of course, the job went to my husband.
I sit here now in our nice new office which even has windows!
And I hope that dad is happy with the direction we have taken his business as it meant the world to him.
But I am also thinking about what makes us different and successful as a business:
One of the biggest things I have learned through all of this is what makes a business is the people within it – and I am so proud of our team that I have the honour of working with and that’s what makes our business unique.
The other part is our customers without whom we wouldn’t have a business.
I often feel that within the sub-prime car sales market customers can be treated unfairly and often looked down upon. I have met some of the most amazing people working
here over the years and love getting to know all of our customers and strongly feel whether you are buying a car at £5000 of £50000 you should be given the same level of service, I always ask my self would I be happy if I was given this level of service.
I can’t wait to start blogging a bit more again as I feel our business is unique for many reasons and I want to share more experiences, that will hopefully help others trying to either grow their small business or just juggle running a business with being a mum.