At 5 feet 3 inches, or 1.60 metres if you work in metric, I should be used to feeling small so why then over the last 20 plus years of running my own businesses have I often felt like an inhabitant of Lilliput Land that has just seen Gulliver walk around the corner?
In the beginning when I was 20 years old as I headed off on the road to self- employment in partnership with my Mum, an old hand at being her own boss, I felt that my age was the barrier; after all what could a young whipper snapper like me know about:
A. Property Letting and Management
B. Running my own business
In answer to A, nothing but neither did Mum and people did not question her because actually she was the expert with the answers to B. We bought an existing part time business with 2 staff who were both nearly old enough to be my Mother; a situation which came with additional challenges in the beginning but soon settled in to a great working relationship and I grew a few inches, well my confidence did anyway.
Then came the ‘Old Boys Network’ of male Estate Agents in a small Yorkshire seaside town – if there was every a clan to make you feel the size of Tinkerbell they were it! Confidence knocking and disbelieving in the ability of the fairer sex to offer quality service to those either seeking to rent accommodation or let what was usually their biggest asset they drove me to despair and left me behaving like a mad dog with a meaty bone. Eventually I managed to infiltrate the network and turn a number of the more open minded chaps in to allies as for the rest they drove me to enter my business, a year after buying my Mum out, into the National Association of Estate Agents Office of the Year award. I must say this ridiculous idea may have also been driven by my raging hormones; only 6 months earlier my youngest son had been born.
To cut a very long process of entering such an award short, after a few months I received a call from the NAEA inviting me to the Lanesborough in Knightsbridge – my little provincial Agency, with a team of 4 lovely female staff, had been short listed in the Property Letting section for the United Kingdom. What pleasure I took from appearing in our local paper with the shiny runners up plaque I brought back to the office – it’s a shame as a lady I felt I could not ensure a V for victory sign appeared some where in the photo.
So ladies and gentleman I would like to leave you with the reassurance that no matter how micro your business you can always achieve something that makes you stand out from the crowd, even if you are only 5 feet 3, micro business matters don’t ever forget that!