Women Entrepreneurs Statistics for 2021 show that 252 million entrepreneurs out of approximately 582 million in the world are female. Added to 153 million women who have already been running businesses, showing the impact of women on business. Although there are more male than female entrepreneurs worldwide, the gender gap in the business world is steadily closing.
In celebration of International Women’s Day 2022, we wanted to share a female entrepreneurs story of success. This week we caught up with Penny Green to hear more about her business, Percia Solutions, and working in the healthcare sector.
Can you describe your business?
I work in the elderly care and learning disability sector. The services offered range from commissioning new care homes so that they are ready for residents to move to designing and buying the furniture for young people with learning disabilities.
When did you start your business?
The opportunity to start a business came about almost seven years ago, in March 2015.
Why did you start your business?
My employer at the time was a care operator and the pipeline of new sites had a long gap before the next one was to open. This meant that my role was in effect redundant. I was able to work for a number of other clients before going back to my original employer as a service provider, offering a bespoke service for their new homes. I am so glad that we parted ways on good terms as this left the door open for me to work with them again.
Could you describe a typical “day in the life”?
As a mum with two young children, days are spent juggling school drop off and pick up, client meetings (these are so much easier in the world of Teams and Zoom now), site visits and report writing. I spend a lot of time talking to the various teams I work with to ensure that we are all working towards that same goal, and I like to raise any red flags in a project early so we can finish solutions early. You will also find me surrounded by fabrics and paint colours if I am working on an interior design scheme.
What have been the biggest challenges? What 2 or 3 things have been the most difficult?
One of my biggest challenges is carving out the time I need to administer the business. Although the accounts are relatively straight forward, it takes time to invoice the client, provide the accountant with the documentation they need and manage accurate time sheets.
In addition, taking time out to get away and take a holiday is difficult as the team is small, and I don’t currently have someone to hand over to.
How has your business grown/developed over the past 7 years?
My client base has grown and I tend to have repeat business from most clients. I have also started working with an interior designer to offer our own range of furniture and a more complete turnkey package to the care sector. This is proving popular and we have two new clients with this new service.
Did the pandemic throw up any extra challenges?
Luckily, the pandemic meant that by husband was able to work from home more, offering me increased flexibility to work with my clients. Some projects were slightly delayed but other than that business continued as usual. I have found BREXIT more challenging and have spent time investing in British suppliers rather than relying on European supply of furniture and accessories.
What have been the advantages of working for yourself?
My time is my own. This means that I don’t feel guilty spending time with my family, as long my clients are happy.
What do you wish you’d been told before starting your business?
It’s lonely out there if are used to working as part of a team in an office environment. Try and find a network of other small business owners, either in your sector or near where you live so you can bounce ideas off each other or just have a cup of coffee with others.
What advice would you give to anyone else considering self-employment?
If you have the financial support from a partner, or the funding to try something – take the risk… and build something that is yours.
Make sure that the idea that you have is very clear in your mind. Being able to market your idea is critical for long term success. Finally, there is really quick money to be made but be prepared to work hard, especially in the beginning.
*We strive to do our best when supporting small business and their growth. Our business databases can give you information and data that can help you with advertising, market research, company information, and industry factsheets. If you have already taken the plunge, we would love for you to join us at a seminar, our workshops cover digital marketing, business model canvas and planning, demystifying taxes and intellectual property to name a few. Visit our events page or website for more information.