In conversation with…Alison Benney
With MIYB coming to Torquay next month, we caught up with one of our speakers, Alison Benney, Director of enlightenHR to get a glimpse into her business story so far and what she will be discussing at the event…
MIYB. Alison, we’re so excited to bring Make It Your Business to the South West! What inspired you to start your business and how did you come up with your business idea?
AB. I was inspired most by wanting to get away from corporate life and take control of my own working arrangements! I was brought up in my parents’ small, family run hotel and I recognised that if they were still in business today they would struggle with employment legislation! It made me realise that there was a gap in the market for really good, pragmatic, affordable HR advice for small businesses.
MIYB. What does a good day on the job look like to you and what’s the best part about owning your own business?
AB. When a client is “enlightened” about a HR issue they were worried about – “the light dawns” and they are empowered to sort it out. That always makes for a good day. Flexibility and variety are definitely the best parts for me though. As a single Mum, I can flex my working around school and holidays and I have clients from lots of sectors so I get to understand a bit about lots of different businesses too.
MIYB. Having control over your working hours is always a plus. What are the biggest challenges you face as a business owner and how do you overcome them?
AB. Business development! I get all of my work through referrals and I’m usually a “distress purchase”. I have limited the amount of networking I do so that I can do the same events consistently.
MIYB. What would you consider your biggest achievement so far?
AB. Staying in business for 14 years! Seriously though, taking risks, changing my career at 30, working on my self-development and then starting enlightenHR whilst pregnant and on my own is something that I’m really proud of.
MIYB. So you should be! What is the one piece of advice you’d give to any aspiring female entrepreneur?
AB. Go for it, it’s so worth the risk and if it isn’t for you then at least you’ve given it a go. You can always get a “job” at any time if you want one.
MIYB. Lastly then, what are you most looking forward to about the MIYB event in Torquay?
AB. Meeting aspiring female business people, helping if I can and inspiring them to have a go!
If you want to join Alison and fellow, local female entrepreneurs for an evening of honest discussion about what it takes to set up a business in the area and down-to-earth networking with like-minded women, join us at John Burton-Race Hotel and Restaurant in Torquay on April 11th. Tickets £10.