What was your first job after leaving school/further education?
Salaries Administrator for United Distillers in Edinburgh.
When did you start your business & what prompted you to do it?
I started BizSchool in 2012, I was prompted to do so when I realized that my oldest child Hannah would leave Primary School with no more idea about business than when she started school at 5 and no inkling what her Dad did when he went to work.
What did you find most challenging at the beginning?
Setting up the first course was done in a hurry in response to an urgent requirement from a school, reworking and refining that first course seemed to take forever.? We are still refining it today.
Who did you ask for advice & why did you choose them?
My sister, Belinda Roberts, various Head Teachers, teachers and friends.
How did you fund your business?
The business is in effect self-funding, financed by income from our BizSchool courses and individual school corporate sponsors which we help schools to find in exchange from a sponsors package.
What would you do differently now looking back?
Do much more systematic market research to understand what the market truly wants before you launch your business. Find an advisor who was already in the education sector to help us.
What or who has helped you to grow your business the most?
My fellow director Ruth King has been the greatest asset to BizSchool.? She came up with the concept of courses being sponsored by businesses which links our business courses to the real business world and helps schools to afford the courses. She is tough, resilient and honest.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced?
The schools sector is challenging for budgetary reasons but there is also a unique culture which is quite different to the commercial sector and can be frustrating as you wait for decisions to be made.
What are the future plans for your business?
We want to consolidate the position of our existing trained associates and get them all busy delivering courses.? Ultimately we want to grow a UK wide network of associates who can deliver courses and help us to build the business.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to set up their own business?
Just go for it.? The amount you will learn by setting up and growing the business will teach you so much, even if it is not a roaring success from Day 1.
Tell us something about you that isn’t commonly known.
I established and briefly ran my own theatre company, KAK Touring Theatre with BAFTA award winning film maker Colin McLaren.? We both appeared in Colin?s adaptation of Gogol?s Diary of a Madman for three weeks in the 1993 Festival Fringe to rave reviews. We even made a profit!
And finally, why did you join WeDO?
I live in Hampshire but am still Scottish through and through and anything I can do to help ‘ex-pat’ Scots like me to retain their affiliation to, and love of Scotland, makes it worthwhile. ?I’m a great believer in having a wide and varied network of contacts. ?I may not make it to many events but I’m only a phone call or email away and I really hope that BizSchool will expand into Scotland so it make sense to be part of a great Scottish organisation.