Amanda Fyfe, director of Senior Moves was running a busy successful business, juggling work, family, dogs and friends when her parents decided the time had come to move from the family home to be nearer their family. Several months of driving up and down the M5 every weekend to help organise the move, convinced Amanda and her family that there had to be a better way.
During a business trip to the USA, Amanda met a Senior Move Manager and learned about the business. Several trips and some wonderful on the job experience later Amanda was in a position to bring this service to the UK.
Q: What made you believe that a service like that provided by Senior Moves was required in the UK?
I moved my parents from the Midlands to Wokingham when my father was 85. The move was overwhelming for them and stressful for me and my brother, chasing up and down the M5 every weekend trying to get them packed up, planning what they could take with them, what needed to be taken to the tip or the charity shops or the auction, selling their house all while running my own business and running a family – it was exhausting. If there had been a service like Senior Moves available to me then it would have been just fabulous.
Q: How did you discover the Senior Moves franchise and what made you decide it was the right option for you?
On a business trip to America I met a Senior Move Manager who explained there was a whole Senior Move industry in the USA. I was fascinated and convinced that families in the UK needed this type of service just as I would have appreciated it when I moved my parents. I worked with a Senior Move coach in California (who still supports me) and decided to set up Senior Moves on my return to the UK.
Q: You were already running a successful business at the time, were you helped by the fact that you had previous experience to draw upon?
Having run a business for many years certainly helped me, it gave me the confidence to put a solid business and marketing plan together, and also I had my historical accountants that I continued to use, this really helped.
Q: How do you go about ensuring that the contractors you work with are of the highest standard?
I have a lot of experience of hiring contractors and only work with the best. I meet many different contractors in each field and check out their quality standards, their service commitment, talk to their customers to understand what it feels like to work with them. They need to be CRB checked and have good insurance and have a excellent service record before I would let them near any of my customers.
Q: What have been the biggest challenges that you have faced so far?
The biggest challenge is introducing a new service to the UK. When an elderly person knows they need to downsize they don’t automatically think, I will call a Senior Move Manager because they don’t know we exist. As a result many elderly people and their families struggle with this overwhelming experience on their own. There are an increasing number of good services for our aging population, but it is difficult to get awareness of them
Q: What are the main advantages and disadvantages of running your own business?
I can only see positives. The advantage is that it is just so exciting, I can determine what services I want to provide and to what level. I am committed to good customer service and it is all within my own control.
Q: What are your plans for the business moving forward?
I really want to get the message out to all the elderly communities that there is a solution for them if they want to move home, I don’t want people to go through a stressful experience if they don’t have to.
Q: Recession – Good or bad time to start a business, and why?
I think if you have a good idea and a good business plan then you should start regardless of the market.
Q: Following the announcement of the 2012 Budget, do you think that the Government is doing enough to assist the growth of start-ups and SMES?
No! Start-ups will breathe new life into the UK economy; much more should be done to support entrepreneurs.
Q: What would you say are the three most important characteristics that an individual must possess in order to be a success in business?
Q: If you could give future entrepreneurs three pieces of advice, what would they be?
A: Get good advisors, even if you have to pay for good advice, it will repay you ten fold
Trust your instincts, if you have doubts about a product or provider trust yourself and say no.
If you believe in your service or product, keep believing in it even when you have bad days.