Go Your Own Way: Answering the questions this week is Angela Loudon of Courtyard Coffee House.
What is your business?
I am the owner of Courtyard Coffee House. We are a local coffee house, specialising in home baked traditional meals, cakes and tray bakes. We are located in the beautiful Courtyard Complex, our chic surroundings offer a relaxing and relaxed environment.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you ended up doing what you are doing now?
In my professional career I have always worked in the IT industry. I am a proud mum to three beautiful children, Daniel (16), Adam (13) and Ellie (6). All of my family have supported me in this venture, they contribute by working in the coffee shop, suggesting new ideas and even decorating when the shop is closed.
Did you always want to run your own enterprise?
I always had a dream of owning a business of my own and at the age of 15 I engaged in my first business plan course - at the time I wanted to own a petrol station. I have always been passionate about providing great customer services and love working with the general public. The coffee house was an obvious choice as it’s a well-established business with a loyal customer base. It has a great reputation for homemade cuisine which really appealed to me.
What skills/qualifications do you require for the role?
I believe you need to have great social skills and a desire to work with people. The ability to function on little sleep, learn fast on the job and be prepared to try new things are also an advantage.
Has your business been affected by the current recession?
As I have only been trading for three months, I don’t think I can answer this.
What were the biggest challenges you faced when setting up and what support did you get?
One of the biggest challenges is I have so many ideas and plans I want to implement and am struggling to find the time to complete them all. Preparing a business plan has been a great help, as when I am feeling a bit lost I can refer back to it for some direction. I completed the business plan with the help and guidance of Carrick Enterprise.
With regards my family, it is a family business and my entire family have pitched in. They have assisted by working in the coffee shop on a daily basis and contribute by making lots of suggestions.
What three tips could you offer those considering starting their own business?
1. Complete a business plan, do the groundwork and complete your research, you will learn so much and it’s a valuable tool to refer back to.
2. Delegate. Don’t try and do everything yourself, surround yourself with people you trust and can delegate tasks to.
3. Be prepared to try new things. Have the courage to try new things, and also recognise when things aren’t working,
What do you get up to in your free time?
At the moment I have little or no free time, however when I do I enjoy spending time with my family.
If you could swap places with anyone who would it be and why?
Possibly a lottery winner. To never have to worry about money again, the feeling of being able to help your family, friends and local charities would be amazing.
Go Your Own Way series in conjunction with Carrickfergus Enterprise, Meadowbank Road. Telephone: 028 93 369528.