Award-winning Chigwell entrepreneur bids to inspire budding businesswomen ahead of International Women’s Day
PUBLISHED: 15:06 06 March 2020 | UPDATED: 15:55 06 March 2020
A Chigwell entrepreneur talked to the Recorder about her career journey as she bids to inspire budding businesswomen ahead of International Women’s Day.
Ana Pindoria owns business mentoring company Hi-Juice, in Ilford, along with her husband Kam.
The couple have taken on education franchises, opened smoothie bars and now help small and medium-sized businesses.
Ana, 52, taught at schools in east London at the start of her career but took the leap to run a Kip McGrath education franchise with Kam in the mid 1990s.
She said: "Nothing seemed to settle me until I started to run my own franchise and become my own boss. There was no ceiling, there was no one saying that's what you must do every day."
Her background in teaching means that being a role model to young people is something she is passionate about.
She recalled a 40-year-old woman, who she taught in 1995, telling her that she inspired her to become a lawyer - "that was very rewarding," Ana said.
Ana and Kam took on the master Kip McGrath franchise for the east of England and London before setting up Hi-Juice smoothie bars in Ilford.
But their story has been far from simple - their daughter Sriya, 16, suffers from cystic fibrosis.
The couple, who also have a son, spent a year and a half living at Great Ormond Street Hospital when Sriya was younger, which Ana called an "incredibly difficult time".
They decided to close the smoothie bars and Ana said: "We had to re-examine where we were going. Me and my husband's core values are family-orientated."
They kept the name Hi-Juice for their mentoring business, which recently won an award at the London Prestige Awards.
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Key tips she gave for budding entreprenuers, ahead of International Women's Day on March 8, include working out what is most important to you and being clear on the purpose of the business.
She said: "Be patient and be prepared to work a lot harder than you ever did in an employed role. Know your worth and stay true to your core values.
"Seek out experienced mentors, coaches, consultants and fellow entrepreneurs to help you. Be the student. Keep learning."
Ana's top tips for aspiring businesswomen:
. Do thorough market research. Get a full business plan including financials.
. Know your numbers, margins and business model. If the numbers don't work the business cannot scale, you become a hobbyist or it's just a second income to your main PAYE paid role.
. Get super clear on your 'why'. Why are you doing this? What drives you to provide this product or service? Be aligned with every intention.
. Be prepared for really hard work.
. Be prepared to park emotions. If you are a very emotional person then building a business could take you longer. I found that when I struggled over my 25-year journey I was allowing my emotions to get in the way of a clean investment decision.
. Take strategic action, understand your daily actions and why they are important.
. Ask questions - evoke a growth and intentional mindset.
. Listen - improve your listening skills so that you listen to everything not just what you wish to hear. Invest in help mentors, consultants, advisors and people who have walked your walk in the past.