Business Woman of the Year 2018 Finalist Q&A: Sally Preston

Tell us about yourself and your business

My name is Sally Preston and I am the Founder and Managing Director of Kiddylicious which sells a diverse range of snacks and meals for children from six months to four years old.

What would you say the key elements are for starting or running a successful business?

I would say that the key elements for starting a successful business would be to have self-belief, determination, resilience and a sense of humour at times. When starting or running a business, you are often faced with difficult situations and it’s how you deal with challenges in a logical and rational way and not giving up that matters. It is actually important to experience these challenging situations, as it means you are constantly learning and pushing the boundaries. When starting a business, it’s common to think “I can never do this” which is why it’s essential to have resilience, determination and to be proactive at problem solving.

Who inspires you?

I don’t have one specific person who inspires me, and I don’t have a mentor as such, I just have a view that you can. I don’t buy into the opinion that barriers are put in your way – I believe it’s up to the individual to knock them down. People who inspire me are those who achieve great things and make a difference no matter male or female, old or young.

What motivates and drives you?

What motivates me most is the self-belief that I’m making a difference. The belief that the products we sell, which are tasty, portion controlled, healthy and appropriate for young children, make a real difference to parents’ lives. Our products take the pressure out of caring for young children and we get endless compliments from parents saying thank you for making life easier. Receiving comments like these really show that we are making a difference, and this is what continues to drive me.

What challenges have you faced within the organisation and how have you overcome them?

There have been numerous challenges we have faced as an organisation. Just prior to the launch of our first fruit based snacking products, into two major supermarkets, the manufacturer let us down, which affected the supply of all our products. We had six weeks to search the world, find another product, check it was safe, pack it and re-sell it and we did it!

Another challenge I faced was when a major supermarket wrote to the HMRC to ask if they wanted to put VAT tax on our product range, who said yes. At that point, we faced a considerable tax bill which we had to fight, because we would have gone out of business. We employed lawyers and fortunately managed to overturn the ruling.

What advice would you give to people aspiring to a successful career in business?

One of the mantras that I use is ‘retail is detail’, which is all about understanding numbers. If you don’t understand the numbers that drive your business, it’s impossible to truly understand your business. You need to understand all the time that cash is king (sales are vanity, cash is sanity!), certainly when you start a business. It’s all very well driving more sales but if you are selling more at a lower price, your business will not be sustainable. I find it remarkable the number of people I speak to that don’t know how much money their business makes, what their margins are, what their overheads are, what their costs are and if they are the even profitable. It’s essential to know these details for your business to be successful.

What would winning BWOTY mean to you?

Winning Business Woman of the Year 2018 would be an incredible personal recognition of what I have achieved. Most of the time, I talk about ‘we’ or ‘us’ and my team’s achievements, which I am very proud of, but winning this award would be a personal accolade. It is a fantastic feeling when other people celebrate your achievements and I would be highly honoured to be recognised by a distinguished panel of judges. Winning the award would also give me a voice and a platform to encourage other ladies and young girls to go for it and take a challenge, which would be amazing.

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On 12th October 2018, we honour the achievements of exceptional women – both in the world of business and personal achievement.

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