Target Accounting founder Margaret Plutecka was recently interviewed by Bozena Wilson on BBC during Poles Apart radio show (among previous famous guests Lech Walesa, former president of Poland). In this talk, she shares insights on how to start a business if you are a woman and a mother.
Transcript of Radio Interview
Here on Poles Apart we had business people from different sectors of the economy who shared with us their experiences of setting up a business and most of all how to be successful. Tonight I would like to introduce you our guest on the show, Margaret Plutecka, the Director of Target Accounting London company, a successful businesswoman who started her own financial company ten years ago and has never looked back. Good evening Margaret.
- For starters, tell us: was there a turning point in your life when you decided that working for yourself was the best option for you and what did you do to fulfil your dreams?
As a mother with two children and a full time job, I was juggling daily and I decided that that was not the way I would like to lead my life. I was looking for different options, what could I do to be at home and a good mom. I decided to set up a company and I started with one client from home, and obviously this allowed me to look after the kids at the same time. But the company grew very, very quickly and soon after I had to set up a proper office out of the house and to run it from there.
- How difficult was it for you as a woman and being Polish to establish yourself in the world of business which we know can be very tough and competitive?
Most startups are short of cash. You go from one crisis to another to struggle to keep the flow, you don’t predict situations that happen if you don’t have experience of running a business, obviously it is very difficult but what I found out is that if you are determined, if you’re confident, strong-willed, and you believe in yourself, you survive and the crucial survival is two years for everybody, so once you pass this stage of survival it starts to be a bit more established and then you can plan and have your strategy and see what you can do in the future to grow your business, and like any good entrepreneur we have to take the risk and when we start anything new, usually it doesn’t work the first time. I can see that only the second time, when people learn from their own mistakes, and they make sure the mistake is not repeated for the second time, they succeed and they build strong businesses.
- As part of Global Entrepeneurship Week, a series of free events were held in London to promote enterprise. You were invited to one of these events as a main speaker. Please, tell us more about it.
I was invited by Harrow in Business on Wednesday to take part in Entrepreneurial Week event and I was the main speaker during the launch event for women thinking about setting something up or had already small businesses that just ran for a year or two. We were talking about different things, I gave some encouragement and examples from my own experience. Every single woman in this place who had children had the same problems: we discovered that everyone had problems with childcare.
- Childcare is very expensive!
Childcare is incredibly expensive to basically be able to afford. When my kids were born I didn’t want to give up my profession, so I was working and full salary I paid towards the childcare and when we were talking at this event the ladies were sharing exactly the same, they said that it was very, very difficult, but what I have to say is that parent woman and equality minister Maria Miller is actually supporting women and she’s helping women to juggle their work and family life by reducing the cost of childcare and improving its availability, and she introduces a scheme to create 6,000 new childcare businesseses by providing grants of up to 500 pounds to encourage people to set them up. So it’s a good news for someone who is at the moment at home and doesn’t have an idea what to do that some money available to set the business up.
- That’s great news!
Very good. They also are changing as well because they try to encourage more people to go into business as there are some money available to people in different ways and a lot of advice, a lot of organizations trying to help businesseses to grow, for example UK Trade Investment is one of the organizations who helped tremendously people to grow businesses and export the products from UK abroad.
- From your own experience, what advice would you give who would like to start their own enterprise, however small or big?
Don’t try to do everything yourself. Ask for advice, ask experts, be open, don’t feel shy or intimidated
- So be persistent!
Yeah, join the network group, join, for example, the Chamber of Commerce, join some local organization, women network so don’t try to do everything yourself, ask experts and believe in yourself and you will succeed.
- Margaret, thank you very much. But, before I say goodbye, tell me please what music do you like? And who is your favourite singer or band?
Obviously I’m Polish so I would mention a group called Perfect. So if you could play for us one song, it would be great!
- I guess, I will Margaret. Once more thank you very much, I wish you every success and please, keep in touch!