Today we hear from Lucia Borraccino, a young entrepreneur who for the past two years, has been running her own company ‘Nanny Network.’ It was set up with no funding and no business experience whilst Lucia was working as a nanny. Nanny Network connects parents with local childcare in London and offers a wide range of services from Babysitting to Nannying.
1. What drove you to start your own business? What was the turning point?
The turning point for my business was being interviewed for Channel 4 which made me realise people were taking me seriously!
2. Who do you admire or look to for inspiration as a business owner?
Stephen Fear – He is an absolute legend. His story of becoming an entrepreneur aged 15 using a telephone box as his office always makes me laugh. We had lunch the other day at the British Library and he gave me some invaluable advice. Tim Campbell – for all of his work, for making business fun, for engaging young people and for taking the time to listen to me. Tristram Hull – a great and brave entrepreneur who is the wisest person I have ever met. I should probably pick a woman too! Alex Sibille – for teaching me that you can always find something out if you need to and to keep a close eye on your competition.
3. What are your goals for your business?
To expand and continue to provide top quality childcare for the whole of London in 2013. I would like Nanny Network to become London’s biggest and best childcare agency. I would also like to grow our new and online Babysitting service ‘Book a Babysitter’.
4. What would you do differently next time around?
Go into business with a partner – the journey is far too lonely by yourself.
5. What difficulties and challenges have you had to overcome and how did you keep going?
Not having a business background means that anything that needs doing I must first learn it and then use it. This is quite a slow process but it now means I can get to grips with every aspect of running a business from websites to accounting.
6. What legacy would you like your business to leave to the world and your family/friends?
My dream is to have Nanny Network become a household Name for a reputable company providing top quality childcare – our commitment to children is paramount – to their health, their education and their wellbeing. I think when my friends start having children my phone will start ringing even more than it already does!
7. What support did you seek out and what difference has that made to your business?
I first approached ‘The Bright Ideas’ trust and begged them to help me and they got me on a programme which provided me with a mentor from ‘Innovate London’. The people who work at Innovate London are experts and they have helped me so much along the way. They not only give advice but run practical workshops. One month ago I was picked for The British Library programme ‘Innovating for Growth’ to help me expand my business to the next stage.
8. How far ahead do you plan and what keeps you on track and motivated?
It can be tricky to plan too far ahead as running a business can evolve and change so quickly – this is what is exciting. I try to make plans and targets as much as possible to keep me on track. Keeping motivated is another story – there have been times I felt like I was interning in my own company. Exercise is the key to being motivated – taking yourself out of the office and doing something different to clear your mind is the key to staying productive. I like going swimming in the Lido at lunch, I attend dance classes and I go to Bikram yoga as often as possible – it’s very good for your brain and helps you stay tuned in.
9. What has been one big success that you have achieved in your business?
So far I have not spent a penny on advertising – the word of mouth reputation is crucial to the type of business I run. I feel this is my biggest success – that I have managed to grow a business from scratch and by myself in the most organic way possible. My business also provides jobs for other young women and enables women to go back to work after taking a break to have a baby. This is what I am most proud of – that and that fact that we provide the best quality Nannies and Babysitters who make children happy.
10. What piece of advice has had the most impact on your business?
My mentor repeatedly tells me to focus, which doesn’t just mean focusing on the job at hand it means saying no to everything else.
11. What are your top 3 tips for someone who would like to start a business now?
– To keep in mind your idea – what pain do you solve in the market? How do you solve it? How are you different from what is currently available ?
– Harness the knowledge of people around you and don’t be afraid to rely on them.
– Have a big holiday before you start – you won’t get a chance for a while….
12. What are 3 books, websites or resources that you would recommend to other business owners?
– ‘The Lean Start Up’ by Eric Reis – I listen to the podcast and it reminds you to always be innovative and be prepared to evolve. This book has a bit of a cult following and I can see why.
– Newspapers ! If you run a business you have to keep up with current affairs. What is going on in the wider world can affect what you are trying to do. Read the paper, listen to the radio, keep up to date, always.
– ‘Better Business’ magazine. I have only just discovered this – it’s informative, easy to read and essential reading for anybody in business.