Having gained 10 years’ experience in the hospitality industry working for other people, Sian Pelleschi could see great potential for growth and slicker ways to run things. She said “Working for someone else there are always channels to go through before you can get a full ok on any decision.” Sian decided it was time to take the bull by the horns and set up her Manchester based company ‘Top Venues’.

Top Venues is a free and impartial venue finding service focusing on conferences, exhibitions, training, meetings and incentive events. Ensuring that the “focus is quality”, Sian is keen to let clients know that “we take it seriously. We work with clients from start to finish, find out preferences, budgets, what they are trying to get out of it. We’ve got a lot of good contacts with venues across the UK so can offer really good rates, sometimes better than if the client went to the venue directly. We go out and see the venues ourselves. We have the relationship so we can personally work out any problems. We act as a one point of call for the client, liaising with the venue and the client throughout the whole process right through to confirmation. We take a commission from the venue, which isn’t added onto the rates we quote the client, and even then we don’t leave you hanging. We follow up and see if there have been any issues.”

Having contacted Business Link to find support to start up, Sian was directed to The Women’s Organisation where she met with a business adviser locally to look over her business idea and work on her business plan. She said “It was really good. For the most part I felt like I knew what I was doing as I knew the industry, but I did just need that extra support and expertise in the areas I didn’t know about. I also went on some of the courses with The Women’s Organisation. It was great to meet people at the same stage with their business as me and to bat ideas around.”

It wasn’t an easy decision and Sian knew there were things to weigh up. “The scariest part of stepping out of employment and cutting a salary off was considering that I have a mortgage to pay. But I had lots of support. My family and friends were all pushing me to do it. Sometimes the people closest to you know more than you what your capabilities are. It’s surprising how many people said ‘yes you should go for it’. It’s going well so far and I’ve already started meeting new clients and helping with their events.”

Sian said of running her own business “It is the best thing I ever did. I feel so much more in control. I am able to meet clients personally, visit venues, make decisions of how to push things forward. The part I enjoy most is meeting new people, making contacts. There is a real sense of fulfilment when you can find the right venue for them. I am really looking forward to pushing this business forward, to have the type of company I always wanted to have. That’s the focus and that’s the drive.”

The most important thing to consider when starting a business according to Sian is to “make sure you are clear on what it is that you want to achieve. Prepare yourself for what you need to do, be aware of the legalities, do everything in an order, plan, put a date line in place. You can end up back tracking otherwise.”

As well as venue finding, Sian and Top Venues are branching out to offer full event planning services at an additional cost. If you are interested in finding out more about how you can use Top Venues to help you find the right setting for your event then contact help@top-venues.co.uk 0844 870 9963 or visit the website www.top-venues.co.uk

And if like Sian you are a woman who is interested in starting up your own business please contact The Women’s Organisation for free advice and support on 0151 706 8111 /0161 833 8800 or email info@thewo.org.uk Alternatively visit www.thewomensorganisation.org.uk