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Kimberley Sandiford

Barbados

I’ve always been passionate about taking care of others. When it occurred to me that I could start a business doing this I went all in – and learnt a lot along the way!

In Barbados, there is a great, unmet need for senior care services. Nursing homes often offer poor quality and private nursing care is usually very expensive.

Kimberley knew she wanted to tackle this problem as she's always been passionate about taking care of others. However, she had little knowledge of what it meant to start and run a business until she came across Barbados Youth Business Trust (BYBT)[1] and the support it provides to young entrepreneurs. 

She participated in workshops organised by BYBT on business plan development and pitching competitions to raise start-up capital. Kimberley was also connected with a mentor. This support proved invaluable as she was able to launch quickly and build a network of clients. Her vision for Trusted Care Providers INC, a private nursing and senior care agency operating across Barbados, began to come to life.
 
With the business growing, Kimberley decided to hire a sales manager and an office manager. Recognising the importance of reaching out to new clients, she also invested in designing a website. However, she soon began to hit real challenges. The web design service turned out to be a scam and the sales manager she recruited underperformed. The cash flow was affected and Kimberley started struggling with payments. Soon enough she became anxious and found it difficult to make the important decisions required.
 
Her mentor provided Kimberley with valuable support throughout. However, a real turning point came after attending a young women entrepreneurs’ retreat organised by BYBT. Being around other young entrepreneurs, Kimberley stopped feeling alone and had time to reflect.

I realized that starting a business is not just about crunching numbers and having a great business plan. It is about understanding and managing yourself.

She added: "I realised that I was trying to grow the business too fast. I made the difficult decision to keep only one, part-time employee. This meant I had the capital to cover the debts I had accumulated and to invest in marketing to build new partnerships and secure new clients."

Today, her business is not only back on track, but she have grown her portfolio of services and clients and have opened a branch overseas, in London, UK. Having the right support at the right time was critical in ensuring her business survived. For other entrepreneurs who find themselves in a similar situation, she has the following advice:

  • Take care of yourself! Stress really affects your ability to make sound business decisions. As the owner of your business, you are its most important asset
  • You cannot take everybody’s advice. You’ll hear lots of opinions and get advice from multiple sources. Eventually though, you need to make your own decisions and be accountable for them. You also need to learn from the decisions you make
  • Hire carefully: hiring staff is a huge decision for a young business and managing people is very time consuming. Unless you are at the point in your business where you are able to dedicate the time required, reconsider. Ask yourself if there are other ways of meeting your business’ needs.

[1]BYBT is a member of YBI. For over 20 years, BYBT has been assisting young people across Barbados to develop the capabilities to become successful young entrepreneurs.

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