Telling the truth about SME life today

“You can’t do it all,” says female entrepreneur

“Try not to do too much. You can’t do it all even when you’re young. No woman can be a superwoman and work, have children and keep their husband happy,” she says.

Owton was a professional dancer before marrying her husband who owned Cloud Hotel in the New Forest. When he died suddenly leaving behind no life insurance and an unprotected mortgage, Owton decided to make a go of the business.

She managed to turn it around from an underperforming concern with 10 employees in 1991, to a thriving hotel that has a staff of 26. The hotel is now worth £3m and Owton doesn’t owe a penny. “My children were the driving force,” she says, “as I had to feed them.”

For other women thinking about starting a business, Owton has this advice: “Believe in yourself; if you have goals, go for them; stay feminine and don’t be aggressive as it puts men off.

"In business meetings prepare and make sure you know your subject inside out, persevere, keep your health and give yourself time off or treats – women are bad at doing that.”

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