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Your garden: Second income conscious of environmental benefits

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Name: 

Suzanne Lestrade-Orji

Role and company: 

Founder and Director of RentMyGarden.co.uk Ltd

Company turnover (and most recent ebitda/ most relevant profitability metric):

Since its launch in November 2011, the profit made has yet to surpass the expenses. We are hoping to turn this around in 2013.

Employee numbers:

No employees, only two contractors.

Growth forecast for the next three years:

With a robust marketing plan in place, we hope to turnover a clear profit. This will be reinvested to broaden the reach to Ireland and parts of Europe under the RentMyGarden.com and .EU business names already owned.

In under 50 words, what makes your business distinctive in its marketplace:

First of its kind in the UK for Garden Renting; Rent MyGarden.co.uk enables garden owners to rent out their gardens periodically for barbecues, weddings, growing food and storage, without taking a cut of the profit made. It facilitates community engagement; a second income and is conscious of the environmental benefits of sharing garden space.

What’s the big vision for your business? Current level of international business and future aspirations:

My big vision is that the whole of the UK is aware of and engaged with the RentMyGarden.co.uk website and that it becomes a household name and first choice for garden renting. From there, we will replicate this success in Europe, US and Australia.

Biggest career setback and what you learned from it:

My biggest career setback to date has been allowing people to share in my vision of the business with the intention of making them a part of it. I then found out they were wasting my time, had no interest in the business itself and were causing delays in development. I’ve learned to really listen to my inner Spirit when it comes to working with people and to put everything in a contract!!

What makes you mad in business today?

People who are not direct with you and time-wasters. The day is busy enough without having to chase people.

I am also mad that entrepreneurs have to jump through so many hoops before any funding is even considered.

What will be the biggest change in your market in the next three years?

Behavioural change, particularly in the UK. People are a lot more guarded in the UK with personal space and sharing, and this is why garden renting currently only exists via allotments or individual manor houses.

I also believe that through tax increases, benefit, budget and salary cuts, and job losses, people in 2013 will be seeking now more than ever, a second or third income.

Can businesses in your sector/industry access the finance they need to grow? If not, what can be done to improve things?

No! Understandably, investors need to see certain profit figures before deciding to invest. However, this is a catch-22 situation and you need money for research and development, marketing and staff. I think in the UK, investors need to be a bit more open minded and need to, if necessary, invest smaller sums into potential business boomers to give them a boost and confidence.

How would others describe your leadership style?

Very clear and direct, yet visionary.

You’ve got two minutes with the prime minister. Tell him how best to set the UK’s independent, entrepreneurial businesses free to prosper:

Dear Prime Minister,

It would be much appreciated if you would focus part of 2013 and every year after this, to supporting entrepreneurs through government funding for start-ups that are accessible. Perhaps through a clear UK wide government Marketing campaign, to encourage investors to support entrepreneurs. It would be great to showcase the top 100 business movers and shakers in this campaign.

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