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Opening of Sage Ward. Hertford. December 04, 2010. Photograph by Michael Boyton. Pic shows: Lisa and Brenda cut the ribbon. Names (L-R): Lisa Ward (owner, Sage Ward); Brenda Haddock (mayor of Hertford).
Friday, December 17, 2010
NEW business SageWard Residential Lettings in Parliament Square, Hertford, was officially opened by the mayor of Hertford, Cllr Brenda Haddock, earlier this month.
Managing director of the company, 26-year-old Lisa Ward, takes time out to tell the Scene about the challenges she has faced setting up her own business, how she feels businesswomen today are perceived, and how to succeed in setting up your own venture.
Tell the reader a bit about yourself.
I live in Ware with my partner and am a very ambitious 26-year-old! I have always lived around this area and have moved approximately 10 times in my life - hence my long interest in property; it was inevitable from a young age!
What is your professional background?
I have approximately six years lettings background and almost three years in block management. My business partner and I have a collective property experience of 15 years. I have worked for several local letting agencies and have seen the good and bad parts.
When and why did you decide to open your own business?
Our official opening day was on December 4, when the mayor of Hertford officially opened the shop in Parliament Square. I was approached by an investor who knows my background and who proposed setting up in partnership. The first proposal was mentioned in June.
This is what I have always wanted to do, and to have a shop front in the centre of Hertford and to be to a high standard at this stage makes me very lucky.
I became frustrated working for other agents, where I had no real control.
Why did you decide to open your business in Hertford?
I decided to open in Hertford as I know this area well and love the town. The shop is situated in a prominent location, which I felt was key. I feel it is central to the areas I propose to cover - from Welwyn Garden City to Bishop’s Stortford and from Buntingford to Cheshunt. I feel there is also room in Hertford for a letting agent who specialises solely in lettings.
What have you found to be the most challenging aspect of setting up your business?
The initial setting up of the business was hard going, what with organising contractors to tie in with the opening day, and ensuring that nothing is missed. It is a daunting time of year, what with Christmas being only a week or so away, so it is a fairly quiet time, although I have time to organise myself and prepare for the new year.
What can a client expect from SageWard?
A client can expect a personable, professional service. We have the landlords’ interests in hand to find the right tenant for their property. At the same time, we look after our tenants to ensure their lettings experience is simple. Whilst we offer a first class service, our rates are also very competitive for any new landlord that comes on with us. We follow The Property of Ombudsman’s Code of conduct and ensure we follow all regulations that need to be adhered to.
Do you think women today still have a tougher time in business than men?
I personally think it can be easier for women in business. It may take longer to prove themselves, but if they know the business that they are in then there shouldn’t be any problems. I am confident of my abilities and see no difference in what sex you are.
What advice would you give to someone planning to set up their own business?
To set up your own business you need to have an extensive background knowledge of the field you want to be in. You also need to be passionate and determined about what you do. If you have that, and prepare yourself for the costs of running a business, and feel that there is room in the market for your business, then go for it. Research is key!