This week’s Business Focus is with Rachel Dilley, who is founder of The Room in Brighouse and practice manager at Town Hall Dental.
Why did you start your business in the first place?
I have always been very career driven, and I am always moving the goalposts when it comes to my professional development. Once I achieve one goal I am always setting another for myself. With The Room, we knew that this was an exciting industry to tap into that would tie in well with Town Hall Dental, and from my previous experience it is something I knew I could grow and manage successfully. There was a gap in the market for an executive space like this in Calderdale, and we felt that was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up.
What is your business motto?
My motto in business is the same as the motto I try and apply to everyday life – always treat others how you expect to be treated yourself. When you are running a business, you have to see things from every side of the picture. As a manager, I must put myself in the shoes of my staff and our customers when dealing with any situation. If I was an employee, how would I want to be spoken to? If I was a customer, what kind of service would I expect to receive? Being able to have a sense of empathy and understanding is just as important in business as it is outside of it.
What advice would you give to anyone starting their own business?
Anyone starting a business needs to be well structured and organised. As anyone who has started their own company can tell you, things will get thrown at you that you can’t plan for, but having systems and structure in place makes dealing with those things easier. You’ll be doing things you didn’t expect and
couldn’t train for, so always be ready to deal with any eventuality. Most importantly, you need to have a vision of where you want the business to go, set goals and aim for them. You can’t be complacent, the work won’t come to you, go get it.
What was the biggest challenge you faced starting your business?
I think the biggest challenge I have faced is managing business life and family life at the same time. Running a business is a way of life, and it’s incredibly hard to take a step back from something you’ve created and invested so much time and effort in to. I have a husband and two sons, and it can be
difficult to juggle that with the long hours and high levels of responsibility that starting and running a business brings. I wouldn’t change anything, but the amount of time that is required to run a business is something that a lot of people tend to underestimate when they’re just getting started.
What do you enjoy most about being self-employed?
I think the thing that I enjoy most is the challenge of it all. Being self-employed means you face challenges that you’ve never had to deal with before, and it’s always exciting to push those boundaries and see what you are actually capable of. The greater the challenge you face, the greater sense of accomplish you feel when you come out the other side. As someone who is self-employed, when you create something special you know that it’s you that’s done it, whether personally or with the team you’ve put together. It is a real sense of achievement to reach a goal you never thought you could and it’s incredibly motivating.
What do you enjoy least about being self-employed?
Running a business and being self-employed takes up a lot of time, sometimes due to things that are completely out of your control or you couldn’t have predicted. As such, you have to make personal sacrifices for the good of the business and your customers. I can’t count the late nights I have had to spend in the office, or working away on emails or projects at home until the early hours of the morning. When it’s your own business and it’s something you’re
passionate about it isn’t so bad, but there will always be things that you have to miss out on or give up reaching that point.
Which business figure do you most admire and why?
I admire a whole host of business figures, so it’s difficult to narrow it down to just one person. I admire businesspeople that think about the people they work for and look after, rather than just chasing money without caring about the end result. People who have come from nothing to form a successful business,
but still always ensure that the customer and their team come first are incredibly admirable. If I had to focus on one person, I would like to mention Eric Binns, a local business adviser. Every time we have met and spoken it’s clear that he goes out of his way to ensure local businesses succeed.
What achievement in your career are you most proud of?
I’m most proud that we have launched The Room upstairs and turned it into a popular venue in a short space of time, while I have still been able to work as Practice Manager for Town Hall Dental. I was recently nominated for Practice Manager of the year for Town Hall Dental, and we are now hosting businesses and networking events attracting the best and brightest of Calderdale to our venue. Sometimes it’s nice to take a step back and just pinch yourself, to think that it is something that we’ve actually made here. Often in business, from day to day it doesn’t feel like much is changing, then you look back over a few years or so and realise that so much is different.
Where do you see your business going in the next five years?
Our next goal is to buy another listed building in Brighouse, allowing us to grow both The Room and Town Hall Dental. We would love to be able to provide another event space or some form of hospitality, and extend the services of the dental practice to include general health and facial aesthetics. We already
have our eye on a few places so we’re hoping to achieve that very soon! We are actively involved with a number of local charities, and developing that is a large part of our strategy for the next five years. We are hoping to launch the Town Hall Foundation very shortly, which can be our vehicle to support some amazing local charities and give back to the community that has supported us.
If you could invent one new product, what would it be?
I don’t think this is something that you could invent, but I would love to be able to click a button and when I get home all the washing and housework would be done! That said, I think inventing a housekeeping robot may be a little outside of my expertise.
If you could work for one company, who would it be and why?
I am already working for the best person and best company ever. Dr Imran Rangzeb of Town Hall Dental treats his employees and patients as family. With his support, we’ve been able to launch The Room and turn the Brighouse Town Hall in to a space for everyone again. It doesn’t feel like work coming here!