If you’re new to CG Interviews – this is a collection of interviews where I pick out successful people that inspire me and find out what they do, why they do it and how they define success. I met Tara Flynn at the excellent She Who Dares Wins in Bounemouth last year and immediately knew she was the perfect candidate for my next interview.
She is the Director and Co-Founder of Ratio, a company dedicated to inventing smart products that help make people’s lives better and easier and also a Bournemouth girl – so it’s great to be able to highlight the entrepreneurial talent thats right here in my home town.
So far Ratio have made a price comparison website (choose-wisely.co.uk), an intent-marketing platform (remora.so) and a men’s monthly underwear subscription club (briefd.co.uk). They’re keen to apply their technology into new markets and new countries and to develop new products that change the world!
CLARE: Hi Tara! Thank for agreeing to be part of CG Interviews! Did you want to start by telling us a bit about your background and what led you to founding Ratio?
TARA: Hi Clare! I was born and raised in Bournemouth but moved to London aged eighteen after being awarded a place at London Studio Centre which enabled me to spend a few years dancing for a dance company around the world. After one dance contract, I came back to Bournemouth and one night, jet lagged, I discovered The Richmond Group. It sounded like a fun company to work for, so I applied. Within a week I had started within the call centre. I was curious about other areas of the business, particularly the CEO’s core team. Suddenly I had forgotten about my next dance contract and had accepted a manager’s role. Within my first year I ended up working on the CEOs direct team and embarked on my first super team project. That’s when I started working with Marc Biles, my business partner. We co-founded Ratio whilst working for The Richmond Group and have never looked back.
In October 2013 we completed a management buy out of Ratio. This was the same year that I returned to work after having my first born, Daisy, and the year that Ratio won the Best International Newcomer at the Insider International Trade Awards. What a year! With the opportunity to run my own business, my husband quickly adopted the role of Daddy daycare to ensure I could work full-time confident that Daisy was being taken good care of. He is an amazing support to me. To our surprise a second bundle of joy arrived the following year; my gorgeous boy, Freddie. Having just launched two new start-ups, Remora and Briefd, I returned to work after 8 weeks of maternity leave. With so many exciting Ratio projects being worked on, an incredibly talented team to work with, and a supportive husband, I have survived (so far!). I am happy to be able to say we are growing and achieving amazing things each day that passes. I more recently won two Venus Awards on behalf of Ratio, which was such a honour and a night I won’t forget.
CLARE: I really admire your work ethic! How do you find the balance between work and being a mum? I know it’s something I’m currently learning to juggle but I think it’s definitely a case of adapting and working out how you can do everything to the best of your ability.
TARA: This is something that I think about a lot, but don’t really plan. I literally have to take each day as it comes. I was really fortunate to have my husband at home with the children during my first two years of running my own business. I could go home at the end of the day and just have time with the children, with little or no chores! Since my husband has joined the marines, that has changed. I’ve turned into a real routine person. I can now get the kids up, dressed and fed, have a shower, blow dry my hair, put a wash load on, all before 8am. When things need to happen, you make it happen!
CLARE: Agreed! Do you think it’s harder for women to get ahead in business, or is it possible to have the best of both worlds?
TARA: I don’t think it’s harder – but I think you have to make more sacrifices, especially if you do want to have a family.
CLARE: We met at She Who Dares Wins – I’ve admitted on here previously I probably need to up my networking game! Do you attend many networking events and have they been useful to you? Also, do you tend to gravitate more towards ‘women’s’ networking or do you base your decision to attend on the quality of speakers, etc?
TARA: I’m pretty selective when it comes to networking events. If I think that I’ll learn something useful, or get to meet some like-minded people, then I’ll go. I think women’s networking events are great. I enjoy them as women always have so much more to say and tend to be easier to network with. What can I say, we like to talk?!
CLARE: Haha yes, talking I don’t find an issue! Looking more online, are there any blogs, forums or sources of advice you have found useful as you have built your business?
TARA: I find Hubspot’s blog useful. Tips from how to prioritise your work stack, to how to write a good email subject line, to PowerPoint templates. Just really useful tips that help with the day to day. I also use Linkedin daily to find businesses and people that I’d like to work with. I wish there was somewhere a little less spammy, but it does the job!
CLARE: How do you find being a manager?
TARA: I love having a team around me. I genuinely consider my colleagues as extended family. The recruiting is the hardest part in my opinion- actually finding the right people to begin with. Managing isn’t for everyone and something that I have to work at. I would like to be in the category of managers that inspire/empower their employees, rather than simply manage. I’ll keep trying!
CLARE: I think part of being an entrepreneur is learning to deal with setbacks/rejection and moving on. Do you have any regrets or is there anything you wished you had done differently?
TARA: I’ve had enough set backs now to not let them worry me too much. As one door closes, another usually opens. I regret worrying too much over things I have no control over. That negative energy would have been so much more useful elsewhere!
CLARE: What are your ambitions for the next 10 years? Where do you see yourself?
TARA: I’m working on having a business that becomes a household name. With our price comparison website www.choose-wisely.co.uk, we’re trying to grow a business that people have heard of, and that they’ll go to when they need help making those financial important decisions in life.
CLARE: I can definitely see that happening – I love the site! Finally, I ask everyone on CG Interviews this question; what is your definition of success?
TARA: There are varying degrees of success and even if I have a little glimmer of success each day, it makes me feel happier. So I think If we feel happy with our accomplishments, we’ve achieved success.
CLARE: Thank you so much for your time, Tara!