Ladies & Gentlemen, It’s Laura Skilton, from Baby Paddlers!
So it’s in at the deep end as I announce the next finalist for the Small Business Award in the Hampshire 2017 Venus Awards is Laura Skilton from Baby Paddlers.
Tell Us About Baby Paddlers
“I founded Baby Paddlers in 2012 out of the frustration of finding good quality swim classes for my own young children. I attended several swimming classes but felt they lacked flexibility, friendliness and fun.”
“My experiences have shaped our approach to teaching your child to swim. Your child is at the heart of everything we do. At Baby Paddlers, we want to help them build a lifelong love of swimming. We teach your child to be water confident through lots of games and activities making it fun for both parents and children.”
“Our swimming classes are designed to provide a great opportunity for you to bond with your child and are open to children from birth to 5 years of age.”
“At the heart of everything we do is a love and passion for the water. Our teachers are passionate about developing your child and we welcome your input and feedback as we travel on the Baby Paddlers journey together. It goes without saying that all our staff are fully qualified but it is also important that they have empathy, provide you with a warm welcome at every class and support you and your child to get the most out of your Baby Paddlers experience.”
After starting University and finding out that it just wasn’t for her, Laura started working on a temporary contract filing and sending out letters to customers in a customer services division. After doing a few different roles Laura became a Manager for a division after 6 years.
Laura loves working with people and still loves that part of her job today. During her working life Laura had some excellent managers and learnt the right and fair way to treat people – that is music to my ears. Whilst on maternity leave Laura was made redundant and like many people, this wasn’t handled in the right way but did offer some financial stability in the short term for her family.
Laura then started to try and find a way of working that would suit both her personal career needs as well of that as mother and wife. Laura’s son was not very confident in the water and Laura was offered the opportunity to retrain and also get space a pool to be able to be able to teach swimming.
In addition to this, Laura also took on the chair role of the local NCT branch which gave her a great opportunity to keep managing with a group of like minded volunteers. Like many small business owners – Laura hasn’t looked back and her business has just flourished.
When asked Laura said that she would invite the following to a dinner party:-
Mahatma Gandhi – Laura would like to know how he had the courage to challenge things that had an immense effect on himself and his family. Knowing that there were bigger and more important factors.
Gary Lineker – he was Laura’s hero as a child and would like to know what he is really like…
Queen Elizabeth – Laura would love to know her opinions on how society has changed over her life.
Paul McCartney – Laura loves his music and also bets he has got plenty of really interesting stories.
Laura’s biggest influence is her old boss Michelle. “She was a tough one to impress but as a chaotic 20-year-old, she taught me how to approach business in the fairest and most effective way. She taught me to organise myself and made me work hard to prove myself. I think this has given me the grounding to run my business in the way that works for me but also that I look after those who work for me. I want to support them to grow and develop in the same way.”
On meeting Laura, it is clear that she has a passion for people and definitely takes the phrase – there is no I in team to the letter. For any small business recruiting and maintaining an engaged workforce takes work, but if you support your employees they will support you. In 5 years Laura has started a business from nothing and now as on average 750 customers a year – her only problem now is finding enough pools for the demand – anyone fancy building one? Laura has a few places she would suggest to expand Baby Paddlers!
If you’d like to know how I could help grow your business so you also have 750 customers a year, please get in touch via my website.
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