Secret of my Success: Andrea Miles, Mirrors for Training

Andrea designed and manufactured in her garage an all-weather arena mirror that’s suitable for both indoor and outdoor areas, for the training of dressage horses and well as dancers.

What is your start-up story? I was a single mum at home and I started making mirrors in my garage. It was trial and error mainly, but I managed to develop an all weather mirror for outside applications and a portable mirror on wheels. The business grew from that concept.

What products or services to you provide? We manufacture a portable mirror on wheels, that is used in areas where permanent wall mirrors are not an option. We also hire them out to production companies.

What are your sales and marketing strategies? I think social media is an amazing platform, if used correctly. It can boost sales, product awareness, and bring in testimonials.

What is your attitude towards your competitors? We have a unique product so I don’t think we have any competitors.

Do you have any other thoughts about your market and how you operate in it? I’m lucky as I came from a sales and marketing background. I love thinking up new avenues and seeing our products for use in different applications.

How important to success are repeatable business processes? We offer a service that is second to none. We have repeated business with large organisations that trust us to deliver at short notice. We make it happen, and it’s our customers who focus our drive really.

What have you done to make sure you get the right people with the right skills in place? We operate to very high standards. Our team has been through training and we find only 100% perfect work acceptable. We will not tolerate anything substandard.

Do you have any tips for managing suppliers, customers and other business relationships effectively? Shop around for suppliers, and make sure you get several quotes for everything – even the smallest item as you can save £££££’s. We treat all customers the same, and have made many friends along the way, as we are so particular about offering a high standard.

Any finance and cash-flow tips? Cash flow is our biggest obstacle. But we have now grown to be large enough to offer finance for our products so it’s now a different story.

Any thoughts on the future of your company? We planning to ramp up exports to Europe.

What are the most important things to remember when starting and running a company? A good business plan is essential when running and starting a business