VICTA Young Ambassador Alexandra Mackie interviews VICTA Trustee Chris Sprenger
When thinking of inspirational role models for the VI community, the immediate assumption is that the individual has to be VI. However, I don’t believe this is always the case. Anyone who has managed to achieve their goals and objectives in life can be an inspiration for all.
In this article l explore Chris Sprenger’s success story and share his advice on how to build a successful business. As an entrepreneur and owner of a start-up soap making business, I was particularly keen to gain his insight. While l have achieved a lot in my business over the last year, I now appreciate the secret to achieving long-term success is perseverance. Perseverance to embrace change, to learn from mistakes, to face challenges head on and never to lose sight of the end goal.
From your personal experience, what do you
think it takes to be a good business leader?
CSPotential business owners need to understand the difference between a strong leader and manager, before they attempt to adopt one or the other. A strong leader is someone who devises a vision and inspires people to follow and get things done, whereas a strong manager focuses on setting, measuring and achieving goals.
As the Managing Director of Highfield, what are some of the daily challenges that you face and what strategies do you use to overcome these?
CSWe put the customer at the heart of our business, as a result, our greatest challenge is to maintain the very high standards of customer service we set for ourselves. We achieve this through the continual development of our employees. In any business, a high employee satisfaction produces’ a high level of customer satisfaction, which effectively allows you to build a positive brand and build the foundation of a successful business.
What are the three things that you would say are key to starting a business??
CSAny product or service offered must have a unique selling point (USP). This allows you to differentiate your product or service from your competitors. Secondly, regardless of your product or service, your business plan must be structured in a way that focuses on achieving maximum customer satisfaction. I truly believe good customer service should always be at the heart of any business. Having a strong USP and providing good customer service will indirectly contribute to your business and develop a positive brand.
How do you stay ahead of your competitors?
CSKeep it simple. A simple business strategy will allow you to make more informed decisions that are focused on achieving your set objectives. It is important for all business owners to be able to gain a certified authorisation from an official body to certify your product or service. This will allow you to increase the amount of confidence that your customers feel towards your business.
As a service-based business, how important would you say your customers are in determining the new services that are offered within Highfield?
CSWhile we appreciate the advantages of technology, as a company, we still focus on maintaining one-to-one personal relationships with our customers. This allows us to tailor our services to the specific needs of each individual customer. There is nothing better than word of mouth recommendations.
How did you become a trustee of VICTA?
CSCorporate social responsibility is at the centre of our company as we feel very strongly about making a positive impact within the local community. My initial involvement with VICTA started as a personal running commitment which then encouraged other members of staff within the Highfield Group to run the marathon for the charity. As a company, we are very passionate about supporting the charity with the important work that it does in supporting VI children and their families. As a result, l would encourage aspiring individuals who would like to enter the world of self-employment to be highly selective when choosing to form support networks within different areas.
Written by Alexandra Mackie