When Hannah Blair started working at Pinkston Watersports she immediately saw the potential to make waves with this simply splashing community-based business and CEIS were only too happy to help.
Home to Scotland’s only artificial whitewater course, Pinkston is a unique facility sitting on the banks of the Forth & Clyde Canal in north Glasgow. The centre aims to get more people canoeing, kayaking, rafting, river boarding and swimming in open water. It also supports local watersports clubs and community groups with meeting rooms and storage space.
Not content with simply messing about on the water, Hannah had big plans for Pinkston right from the start. However, with a background in charity work she was more used to making grant applications than reaching turnover targets so there was loads for her to learn about business. “When I arrived, there were quite a few challenges. Opening hours were restrictive, we didn’t offer that many services and our start-up grant funding was about to run out. However I quickly realised that by offering more services more often we’d be able to generate more income, and do far more to fulfil our social purposes too.”
Rather than plunging straight into fast-flowing waters of commerce, Hannah approached CEIS for support and guidance to help grow the Pinkston potential.
With enterprise and third sector experience spanning 30 years CEIS were only too happy to support Hannah’s vision with practical advice. Enterprise adviser John McDonald worked closely with her to agree the scope of her business plan and support her own learning journey.
“It’s important to me that I don’t go in and write a business plan for someone,” John explains. “I prefer to take a co-production approach. That way, the client has a document that’s not only useful to them, but really belongs to them too.”
John and Hannah worked through a thorough planning process which tested market assumptions, evaluated risks and, importantly, developed trust and backing from Pinkston’s board and stakeholders.
The process was a very positive one for Hannah. “John’s support really helped developed my confidence and my business skills. He asked lots of questions which really challenged me to go beyond instant reactions. As a result I became far more confident with my proposals and plans.”
Hannah also enjoyed the collaborative approach. “John was really flexible and able to work to our timescales – there was never any pressure from him but he really helped me stay focussed on goals. Having a solid business plan has allowed Pinkston Watersports to move more quickly and confidently that we might have otherwise. The plan still helps keep us focused on our ambitions and the bottom line, but it also gives the freedom to focus on activities which will increase our social impact.”
CEIS are delighted to have supported this Scottish success story. These days, Pinkston offers a terrific range of watersports and community services. What’s more, it’s now a completely sustainable and self-financing small business. So come on in, the water’s fine!
Visit www.pinkston.co.uk / Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Pinkstonwatersports/ Twitter: @Pinkston_Info