Enterprise Superstars: Naomi Tarry, founder of Best of Suffolk

BUSINESS owners and leaders from across Suffolk have teamed up with the Eastern Enteprise Hub as “Enterprise Superstars”, agreeing to give time to encouraging more people in the county to launch their own business. In the latest in an occational series of Q&A profiles, the focus falls on Naomi Tarry, director of holiday cottage lets business Best of Suffolk

:: When you were a child, what did you want to be?

One of my favourite subjects was Geography and we learnt a lot about environmental problems facing the world, such as rain forest removal and acid rain. It made me naively want to save the planet, and so I thought I’d work for one of the big international charities or environmental agencies.

:: What is your greatest business success, the thing you are most proud of achieving?

Becoming the East of England Businesswoman of the Year this year, backed by the Institute of Directors and Lloyds TSB. I had to give a “Dragons Den”-style presentation to a panel of about 10 successful businesswomen which was very daunting! Preparing for the presentation gave me a rare opportunity to take stock of what my husband Alex and I have achieved in just five years of running Best of Suffolk.

:: Who is your greatest inspiration and why?

My husband Alex. We’ve been married for 15 years and he’s my soulmate and also my business partner and mentor. He has always believed in me and encourages me to push myself way beyond my comfort zone to be the best that I can. He gives me confidence to think big and to aim for the stars.

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:: Why have you become an enterprise superstar?

It was a great honour to be picked for the programme and I see it as an opportunity to inspire and help give confidence to people to reach their true potential. On my entrepreneurial journey I was lucky to have the support of people around me like my husband who believed in me, challenged me and supported me. I hope my story will help inspire others to great things, that would be a really worthwhile achievement.

:: What single piece of advice would you give to someone starting out in business?

Create a vision of what you want to achieve and share it with people you trust to give you constructive feedback. You must expect to get some negative feedback and you must embrace those comments as it will help you refine and improve your vision for your business. But at the same time cling tight to your vision and don’t let it get watered down; you have to champion it, improve it and nurture it.

:: What piece of music do you listen to when you need some motivation?

This year I have learnt to run and listen to a lot of music whilst running to motivate me. There are many great songs but if I have to chose one it would be Mika’s “Blame it on the Girls” – the album version with the spoken word introduction. It tells the story of a man who tells someone that his life is miserable, the person he speaks to looks at him, sees what advantages and opportunities this man has compared to himself.

:: What keeps you awake at night?

I used to take a long time to fall asleep; I would mull over work problems going over and over them again. However since we moved to the Suffolk coast I sleep so much better – maybe it’s the sea air or maybe it’s because I no longer live and work in the same building, but I now switch off quicker and sleep well.

:: If you were Prime Minister for a day, what would you do?

I’d free up small businesses from red tape and bureaucracy and provide more training and support for business start ups as I believe that entrepreneurs will help lead us out of the recession. I’d also teach more about the power of positive thinking and confidence in our schools.

:: What was the last book you really enjoyed and why?

I read a lot of business books. Right now I have just finished reading Brian Tracy’s “How the Best Leaders Lead”. I learnt so much from it; in fact I wrote myself a full page of business actions based on it! Another business book that I highly recommend is “The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael Gerber. If you run a small business and have hit a brick wall, wondering where to take it next, this book might be just the inspiration you need.

:: What is the best thing about doing business in Suffolk?

The space and beauty of our county. I worked in London for several years and spent hours every day commuting, either in heavy traffic or on crowded underground trains. Now I travel to work along pretty country lanes with hardly a car in sight and wide open fields. Now I arrive at work feeling energised not frazzled.

:: When you’re not at work how do you relax?

Socialising with friends, running, reading and star-gazing without a telescope. I have an app on my iPhone called “Starwalk”. if you point it at the night sky it tells you what stars you are looking at. I also receive messages on Twitter that tell me when the International Space Station will be passing overhead in the night sky; it’s like a bright shooting star and it is incredible to think that there are people in it.

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