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Winning article for the week ending 6 December

What you need to know about running a business by Mercedes van Niekerk, Notre Dame School

Are you a keen entrepreneur wanting to start your own business? This article will give you an insight into running your own business through the experienced minds of Pam and Mike Giordano, a married couple and also business partners for thirty three years.

Mike Giordano has been a keen fisherman since childhood, and when he started at the age of seven he immediately showed talent and a passion for the sport. He joined clubs and competed in matches and opens. Fishing built up acquaintances for Mike and he got experience from older members with plenty of knowledge. After the couple got married they purchased their own fishing tackle shop in April 1986, buying it from friends who started the business in 1974. Opting to keep the previous owners shop name, Thames Angling, they were ready to go.

Thames Angling sells equipment for lake, river and sea fishing, and the Giordano’s pride themselves on selling to the pleasure and match anglers. The business is very family oriented with all of the members of the Giordano family helping out during the busy seasons and for this reason they appeal to customers that are families themselves . Both Pam and Mike see fishing as a family sport that encompasses a lot of cultures, races and genders. With 40% of their costumers being European, the Giordano’s have had plenty of experience with making everyone feel welcome and like equals.

All successful business have one thing in common. This is a unique selling point, something that makes a business stand out from others. Something Thames Angling offers that makes them stand out from other local fishing shops is rod repairs, which many competitors don’t offer due to how laborious it is and the skill one must have to fix a rod. The couple don’t believe in a throw away society, and will repair something if it can be repaired. Additionally another special selling point the Giordano’s business has to offer are gift vouchers, a service available all year round, which is a unique alternative solution to buying fishing equipment as a present.

However both Pam and Mike say that fishing has evolved over the last twenty years, and due to an online market for fishing tackle, shops like Thames Angling are of a limited number.

Saying that, the detailed expert advice the couple offer is not available on the internet, because together Pam and Mike have a great knowledge of fishing as well as charming personality’s which the customers warm to. Proof of Thames Angling’s success is returning customers, especially the customers who have being using the business since the Giordano’s started to run the shop thirty three years ago. Returning customers have admitted that the reason why they rely on Thames Angling is down to the bait being the best on offer and the friendly atmosphere.

I conducted an interview with the Giordano’s and starting by asking them what the pros and cons are of running a business. Mike replied to the question with a pro saying “It’s quite satisfying when we make a profit” and Pam followed by stating a con - “You always have to be at your place of work”. Pam also commented on how there is more to running a business than people may think, paperwork, invoices and knowing your market, which all so key when running a business.

I then got the couple to answer the question – what advice do you have for someone wanting to start up their own business? Pam answered “You’ve got to be dedicated and trust that the business you are doing you are happy with” with Mike then adding “And you have got to have self discipline. How you run your business is whether it succeeds or fails.”

I would like to thank Pam and Mike for their time, and their willingness to share their story.

Article written by Mercedes van Niekerk, see the link below.

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