Every Monday, we ask small businesses key questions. Here we speak to Leigh Reid, who owns and runs Aberdeen Business Network.
How and why did you start in business?
For four years I was a regular member of Aberdeen Business Network (ABN). I loved everything the service offered, from networking and connecting people to hosting fantastic events and being able to see other people succeed.
When I got the opportunity to buy it last year I jumped at the chance to take the great things I had experienced as a member and really build on them, develop the network further and grow my own small business at the same time.
How did you get to where you are today?
At 16 I had no idea what I wanted to do for work, but I knew I wished to further my education. I decided to attend college and gain a diploma in business management.
After I graduated I worked for several companies in personnel logistics, gaining a good insight into the oil and gas sector.
I ended up working in a family-run recruitment company specialising in remotely-operated vehicle and survey personnel. This allowed me to grow a large network of friends and colleagues, not only in Aberdeen but internationally. This network has been a huge support to me since taking over ABN.
Who helped you?
I’ve been very lucky in my career to have three amazing people who I think of as mentors. Iain Petrie, the former owner of HPR UK, taught me recruitment isn’t all about the key word in a CV. It’s about taking the time to get to know your clients and candidates.
Moira Murawiecka, who I worked alongside at Genesis Personnel, taught me the power of a network. And Andrew Smith, the previous owner of ABN, helped me build my confidence and master public speaking.
After taking over from Andrew I quickly joined the Federation of Small Businesses. I’ve found its help and support invaluable, from advice on insurance and debt recovery to £250 towards local physio treatment – this benefit alone was more than my annual membership fee.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever had?
Be kind, as you never know what road someone else is travelling.
What is your biggest mistake?
There have been some whoppers but I’d better pick one I’m happy sharing in The Press and Journal. At one point in my career I felt I had spent too long in a role where I was undervalued – which really knocked my confidence. It took a huge effort and the support of others to get that confidence back up again. If I could give my younger self a piece of advice, it would be to grab the bull by the horns at every opportunity.
What is your greatest achievement?
Without doubt, my family are my greatest achievement. My husband, Steven, and my three children – Hadyn, 12, Imogen, 10, and Madison, nine. They are by far my biggest supporters.
How are you managing rapidly rising costs and how could the government help?
I’ve put a few strategies in place, like optimising resources, negotiating better deals with suppliers, and exploring cost-saving technologies to improve efficiency and reduce expenses. Overall, I’d like the government to look at reducing the cost of business rates.
What do you still hope to achieve?
Personally, I hope to achieve world peace. I’m only kidding, of course, but it wouldn’t be a bad thing. More realistically, I’d like to expand the ABN name throughout Scotland.
What do you do to relax?
I like to head out into the garden or to my horse’s field and watch the world go by. My guilty pleasure is TikTok – I try to restrict myself to only 30 minutes a day, although Steven says it’s more like three hours.
What are you currently reading, listening to or glued to on TV?
I’m reading Cows, Not Cow: How To Make Your Business Networking Really Work by Andrew Smith. Most people, including me, need to continually brush up on their networking skills. On TV, I’m glued to Yellowstone and all of the spin-off shows.
What do you waste your money on?
A TV licence.
What’s the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?
I hug my two dogs – Boskar, a Jack Russell, and Penelope, a miniature Cyprus hound.
What do you drive and dream of driving?
I’m not really a big car person. I am much more of a big horse person. I would give my right arm to drive a team of the Budweiser Clydesdales, but then again I would probably need both arms.