YOUNG entrepreneur Leo Vincent admits it is tough running your own business at 24 - but he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Leo is the owner of Allington Manor, having taken over the family-run business from his father two years ago.
And now he is receiving the best in business mentoring after being named the Journal’s winner of the Local Business Accelerators competition run by the Newspaper Society.
Leo said: “It was quite nerve-racking but my dad just allowed me to get on with it and learn from my own mistakes. He was a big believer in working like that.
“I remember how difficult the first winter was. The summer had gone very well so I was spending money doing the house up, improving the business all the time but I didn’t think about things slowing down for the winter.
“So that winter I basically couldn’t pay myself a wage - I could just about pay the wages of staff.
“I told my dad and he said ‘tough’. But I learned from that.”
Now the business is going from strength to strength with Leo always on the lookout for new ways to diversify, expand and improve the Manor’s offering.
In October of last year his partner Amy Dove opened The Beauty Lounge at Allington Manor, which has already built up a healthy client base.
Leo credits Amy for much of the success of the business.
He said: “It was Amy who really pushed me to take more on. She said ‘you can’t work for your dad for the rest of your life’ and that’s when I started taking on more responsibility.
“She has really pushed me to make a success of the business and has helped me every step of the way, but I don’t always give her enough credit.”
The stresses and strains of running a business mean Leo rarely gets to enjoy the life of a typical 24-year-old. But he’s grateful for the help he gets from family and friends, as well as staff, Katie, Sam and Ann.
Leo said: “I have to invest a lot of time into the business. I don’t really see my friends very often anymore, just at the odd football game. Sometimes I think ‘why can’t I just have a normal job?’
“But when you have a couple stay here overnight and then go on a website and write a positive review, it makes it all worthwhile.”