Taking part in Captured enabled this married couple to take the steps needed to work less, and spend more time together, including sharing breakfast or lunch every day.
Chris and Megan Pentland were newlyweds when Chris discovered Captured, a structured programme of business support and mentoring offered by Newcastle University Business School. He got so much from the programme that he recommended it to his wife, and the pair now enjoy a more balanced lifestyle, and more profitable businesses.
Chris, who studied psychology in Liverpool and originally worked in recruitment before pivoting into fitness and dance tuition with his business SalSeduce, explained:
“I found out about Captured through a business adviser I was working with who knew one of the programme founders.
“The course was very personalised, and we’re fortunate that it came around at the time we both needed it. Our businesses were ready to scale.”
SalSeduce had been operating for several years with Chris working alone teaching around 14 or 15 zumba and salsa classes each week. He found there just weren’t enough hours available to achieve what he wanted to with the business. Similarly, Megan, who runs the Megan Louise School of Piano from her studio in Gosforth, was teaching 75 to 80 pupils single-handedly, ranging in age from four to 85.
“Captured really got me thinking about how to get the most out of the business and streamline it down”, Chris went on.
Mentored by Beth Pilcher from HSBC’s commercial banking team, Chris worried he may feel out of place on the programme, but said:
“I thought I would have nothing to say compared with other people on the programme who’d have a lot more business knowledge and know-how than I have, but it was interesting how Captured really drew out the thinking about our own businesses while making sure we all took part as a group.”
“I think the nicest thing I found was that no matter how different all our businesses were, if you took our business names and job titles away, everybody was having virtually the same problems.
“It was quite strange to see that in such diverse businesses, the fundamental aspects of what everyone was struggling with, like time management, were pretty much all exactly the same.
“It meant that even if one of the other group members was speaking about something specific to their business, it was really beneficial to you as well. We took a lot from that.”
Chris agrees. He said:
“We then of course spoke to each other about our own businesses in a different way after the programme, because we were able to see them from a different perspective.”
Megan, whose mentor was Christine Foster, a programme support specialist at Voices Northumberland Ltd, has taken on two members of staff since completing Captured, and now teaches 130 students, having attracting another 50 pupils. Chris meanwhile, has reduced the number of classes he takes himself, by outsourcing them to trusted colleagues. As a result, both businesses are now more structured, and more profitable.
Chris, a qualified personal trainer, said:
“Beth gave me tough love in a way, although it didn’t reveal anything I didn’t already know. It did however show me how to change in the right way to give me a bigger push.”
Despite much of their work taking place in the evenings, the couple now enjoy a full night off together every week.
“Our mentors, and the Captured programme team really made you feel they were part of your team – in your corner, and because of Captured we both have better processes in place, and a stronger network.”
For further information on Newcastle University Business School’s Captured programme visit ncl.ac.uk/business-school/captured