Working for a small business: Savannah's story

Meet Savannah, 22, from Brixton in south London, to find out more about her life running a dog walking business with her mum. Part of our Bitesize world of work series.

Savannah with a dog.

Don’t be scared about not being good enough. Everybody starts from somewhere.

How would you describe your job?

We walk the dogs every day, no matter what the weather's like. We have three of our own dogs so we take them out as a group.

As well as looking after the dogs, there's lots of 'behind the scenes' stuff when you run a small business. For example, we store information about our clients and their dogs on the computer and have to make sure their information is kept safe. I also help manage everything to do with money coming in and out.

What skills do you need for your job?

I use maths every day. I have to remember how long a dog has stayed with us and work out what to charge people.

Sometimes if a dog is with us for a long time – maybe because their owner is on holiday – we offer discounts, so I use maths to calculate the correct numbers.

I'm on the computer a lot sending emails, so ICT also helps. I use my English skills when I write emails and talk to the dogs' owners.

Savannah with two dogs.
Savannah and her mum have three of their own dogs too.

Is this the job you always wanted to do?

No, I wanted to be a vet when I was younger. My mum always wanted to run her own business and I'm glad I can help her, especially with the technology side of things.

It's worked out well because I get to be around dogs all the time which I love.

Top tips

  • Don’t be scared about not being good enough. Everybody starts from somewhere
  • Practise, practise, practise and it will come – hard work always pays off.

What to expect if you want to be a business administrator

Savannah is an administrator for her mum’s small business. As well as walking and taking care of other people’s dogs, Savannah is responsible for lots of general administrative tasks.

Administrators give support to all sorts of companies — usually in an office setting — by dealing with queries on the phone and via email, typing documents, and updating computer records.

  • Administrator salary: £13,000 to £30,000 per year
  • Administrator hours: 38 to 40 hours per week
  • Typical entry requirements: You could do a college course, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this job, such as a Level 2 or 3 Diploma in Business and Administration. You could get into this job through an intermediate apprenticeship in business administration or a business administrator advanced apprenticeship. You’ll usually need some GCSEs (or equivalent), including English and Maths, for an intermediate apprenticeship, and five GCSEs (or equivalent) at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) for an advanced apprenticeship. Many people apply directly.

This information is a guide (sources: LMI for All, National Careers Service)

For careers advice in all parts of the UK visit: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

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