Since opening her first Coversure franchise in Keighley in March 2015 – just after her daughter’s arrival into the world – Reana Bashir has taken her business from strength-to-strength. She opened another office in Bingley in May of this year and has also acquired Coversure Rotherham.
It is fair to say life has been a little hectic for West Yorkshire-based entrepreneur, Reana. With two children under the age of ten and three separate businesses to run, it is amazing that she finds the time to provide the high levels of customer service that she does, especially as she has big plans for the future. In this interview, we’ll explore the highs and lows of her career to date, and how she has found being a woman in business.
How did you get your start in insurance?
I started in insurance many years ago as an accounts clerk at Collonade. This start is what gave me the taste for insurance. Though, at that stage, I could never have dreamed that I would come this far.
What motivated you to start your own business?
As a pregnant woman in a high position during a structural change, I felt myself being discriminated against. Being 9 months’ pregnant and a career woman, I did not know what the next steps in life would be. I felt a spark of inspiration to go further with my passion for insurance, and decided to become self-employed and put all my experience to use. I knew that I would never give in until my inspiration turned into a successful enterprise. I constantly believed in myself and believed that I had inputted a lot of hard work, time and effort into making my branch in my previous role a huge success.
What advice would you give to women wanting to start their own business?
The advice that I would give any woman or man starting their own business is that you need to be willing to leave your comfort zone. Be willing to take on any challenge and never give in.
What has been the highlight of your business career to date?
There has been more than one highlight within my business career, and each one is equally important to me. First of all, my promotion to Branch Director whilst in employment was where it all began. Also, opening Coversure Keighley in 2015 and winning the ‘New Broker of the Year Award’ within the first twelve months. Finally, training and developing my team, who were all new to the insurance world and unemployed. In 2 years of being self-employed, I am delighted to have 3 branches that are all performing above and beyond my expectations.
How have you found being a woman in a male-dominated industry such as insurance?
I will not deny that at times it has been very challenging, but you have to overcome any barriers that may come in your way and challenge the traditions of the industry.
What has been the secret of your success?
The secret to my success is hard work and determination. I constantly strive to achieve more by using my passion to lead by example. I endlessly believe in myself and my team.
Who is your female hero?
My mum. Without the childcare support, and wholehearted encouragement I have received from her and my family, I would not have been in a place to start my business so soon following the birth of my daughter.
Have you found West Yorkshire a good place to do business?
I couldn’t imagine not starting my business within West Yorkshire. Without the loyalty of each one of our clients I would not be where I am today. Our local community has supported me every step of the way.
What is the best advice you have received?
The best advice that I have received is that in the beginning you should keep your head down and work hard without making a noise. Let the success be your noise.
Thank you Reana for taking the time to answer these questions. We hope that you have found this interesting, and will be looking to post more articles and interviews over the coming weeks. If you would like to follow in Reana’s footsteps and become a Coversure Franchisee, why don’t you get in touch? Just click here to find out how you can become a Coversure franchise owner.