The Economic Update - August 2009

Mrs Josette Fenech and Mrs Liliana Borg are very clear about their humble beginnings in the world of business. Originally entering the family hotel business, their father made sure that his daughters started out on the lowest rung and learned the trade from the ground up.

“Our father always treated us as normal employees and taught us the value of working hard for our achievements,” Liliana begins. “This was excellent grounding for us and also invaluable for when we went into business ourselves,” she continues.

“From that business we moved into property development,” Josette says. “This was something we branched into on our own and was a male dominated sphere at the time, meaning that we also had to prove ourselves. However, succeeding in this field gave us a great deal of satisfaction.”

Did they ever find that being a woman in their field was difficult?

The question elicits a laugh from both of the sisters. “At the beginning we would have clients come in and ask to speak to our father, almost as if we didn’t exist,” Liliana says. “However, today we are accepted as accomplished in our field.”

In fact, they would go so far as to say that being a woman in their sector is a definite advantage.

“Being a woman gives us greater customer sensitivity,” Josette explains. “This is reflected in the high level of customer care that we offer our clients and the emphasis we place on the client’s needs.” Many businesses struggle because they fail to grasp two central concepts: that they need a sound marketing plan and an equally sound financial plan. However, Liliana and Josette have this covered.

“We complement each other perfectly,” Liliana explains. “My sister handles the marketing aspects, while I handle the inancial side. In this way we both allow our strongest skills to come to the fore and work as a very effective team.”

This level of teamwork should provide for considerable success. What has been their greatest achievement so far?

“Our biggest achievement so far is the excellent relationship that we have built with our clients, but each and every sale is also an achievement,” Josette says honestly. “Every time that we close a deal we get that feeling of success. No matter how many we sell, or how long we have been in business, that feeling never diminishes. It is what keeps us constantly coming back for more.”

“Of course, every day also provides numerous challenges,” Liliana adds. “Each day has difficulties that must be overcome and dealing with these ups and downs is simply part of everyday business. For example, sales are currently low due to the economic conditions. But you must adapt and overcome and that is what ultimately makes you successful in business.”

How have they incorporated this drive to overcome and adapt into their plans for the future?

“Our company is expanding into assisting clients with the furnishing of their home, as well as helping them overcome any difficulties that they may encounter along the way,” Josette says. “We also have several new projects coming on line for the future and these are very exciting,” she adds.

Finally, what words of advice would these two successful entrepreneurs have for other women who may be thinking of going into business?

“Pursue your ambitions to achieve your goals, and never allow a challenge to stand in your way,” Liliana says.

“Treat everyone as an equal and ensure that you have solid support from your family as you will need it,” Josette concludes. 

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