What Would You Do with a 'Small Loan' of £1 Million? Sarah Bridge, Wilmslow Kitchen Cookery School

Following Donald Trump's comments in late 2015 revealing that his father gave him a "small loan of $1 million" to start his real estate business a few decades ago, we wanted to ask local business owners in the UK for their thoughts on the comments and how a loan of £1 million would have changed things when they first set up their business. 

Here, we speak to Sarah Bridge, who co-owns the Wilmslow Kitchen Cookery School with her husband David. The school, which is located in the heart of Cheshire, provides courses to people of all abilities who wish to improve their cookery skills. 

The husband and wife duo, who have over 40 years' combined experience in the catering industry, learnt their trade under the guidance of the famous Roux brothers. They have honed their skills and styles through their travels throughout South East Asia, the US, Australia and New Zealand. 

  

If you were given a loan of £1 million when setting up the cookery school, would you have done anything differently? 

I would have bought the property instead of leasing, and I would have liked it to have been in a different location. 

What difference would the loan have made? Would it have made things a lot easier? Why? 

It would have made it easier obviously! We could have moved things along faster, allowing the business to grow quicker. 

How would you have used the money? Would you have spent it on specific purchases, or perhaps invested it? 

I would have bought a bigger property and leased some of it out as an investment. 

How did you start your business? What financial help, if any, did you receive? 

My family helped me, plus we used money from savings. 

Are you pleased you did things the way you did, or would you have preferred to have received a huge loan instead? 

Not having the full amount that I needed made me really careful with every penny. This actually turned out to be a huge positive, as what we have now is exactly what we need. 

What are your opinions on Donald Trump's comments suggesting he considers a $1 million loan small? Would you agree that it is 'small', or would you consider it a significant advantage when trying to get ahead? 

It depends what type of business you are creating. I also think that if you need £1 million in the shape of a loan, you actually need an investor because paying back £1 million and taking that out of the business would be like a noose around your neck! 

What size loan, if any, would you recommend prospective entrepreneurs and business owners seek when setting up a business? 

Again, it depends on the size of your business. I invested £35,000, but needed another £10,000. I tried to get a loan but was refused, even though we were almost at the finishing line. I therefore had to ask family. 

What advice would you give to other would-be entrepreneurs and business owners just starting out? What would you advise if they were presented with a loan of £1 million? 

You should definitely be able to match any loan or investment yourself. Taking a risk, betting on yourself and having something to lose drives you! Just being given money to start a business is not the key; it is drive and ambition that pushes it forward, along with the gut wrenching fear that you might lose everything. You can't beat a bit off terror to get things moving! It makes you seek things out that you might otherwise have missed.