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Inspirational Women Q&A: Deborah Smith, Smith & Love Planning Consultants


Deborah Smith, an experienced planning consultant, decided to set up her own business to have a greater control over her work life balance after the birth of her second child.

She founded Preston-based Smith & Love Planning Consultants in 2015 and offers the same expert knowledge as most national planning firms, having years of experience and countless contacts. 

Here she shares her own inspirational Lancashire woman in business story.

What does your business do?

Smith & Love obtains planning permission for developers and landowners, alongside project managing and leading external teams.

We also provide expert advice on whether land and buildings have development potential, prepare representations to promote the development of land via Local Plans, and provide estate advice and prepare planning appeals.

Why did you start your own business?

I set up the business because I needed to have a greater level of control over my work and home life, after the birth of my second daughter. I wanted to continue the career I enjoyed while still being there for my children. There was a time when I didn’t think that doing both concurrently was possible!

What has been your biggest business breakthrough?

There are so many new initiatives we’re looking into at the moment about who we are as a company and how we work for the benefit of our team and clients. I think our biggest breakthrough for the business is yet to be realised, but working towards creating it is what makes it exciting.  

What has been your proudest achievement in your business?

My proudest achievement is the personal growth and professional development of members of the Smith & Love team. We invest in our team members in line with our core values. I am beyond proud to see this investment pay off in increased confidence and wellbeing.  

What is the most effective support or guidance you have received?

I had a screen saver for almost 10 years with the quote “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”. The ability to shift my perspective has been a game changer for me enabling me to lead with curiosity, creativity and courage.

What keeps you going when things are tough?

When you run your own business, your resolve is typically your own, which is why self-awareness is so important. I know that when things are tough that I can resolve it from the inside out and if not then I can let go of it. As a result, tough situations arise far less often.

What are your best three tips for maintaining your wellbeing?

  1. Personal growth – To raise my self-awareness is an essential, and ongoing, part of my life.
  2. Meditation – I’ve found that meditation keeps me grounded and centred.
  3. Finding moments of joy – Consciously finding moments of joy and organising things that bring joy is also important in creating the inner balance needed to be present and authentic.  

What advice would you give to a female entrepreneur starting a business? 

Self-employed or not, work has its ups and downs. You have to learn to ride the waves and ensure that work is not your only focus at the expense of people and things that bring you joy. Finding the inner balance to handle the chaos that comes with work is essential.  


Boost is helping Lancashire businesses thrive.
We have a range of funded support programmes and a team of business advisers you can talk to.
To speak to someone from the Growth Hub about business support, contact Boost online or call 0800 488 0057.


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