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Inspirational Women Q&A: Elizabeth McQuillan, Flamingo Car Finance


Elizabeth McQuillan is the co-founder and managing director of Flamingo Car Finance, which acts as a broker to empower women with the knowledge they need to make an independent financial decision when it comes to buying a car. Elizabeth’s business was a finalist in the Professional Services category at the 2022 Enterprise Vision Awards and has been shortlisted in the Micro Business category for the 2023 BIBAs awards  which will be announced in September 2023. She shares her own inspirational Lancashire woman in business story.

What does your business do?

We have two arms to the business – Flamingo Car Finance which helps women purchase their dream car. We also car source, taking the time and uncertainty away from buying a car. Our second business is Flamingo Business, to support women in business by providing a platform where we connect, via monthly networking meetings, learn via monthly online training sessions, and grow – increase their sales pipeline through forging relationships and utilising our unique referral scheme. We also hold quarterly business retreats in different locations; that combine business workshops, wellbeing, luxury and fun! I also offer 1-2-1 business days with women in business who require help progressing their business.

Why did you start your own business?

I’ve always been entrepreneurial. I set up my first teaching business at 17, teaching drama at my local dance school. I then used my first maternity leave to mastermind and launch Starmaker, my theatre school, which later developed into three theatre schools, a franchise and a casting and modelling agency. I’m also hugely motivated by targets, so working for myself lets me set my own targets that I enjoy smashing. Aside from that, my passion is helping people, specifically women, so my business allows me to channel my passion for helping other build their businesses and purchase their dream cars. This lights me up. There wasn’t a role like this in corporate, so I set off to build a business that combined my passion and skillset.

What has been your biggest business breakthrough?

My husband! I was in education before he encouraged me to leave and set up in the auto and finance industry with him. He has taught me everything I needed to know about the industry. He’s always there to support, educate, celebrate me – for this I am eternally grateful. So, although this isn’t systems, processes or sales-related, the start of the business partnership was a huge business breakthrough.

What has been your proudest achievement in your business?

The greatest success has been establishing myself as the female expert and leader in the car finance industry, specifically helping women make informed, independent financial decisions when it comes to their vehicle purchase. We have made it a priority to educate women about their options when buying a car, including helping them understand how financing works. We also provide them with information about the best places to buy their cars and what type of financing is available for them. When I receive testimonials and feedback from the women we help, it reiterates why we do this and what impact we are having on people’s lives.

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

I worked with mentors in both the private and public sector, including the Boost Growth Mentoring Programme, and I read and listen to business podcasts daily. My success is down to both the learnings from all the above, but also having a growth mindset, a passion to succeed and the guts to ‘go for it’! The most effective guidance I’ve received is actually a combination of all the above.

What keeps you going when things are tough?

It’s funny, because whenever I have faced adversity in business, I’ve always used this to catapult us further forward than we originally were. I live by the bow and arrow analogy: You have to pull back the string, before the arrow plummets forwards. So when things are tough, I know that better things will come as a result. Giving up is never an option . . . I have beautiful children to provide for and to inspire! www.flamingocarfinance.co.uk

Boost is helping Lancashire businesses. 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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