Reserves Day has arrived! Today celebrates the commitment and contribution of our Reserve Forces throughout the UK. Providing approximately a sixth of our Armed Forces Personnel, Reservists dedicate their own spare time to serve as part of the military alongside their civilian careers.
Committed to protecting the nation through their hard work, Reservists form a vital and integral part in supporting operations worldwide and yet their contribution can sometimes go unrecognised. To remedy this an annual Reserves Day was put in place to mark their support and to provide an opportunity for Reservists to show pride in their service.
To recognise the talent and determination of our Reserves we come to our business owners Pete and Tracy Tunstall. With a longstanding commitment to the Forces, the couple have started up their own business ‘Time Flies at the Longhouse’ as a Training, Activity and Adventure Centre.
The Longhouse, Pembrokeshire
Unsatisfied with the prospect of a 9-5 job and desiring to make a ‘real difference’ Pete and Tracy have provided a relaxed and comfortable environment for people to learn new skills with the ability to socialize at the end of the day, “I wanted to get out and do something meaningful. I had done the 9-5 Monday to Friday my whole life, and after leaving TA I missed the camaraderie and the whole forces mentality. Married to an ex-soldier, we decided we wanted to work with the forces community and perhaps help people along the way.
“We called the company Time Flies because we both turned around one day and realised we were in our 40’s and not doing jobs we enjoyed. Life is far too short, so we decided instead to try to make a difference.” said Tracy
Pete adds, “We felt that “normal employment” did not fulfil our expectations nor the need to make a real difference that was met during time in the service. There is an attitude and pride that comes with those that serve and we believe that given the opportunity that the same outlook can be carried forward to others. The best way for that to happen is to create an organisation that brings the ethos of the forces to the wider public”
What advice would you give to other people, thinking about becoming an entrepreneur?
Tracy “Ask for help. Use the knowledge of those who know best. Don’t try to do everything yourself. Don’t underestimate the hard work and long hours involved.”
Pete “Our company is Time Flies Pembs Ltd. And it does- Do your research, look at the market, approach it as you would any other mission asking at each step “is it viable?” and if you still believe – Commit.”
What are the challenges you’ve faced in running your own business?
Tracy “Time – there is never enough. Plus staffing issues. We have struggled to find reliable and enthusiastic staff. We have a good team around us now, but we need more so that we can focus on delivering the programmes we set out to deliver in the first place. Running a bar, café and shop was not the original idea and it has shifted our focus. We are now concentrating on plan A again. Also our main business is very much seasonal, so surviving the winter is an issue.”
Pete “Finding the right staff with the right level of skill and attitude and enthusiasm. We have a good team around us now, but it takes patience. Also, what we do has not been done here before, selling the dream has been tough but word is spreading and we are steadily growing.”
How has X-Forces helped you?
Tracy “X-Forces provided the expertise to put together a business plan which enabled us to get a start-up loan. The business would not exist without it. Attending a conference also showed us that we had lost focus and that we needed to re-think what we were about.”
Pete “We would not be operating without the financial backing”
More information on #ReservesDay and how you can celebrate it can be found on the Armed Forces Daywebsite. To find out more about the Tunstalls and their business Time Flies you can visit their website or Facebook page for more information.