There are many of us who know and love The Entertainer. It offers 100’s of deals on restaurants all around Dubai (useful). Especially now there is an app. Though, not many of us have heard the story behind it. Donna Benton is the inspirational female Entrepreneur behind this successful business and we want to know how it all started!
What is the worst job you have ever had?
I don’t believe there’s a bad job. Sometimes you’re a good fit for a role, and sometimes you’re not. Great jobs are about learning and moving forward – so in that respect, I’ve only had good ones!
What was your journey like to get to the position you are in now?
I came to Dubai for a job, which after 3 months I knew wouldn’t work. So, I left. Shortly after I was driving down the Sheikh Zayed Road and noticed a large number of restaurants on both sides of the road. I just thought – there are so many restaurants in Dubai and so few incentives for customers to visit them. That’s how I came up with the idea for the Entertainer. I decided to go for it. I set out by myself to sign on merchants for the first book and I was elated when Marriott signed on as my first merchant! That first year, I managed all aspects of the business – from signing on merchants, managing distribution, overseeing printing, working out legal intricacies and putting together my final product. Then I literally went door to door to sell them. Fortunately, there was just no looking back. Now we have 39 products showcasing buy one get one free offers across 14 countries and we employ over 200 staff in 14 global offices.
Describe your typical work day?
I wake up at 5AM and go for a run. I love running because it’s a great way to stay in shape but also helps me clear my head. Then I come home and get ready for work, whilst also getting my two children, Chloe and Jack, ready for school. After breakfast, I drop the kids off at school and then go to the office.
At work, no day is the same. Every day presents unique challenges, experiences and rewards. Usually, I spend my first few hours in the office catching up with the CEO and heads of our departments as well as our global team – country managers from our 14 offices around the globe. This is my way of keeping up to date on the latest happenings in each department, while also helping each team out when they need me. This is usually followed by a meeting with finance or our senior management team. We’ve just launched our 2017 products so this is a very busy and exciting time of year at the Entertainer!
What are the best and hardest thing about your job now?
Every opportunity comes with its ups and downs. When I started the Entertainer, it was years of hard work – all by myself. I went from merchant to merchant explaining my idea and getting them to sign up. I faced both victories and rejections. I would have to say the first 2 years were the hardest part of my journey as a businesswoman, but in retrospect, I wouldn’t change anything about it because it got me to where I am today. Even the mistakes I made were all about learning and improving along the way.
The best parts are aplenty. Seeing the value Entertainer customers enjoy is amazing – our product makes the unaffordable affordable. Plus, working with my fantastic team is a hugely rewarding experience.
What advice would you give to any women who wanted to work in your industry?
My advice to women is simple – be brave! If you have a good idea for a business, but you’re always putting off taking that leap into the unknown, don’t be afraid to take some risks and put your fears to one side. Starting your own business isn’t easy and don’t underestimate the work ethic and belief in the product that you need. Remember, you can love what you do, but if the figures don’t add up, it starts to become more of a hobby rather than a business.
Is there another dream role you would still like?
I love what I’m doing now, but I am always exploring new opportunities, like Chloe’s Beauty, Hair & Nails, the salon I’ve just opened on Jumeirah Beach Road. I believe in being happy in whatever I do but at the same time, I never turn away from trying something new.
Have you used The Entertainer yet? If not check it out!
-The Working Bees