Entrepreneurs’ cars: Porsche 911 Carrera 4s
With a passion for cars and penchant for the fear factor, Susanna Simpson wanted a car that exceeds expectations – a company value at her PR firm
Name: Susanna Simpson
Company: Limelight PR
Focus: Public relations
Car: Porsche 911 Carrera 4s
Typical RRP: £87,000
“Never judge a book by its cover!” says Limelight PR founder Susanna Simpson. “Some might be surprised that I, as a woman, drive a black Porsche Carrera!”
But while unreconstructed males deal with the bombshell that women embrace power when it comes to their car selections too, Simpson notes a key business advantage in her love of four wheels.
“I have absolutely no knowledge of football and, as the majority of our clients are male, I realised I needed another topic of conversation that I could bring to the table,” she admits.
“Luckily, my passion for cars has qualified me and saved me from some uncomfortable conversations about the Premier League!”
The limited conversational abilities of men aside, her Porsche purchase was the inevitable conclusion of her desire to reward success with a top-notch set of wheels. But it wasn’t always that particular German marque.
“I set myself a goal to own my own BMW by the time I was 21 – although when it came to it I bought an MX5, which was followed shortly by the BMW.” A pattern begins to emerge here as the BMW in question was a sleek black 328i convertible.
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Then came the Porsche and a deserved reward for the eight years spent building Limelight it was, she says. But there was a little more besides. The fear factor is so often a motivating factor for the brave.
“I picked this car because, when I test drove it, it scared the living daylights out of me – so I knew it was the one I had to have!”
Does it match Limelight’s company values though? Yes, says Simpson. “The car exceeds expectations (one of our core values at Limelight).”
However, while it may reflect her passion for delivering happiness, as Zappos founder Tony Hsieh so eloquently put his company’s raison d’être, in reality the Porsche doesn’t get into the office much.
“Having an office in Central London means the car doesn’t affect the business that much really,” she admits ruefully.
It has been known to play its part in a spot of networking, however. “The few ‘car’ events I have been to I’ve met some really useful business contacts and our shared interest in cars has certainly cemented that relationship.”
When she is able to let loose behind the wheel though, there’s one thing she values above all else: speed! And there’s nothing like embodying the exhilaration felt by a certain Julia Roberts’ character: “0-60mph in 4.7seconds and to quote Pretty Woman: ‘It corners like it’s on rails’.”
And what do clients think when they see it? Simpson is unconcerned when it comes to her being perceived negatively for splashing out on such a luxury. Instead, she says, it projects that the business has done well. “You wouldn’t want an unsuccessful person managing your business reputation would you?” she points out reasonably.
With her bargaining position intact, the ability to form a quicker bond with those who drive similar marques is actually a business boon. “It doesn’t get much better than the Porsche 911 Carrera 4s in my opinion!” she concludes, before leaving a small cloud of dust as she races away.