Creating a business from scratch has certainly been an adventure.
Over twenty years, business has changed, I’ve changed and our world has changed significantly.
Here are my top 20 learnings after 20 years in business:
1. Have tenacity: Starting business at 24 when the state was recovering from an economic recession has instilled a never-give-up-attitude that has served well for other challenges that have followed.
2. Be genuine: Being true to who I am and embedding this value into our relationships with clients, team and suppliers has become key to our culture.
3. Take stock: Regularly assessing the health of the business has been important to continue to change with the times and remain on the front foot.
4. Don’t try to be the expert on everything: I get the experts in on areas I’m not familiar with or good at as they will do a far better job a lot more quickly!
5. Use a mentor: The objective perspective and the network that mentors have offered have been invaluable for me personally and for the business.
6. Retain talent: Given that our team is the lifeblood of the business, it has been imperative to retain and nurture talent and be flexible in the work arrangements that are needed to support this.
7. Commit to a values based culture: Values are the glue that sticks everyone together and ensures consistency in client relations and delivery of our services.
8. Act like big business: Bringing some business practices of larger businesses into play has stretched us and influenced our approach to the future.
9. Share responsibility and influence: Bringing senior team members into the inside workings of communikate et al has brought true engagement and management opportunities – sometimes rare in smaller businesses.
10. Be thirsty for learning: I’ve always loved learning about how business can be done differently.
11. Remain committed to ongoing improvement: I never stop aiming to understand what we have learned and how we can do things better as a result.
12. Reach out to a peer group: Bouncing ideas and issues off of a business peer group has brought wonderful new perspectives and sharp insights into the way things can be done. In recent times this group has been my Forum in The Entrepreneurs’ Organization.
13. Take care of myself: It took me a while to learn this one, but taking the time to exercise, eat well and spend time with family and friends has been critical to retaining energy, clarity and good health.
14. Balance life and work: Creating a management structure for communikate et al ten years ago so that I can spend quality time on the business and on family has ensured that the business remains sustainable and my family feels supported.
15. Play to strengths: My strengths, those of the team and the strengths of the business.
16. Be focussed and determined: With success has come challenging times, but steely determination and focus on what is important has proven to be an imperative.
17. Collaborate: The old adage that two heads are better than one, from my experience, does bring an even better outcome. Plus, it makes people feel connected.
18. Stay grounded: Remaining connected with those who are important to the business
19. Say thanks: To suppliers, team and clients. Letting them know they have made an impact makes it more meaningful for everyone
20. Have fun! Life is too short
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