If you want to make a success of your own business, be passionate, trust your gut and don’t be afraid to ask for advice, says Jackie Hyde…
I feel very privileged these days to be considered an entrepreneur, as when I started work, a career was not on my agenda. I was married at 20 years of age and a family arrived not long after, so my personal dreams were very much my focus. What I can say, 33 years later, is that any female can enjoy a wonderful family life and a career.
When I reflect back, I can see now what changed my focus from going to work to earning a living and having a career. It all happened just over 28 years ago when I was first employed by Stanmore Insurance Brokers Ltd, leaving my corporate role within an insurance company behind. Looking after customers and fulfilling their needs just gave me a buzz and I have never looked back. Now I own two-thirds of my business, which specialises in insurance for the nursery sector, and continue to enjoy its wonderful development.
Whatever your industry, the approach a female entrepreneur needs to be successful are the same – so if you are considering starting out on your own journey, here are my five tips…
To be successful you have to be passionate about what you are doing. It is infectious and you will find it draws in many opportunities. I adore working with other passionate people and this often produces great relationships with customers, suppliers, etc.
Make sure you know what you want to achieve and where you are going, and ensure it’s clear to everyone around you. This isn’t particularly easy for me, I’ll confess, as I am quite a creative individual, so I’m always looking for new ideas and can be a bit of a challenge for those who work with me. Remember, you cannot have a successful business without a dedicated team, so they need to be part of the journey and it needs to be fulfilling for them as well as you.
You don’t know it all and running a business can be very difficult at times. I have been very fortunate to have built up some great contacts over the years, who have always been available for me to call upon when the need arises. It is therefore vital that you spend time going to networks/events and sharing ideas with all types of business owners to find good-quality peers. In turn, they will come to you for guidance and being there for someone else gives you a great feeling too.
Never try to change who you are or hide your beliefs. Being authentic is very important to me, both in business and my personal life. Occasionally, my views haven’t always been welcome but I’m straight, so people know where they stand. Someone once said to me, “You tell us when we are not delivering what you want but equally you let us know when things are good too.” Be proud of who you are.
I’m very instinctive but occasionally I have been persuaded to go against my gut feeling. It has rarely been a good decision when I’ve done that, so if you have that intuition, then stick with it!
Jackie Hyde is director at childcare and nursery insurance provider dot2dot.