Raising the bar in 2019, according to the experts
January is as always, an excellent time to turn over a new leaf. That’s what new year’s resolutions are about – making the changes you need to make in order that you could be a better, hopefully happier, perhaps healthier person.
That’s all fine and well in your personal approach to life, but remembering to exercise more, spend more time with your friends, or consume less sugar only has minimal impact on your professional life, and the lives of your colleagues and work partners. By taking the following tips from experts and business leaders, we can show you how you can improve your work life and your business’ productivity.
We sought the advice of some of Australia’s emerging business leaders about how they will be looking to raise the bar in 2019.
Think differently about leadership
Achieving self-awareness is not something you can do on your own. Daunting as it may seem, seeking advice, constructive criticism and objective feedback from a trusted friend, colleague or family member is a good place to start. Seeking feedback from your reports or employees is also widely seen as positive and productive business practice. Feedback allows you the chance to see behaviour, habits and personal tendencies you might not have been able to identify before and a willingness to see yourself from someone else’s point of view will help see how your emotions, personality and communication style have an impact on those around you.
Stella Petrou Concha, who founded and is CEO of Parramatta-based finance management consultancy and recruitment agency, Reo Group (https://www.reogroup.com.au), says that the culture and connection in her team is a direct reflection of what she calls her “vibrational energy and mindset”.
“If I want to elevate my team, I need to elevate myself. One must look in the mirror regularly, seek feedback and self-improve,” she says.
Set goals; celebrate your achievements
Being successful in business is an achievement well worth celebrating. And while it’s important to keep an eye on the horizon and be constantly looking to build and improve, it’s equally important that you celebrate your achievements to date. This has many benefits: it improves employee morale; it affords you the chance to take a well-earned break; it gives you the chance to reflect on your accomplishments.
We asked Mellissa Larkin, Founder and Managing Director of legal services firm Peripheral Blue (http://peripheralblue.com.au), what she thinks is the best way to ensure significant business growth; she believes it’s important that every entrepreneur (or aspiring entrepreneur) take time to regularly reflect not only on their future goals, but also their achievements to date.
“Celebrating those successes and enjoying the moment reenergises you to keep moving forward,” she said.
Be willing to learn
The new year may be presenting you with a set of challenges commensurate with entering a new industry. But this, according to our experts, is nothing to be afraid of. Surrounding yourself with the right people is going to be a key factor in your success.
Michelle Joose, Managing Director of Business IT support service firm HotlineIT (https://hotlineit.com) believes that the principles behind all businesses and industries are fundamentally the same. She says that knowing this allows you to enter a new industry, or new phase of your career with the knowledge that you are well equipped to do the job.
“Once you have the right people around you,” Michelle says, “approach the industry like any other.”
Michelle also thinks that preparation is key, in that you need to learn about your customers, what it is you’ll be selling, as well as the challenges the industry and its stakeholders are facing.
“When you enter a new industry, you may not know what’s what, so your success will come down to your people,” she says. “You need to have people who know the industry inside and out and who you can trust to provide sound advice.”
Embrace technology – but don’t get distracted by it
The world is a big place, but IT and communications technology are allowing it to become that much smaller. Changes are occurring almost daily, which affords us all a host of opportunities, as well as several potential pitfalls for us to be wary of.
Clover (https://www.clover.com.au) founder and CEO Sahil Kaura says his company is adopting a strategy to continue to expand, and ensure they dominate the online financial services marketplace.
“To help more Australians access high quality savings and investment advice, Clover is partnering with financial advisers who will be able to use our technology to create customised digital advice solutions for their clients,” he says. Clover’s technology will, according to Sahil, allow financial advisers to offer customers the cost and transparency benefits of a 24 x 7 digital platform, all the while maintaining the benefits of a human relationship.
But while technology can be used to steadily advance businesses (like Clover has done), it’s very easy to be distracted by the ‘bells and whistles’ of emerging IT which may not suit the needs of your particular field. Adrian Johnstone, who co-founded and is CCO of fintech firm revolutionising financial advice, Practifi, (http://practifi.com) says that in order to grow, tech entrepreneurs need to stay focused on creating a product which satisfies a need in the market, while not getting too distracted by exciting new technologies which may not have commercial value.
“It’s also crucial to work with other complementary players when you’re starting out,” Adrian says, “to leverage your networks and connections to drive the best solutions for the industry.”
Take pride in what you do
It’s widely seen in the business world that this new year will see the continuing power shift move progressively towards the client and be in the client’s favour. There are no second chances when it comes to making a good first impression, so making it a point of pride in personal belief in your product or service – whatever it is you’re selling – can and will make a world of difference between success and falling behind in an all-too-competitive marketplace.
The fundamentals for success have been something that Maddison Selleck, the Chief Business Development Officer of web host and domain name registrar VentraIP (https://ventraip.com.au) has been considering for some time.
“You need to know the customer,” Maddison says. “What are their pain points? What brought them to you? What can your product do to help them?”
Maddison also thinks that its paramount that you listen to them, and learn from them – to know what it is the customer needs and wants, to deliver for them something they’ll love which will keep them coming back.
“Actually take the time to let your prospect describe what they need and shape your solution to fit their needs,” she says. “Don’t be the shady car salesman trying to sell a lemon to the little old lady. Build a product that you’re proud to represent and it’ll sell itself.”
Sound advice, one and all. A happy and prosperous 2019 to you!