MY AP­PROACH TO BUSI­NESS VAL­UES

RICHARD CON­WAY SHARES SIX MORE STRATE­GIES HE HAS IM­PLE­MENTED TO ACHIEVE NINE YEARS (AND COUNT­ING!) OF SUS­TAINED BUSI­NESS GROWTH.

NZ Business - - CONTENTS - RICHARD CON­WAY IS THE FOUNDER AND CEO OF PURE SEO.

Richard Con­way shares six more strate­gies he has im­ple­mented to achieve nine years of sus­tained busi­ness growth.

C on­tin­u­ing on from last month’s col­umn, where I dis­cussed some of the strate­gies I’ve im­ple­mented dur­ing the growth of my busi­ness, now I’d like to con­tinue to talk about our ap­proach to val­ues. While there are many lessons to be learned on the path to suc­cess, a few as­pects are univer­sal. So here goes.

KNOW YOUR NUM­BERS

Cash­flow is the lifeblood of any busi­ness. With to­day’s smart ac­count­ing soft­ware, such as Xero, there’s sim­ply no rea­son not to fully un­der­stand your fi­nan­cials. Know­ing your cash­flow sit­u­a­tion is the key to growth – not just to make de­ci­sions about mov­ing for­ward with the busi­ness, but to en­sure you aren’t bor­row­ing when you don’t need to.

I’ve met many en­trepreneurs who have all had great busi­nesses on pa­per, but strug­gled with manag­ing cash­flow. This can lead to tak­ing out loans to sup­port your­self, or go as far as to dip into your mort­gage to keep wage pay­ments con­sis­tent. While cash­flow prob­lems can hap­pen for many rea­sons, there are ways you can suc­cess­fully keep on top of it.

Even worse are the en­trepreneurs who put their head in the sand and rely on oth­ers to look and ad­vise around their fi­nan­cials. Know your num­bers!

KNOW YOUR PEO­PLE

What is the most im­por­tant thing in the world? A great Maori proverb sums this up per­fectly: “He aha te mea nui o te ao. He tan­gata, he tan­gata, he tan­gata.” It is the peo­ple, it is the peo­ple, it is the peo­ple.

You can­not un­der­es­ti­mate the power and im­por­tance of great peo­ple in a busi­ness. Over the years, this has been one of our big­gest as­sets – how­ever, with­out a doubt one of our big­gest chal­lenges. I have made mis­takes by over-pro­mot­ing peo­ple – giv­ing in­di­vid­u­als roles or re­spon­si­bil­i­ties be­yond their ca­pa­bil­ity – and not get­ting rid of ‘bad ap­ples’ quickly enough.

While you have to ac­cept you’ll al­ways make th­ese mis­takes, the big­gest piece of pos­i­tive ad­vice is to al­low peo­ple to flour­ish. It is in­spir­ing the num­ber of times the peo­ple at Pure have done things or sug­gested things which have been fun­da­men­tal to our suc­cess.

Give them re­spon­si­bil­ity and the abil­ity to think for them­selves, and your peo­ple will al­ways help guide your busi­ness in the right di­rec­tion.

THE TALL POPPY SYN­DROME

There will un­for­tu­nately al­ways be a seg­ment of peo­ple who are quick to crit­i­cise and cut you down. It is re­ally hard not to take this to heart, or have it im­pact on you in a neg­a­tive man­ner. It is even harder when it is for­mer em­ploy­ees whom you have only treated with re­spect and dig­nity. You can’t ex­pect the world to be per­fect, so the way I have dealt with this is to sur­round my­self with my ‘tribe’, sim­i­lar peo­ple who also have a growth mind­set.

I have joined or­gan­i­sa­tions like En­trepreneurs Or­gan­i­sa­tion (EO) and NZ Lead­ers, where I get to speak with other suc­cess­ful peo­ple and re­turn my fo­cus to mo­ti­va­tion and in­spi­ra­tion.

You of­ten be­come a prod­uct of who you sur­round your­self with, and pos­i­tive peo­ple who want to see you suc­ceed in your out-of-of­fice life are just as valu­able.

TIME TO RE­FLECT

We are of­ten so caught up in the day-to-day things and look­ing for­ward to what we wish to ac­com­plish, we for­get to look at how far we have come and what we have achieved. If some­one had told me nine years ago I would have a busi­ness span­ning three coun­tries, with 55 peo­ple re­ly­ing on me for their in­come I would not have be­lieved them.

Tak­ing the time to re­flect is im­por­tant. I some­times en­ter busi­ness awards as they force me to re­flect and think about what we have achieved, and to fur­ther un­der­stand the strate­gies and val­ues that brought us where we are to­day.

CHOOSE YOUR AT­TI­TUDE

We are all in con­trol of how we feel. It is easy to blame other peo­ple for prob­lems and fo­cus on the neg­a­tive. But who does that im­pact neg­a­tively on? Our­selves and those around us.

Bad things hap­pen that we have no con­trol over, but what we do con­trol is how we re­act to them.

A cou­ple of years ago I was lucky enough to spend some time with an amaz­ing woman, De­bra Searle (https://www. de­brasearle.com/), who has some great in­sights and tools about how you can choose your at­ti­tude. Fo­cus­ing on the pos­i­tive will help gen­er­ate a so­lu­tion-based mind­set, rather than a prob­lem­based one.

CEL­E­BRATE SUC­CESS

How you judge the suc­cess of your day is sim­i­lar to your at­ti­tude. We can have ten good things hap­pen in a day, then one bad thing hap­pens and we fo­cus on that. This is only hu­man na­ture, so it’s equally as im­por­tant to put em­pha­sis on the suc­cesses over the fail­ures.

Cel­e­brate the good events and feed­back, and you’ll pro­mote a cul­ture that wishes to suc­ceed along­side you.

Next year will be our tenth year in busi­ness and we will be look­ing to con­tinue to ex­pand, evolve and grow. I don’t know what the fu­ture brings, there will def­i­nitely be dis­rup­tions to our in­dus­try and we will need to pivot (again!).

One thing is for sure though; it will be a lot of fun and it will have its chal­lenges.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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