Wednesday 28 September 2016

'I wish I'd had a business manager for the first few years - to take some of the pressure off'

Patricia McGrath, founder/principal, Hewitt College

Published 08/05/2016 | 02:30

Challenge yourself, says Patricia McGrath
Challenge yourself, says Patricia McGrath

'I wish that I had employed a business manager at the outset. While I knew exactly what was required to run an excellent school, I underestimated the demands that business-directed tasks would place on my time. Having a business manager for the first few years would have taken pressure off me, particularly as we grew so quickly.

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"Things can happen very quickly, be ready. Given the nature of our business, we were up and running almost immediately. The opening of Hewitt College was announced late June 2000 - and within one week we already had enrolments surpassing our break-even point.

"Looking back, I often wish I had known more about the great supports offered by Local Enterprise Offices across the country. Starting your own business is a challenge and I've found their training, mentoring and support invaluable. I am currently on their year-long Accelerate programme, which is designed to help entrepreneurs grow business.

"Hire people who are genuine and positive, and exude energy and enthusiasm. At the beginning of every job interview in Hewitt, I start with five minutes of rapid-fire questions to test job knowledge. Often, an interview can end after just 90 seconds as the candidate hasn't prepared properly. Also, I think it's important to trust my instincts.

"Always surround yourself with good people who are on the same page as you. Make sure you appreciate those around you - family and friends are priceless and should be told so.

"While I was thankful of their invaluable help when starting in business, I am even more grateful now. I always say there are two types of people - drains and radiators. Stay away from the drains and tell the radiators how much you appreciate them!

"Don't be afraid to congratulate yourself. Give yourself that well deserved pat on the back if you deserve it. Too often we knock ourselves down, but setting up a business - creating something from literally nothing - is a huge feat. Acknowledge just how great it is.

"It's so important to stay motivated. At times, things can get tough, but if you set clear and concise goals and work towards them that's half the battle. I find that working with young people is a great motivational tool. There's nothing better than inspiring young minds and ensuring they maximise their full potential. It's also important to continually challenge yourself."

Sunday Indo Business

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