Tuesday 17 October 2017

'Never dismiss ideas, no matter how crazy they sound. File them away until the time is right...'

Annemarie Harte
Annemarie Harte

Annemarie Harte

My first 'proper' job was at the Daily Telegraph in London as a classified telesales rep on the Gardening section. I remember when I was told I got Gardening my heart sank - everyone else in the new intake had sexier sections, like Motors and Emporium, but I must have shown very little potential to be landed with the short straw.

Over the next two-and-a-half years, I learnt about sales, techniques, objections (there were many) and most importantly of all, listening. I believe it has stood me in good stead. Lesson learnt - when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Back in 1999, partying aside, I started working in 'new media' - all things internet-related. My newspaper colleagues thought I was mad leaving the security of newspapers, but it was a promotion, and I was determined to take every opportunity that presented itself if it meant making more money. Career enhancement was not the driver, but living in London with a three-year-old daughter was costly, so I didn't hesitate.

After a short time I was asked to look after the commercial development side of our websites and met one day with a chap who had this idea that people would search for mortgages online.

Initially, I was sceptical but the salesperson in me thought it would be a good fit for our online personal finance site and we went ahead and did a deal. His idea developed into Moneysupermarket.com, a huge success.

It taught me an important lesson: to never dismiss ideas, however crazy - keep them on file until the time is right.

For the last 10 years I have been in a CEO role - most recently with Hardware Association Ireland - and this current role has provided the greatest learning curve. I had no previous experience of this sector, save for being a DIY enthusiast, so I knew it would be a challenge. I didn't realise to what extent the sector suffered during the crash and how that affected our association's membership - businesses closing down, the next generation in a family business having to emigrate, massive debts arising from credit customers defaulting, and so on.

Having stood by the association during the worst of times, members are hopefully now seeing a renewed effort by the association to put their wants and needs at the centre of our efforts to rebuild. I stand by the simple business slogan of 'Plan, Do, Review' and intend to always apply it.

Sunday Indo Business

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