Wednesday 22 November 2017

What I wish I'd known: The business you start out in isn't the business you end up in - businesses are living entities

Sonia Deasy, chief executive, Pestle & Mortar

Sonia Deasy
Sonia Deasy

Sonia Deasy

Everything takes longer than you think it will - in a start-up business, endless hours will be spent on e-mails, research, administration, cash-flow management, systems implementation and HR. Running your business takes time - in fact, it will take about 80pc of your time. You will only get to spend about 20pc of your time on the passionate part - the vision, the dream, the nice stuff.

Good employees are extremely difficult to find. It's easier to go along with a mediocre employee, but the easy option is never the best one. You need to be proactive - bad employees won't resign. I have found that it's crucial to surround myself with enthusiastic, hard-working, positive, ambitious people - the ups and downs of business are easier to cope with when you are supported by like-minded people.

When I started my business, it was my own brain that put up the most resistance - "it won't work/I don't have time/I might fail/what if I run out of money?" I know now that if you don't know it, you can learn it. Regarding my own productivity, I find that it increases tenfold if I treat myself like my own employee. The same applied to before I started my business - my own brain offered the biggest resistance. Deciding to create my own products was a huge step. Looking back now, I wish I had taken that step sooner.

Just like a marriage, the business that you start out in is not the business you end up in. Businesses are living breathing entities - constantly evolving. Be prepared to move with your business. It's crucially important to keep yourself industry educated so that you are always moving forward in the right direction.

Speaking of marriage, I'm lucky that my husband works closely with me and is as invested in the dream as I am. A new business can consume you. As a husband-and-wife team with five young children, we realised early on that work/life balance was crucial - otherwise your own business can suck the real life out of your life.

One thing I have learnt is that it is possible to be successful both in business and in family life - establish your priorities and balance your work accordingly. Otherwise it's just not worth it.

Sunday Indo Business

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