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Leading the way as a start-up or fledgling business

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Jonathan Timmis is business consultant, coach and mentor for Boost's Growth Mentoring Programme. He highlights five key pillars of success to help leaders of new businesses grow and flourish.

Starting your own business can be an emotional rollercoaster.  One minute you are heading for the stars and the next you are upside down! It is invigorating, liberating, intoxicating and nerve-racking. As a business owner and business coach, I have been riding this roller coaster for many years.

Despite the many challenges and setbacks that I have faced and witnessed, my entrepreneurial flame still burns brightly. So, in this blog, I share what I believe are five key pillars to success. Enjoy the ride of a lifetime!

Five pillars of success

1. Take time to plan

Look before you leap. Excitement, passion, fear and uncertainty encourage you to rush ahead – ‘there is no time to waste’. You have to resist this urge. Take the time to think through your goals, your direction of travel, and to learn from every stage of the journey. Use your instincts and creativity, but at the same time properly think through your options. Ask yourself: Will it work? Will I get support from key players? Do I have the resources I need? (e.g. cash, skills, time) What can I or should I do differently from last time?

2. Communicate in a way to be heard and understood

As you are hurtling along on the rollercoaster it is easy to forget to communicate. You assume everyone gets it, everyone is on board and everyone knows what they should be doing. But that just isn’t the case. “I don’t have time” I hear you say.

Well, if you don’t invest the time, how can you expect your team to do the right things, at the right time and in the right way? Listen carefully to what others have to say, explain what you need in a language they understand and make sure their needs are also met with what you communicate.

3. Invest in building a network

Success is invariably a team effort. Form a network of trusted people or organisations you can rely on to support you. These can be customers, suppliers, key employees, and organisations like Boost that will help you build a network.

To forge these relationships, be honest with people, take a long term view so the focus is not just on financial profit today, and be willing to give. What goes around comes around in my experience!

4. Determination, commitment, and resilience are essential

Be under no illusion, setting up and driving a new business forward is hard work.  Even the most successful businesses will have faced challenges. Success requires:

  • a willingness to dig deep and go the extra mile
  • to remain committed and determined despite all that life throws at you
  • to make sacrifices whether time or money
  • you stand by your convictions despite the doubters.

But don’t be put off.  This is your baby. Your passion. Your dream. You will tap into capabilities and resilience that you never knew you had. The rewards and satisfaction will come, making all the hard work worthwhile.

5. Manage your wellbeing

Although being master of your destiny is rewarding and exciting, the hard work and pressure can take their toll. Especially if you allow your business to become all-consuming (a perilous path). I’ve been there and wouldn’t recommend it!

Take time out to exercise and keep yourself healthy in mind and body.  You will make much better decisions and it will give you the resilience you need to help you overcome the inevitable bumps in the road.

So enjoy the ride of a lifetime

Remember that joy is as much in the journey as it is in the destination. Don’t over obsess about tomorrow at the expense of what you can achieve today. Focus on building a strong foundation.  Allow opportunities to come to you by keeping an open mind.

Treat others with empathy and humility. Above all, never feel uncomfortable about reaching out for help. We all need a helping hand from time to time. 

Jonathan Timmis is a business consultant and coach and owner of Lunesdale Business Consulting. He has 25 years’ experience working alongside Lancashire based SME and owner-managed businesses helping them overcome challenges and achieve their goals.

He is also a mentor for Boost's Growth Mentoring Programme. Lunsdale Business consulting is a member of Boost & Co – a group of public and private sector organisations that can help Lancashire businesses grow.

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