Kate Morris: Taking your business to the next level

In 2012, Leaders in Heels interviewed Kate Morris, the founder of Adore Beauty, who shared what she had learned starting her own business.

Two and a half years later, Adore Beauty has tripled its revenue to a turnover of more than $7 million. Now the leading Australian beauty website, Kate has the big international beauty retailers firmly in her sight.

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A true cosmetics junkie, Kate’s passion for growing Adore Beauty is immediately apparent. After seeing Adore Beauty’s growth in the last three years, the next question for Kate is: if we can do this, what else can we do?

Are you embarking on the next stage of your business? Kate has shared her tips with Leaders in Heels to help you take your business to the next level:

Keep innovating

For Kate, it’s critical that Adore Beauty is at the cutting edge of retail innovation – which means accepting that the team has to have the courage to fail.

“You see this with a lot of new companies, they try a new thing once and when it doesn’t work they just stop. Of course, you can’t stop”

When something doesn’t go right or doesn’t work the way you had planned, ask yourself: what have I learned from this? Re-engineer the experiment to see how you can give it another go. Do you chuck it out, change it, or try again? The one key lesson that Kate has learned is to just keep going!

Focus on your culture

Working out your company’s values is key to guiding your strategy and decision-making. In Kate’s experience, life as a business owner will often present you with two paths that both seem okay. Resolve these challenges by having a clear picture in your mind about where you want the business to be in 10 years time. Kate recommends taking time out of the business to work out what values are important to you. What will make the business better? What will make it a place where your staff wants to work? What will make it a place that you want to work? What will make your customers come back?

Don’t be distracted by your competitors

While it is great to keep an eye on the landscape and reviewing the environment that you are doing business in, don’t fall into the trap of focusing on everyone else. Keep focused on how your business relates to your customers and your goals. What value are you driving?

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Make sure everything is scalable

Can you get your goods out the door and maintain your customer experience? Make sure you plan to grow at a speed that grows and maintains your customer base.

Focus on your transition from founder to CEO

Be strict with yourself! You need to set up systems and start delegating to take your business forward.

You have to get past the stage where you think ‘oh, this is easy, I’ll just do it!’ – there comes a point where this attitude holds the business back”

Kate has seen her role change over the last couple of years, and now looks to the key areas of her business where she can add significant value. As a CEO, she recommends hiring, supporting and trusting your staff to do their job, to help you focus on achieving your business goals. Kate also notes that there is a temptation to shy away from critically reviewing yourself and your performance: it is okay not to be good at everything! What is important is identifying your strengths and weaknesses, and considering training or mentoring if you need extra support.

Invest in your systems

Don’t shy away from difficulties updating your systems to the required level to support your growth. While Kate admits that replacing Adore Beauty’s entire ERP system while the business was moving presented a big challenge, it’s critical that your systems can support your growth.

So what’s next for Kate? From a rapidly expanding brand portfolio to spreading the word on Adore Beauty, we can’t wait to see what is in store for this inspiring entrepreneur.

Kate’s final piece of advice for Leaders in Heels readers: While growth is an exciting time for any business, don’t lose your head!