We all know a successful business doesn’t happen overnight. Years of planning, dedication and perseverance is required to ensure that a business delivers on its return of investment.
It’s all too easy to throw in the towel when the going gets tough, something most CEOs and entrepreneurs, like Penny Spencer, founder of Spencer Travel, have faced at some point in their careers.
Having faced many obstacles throughout her business journey, and experienced first hand the highs and lows of building a business, Penny offers her top 6 tips on what it takes to succeed and achieve business success, and why perseverance can be the difference between making it and missing out.
1. Have a passion for your business
I love travel and I have loved building a business around my passion. I love coming into work and putting in the hours as it is honestly my true passion. But that’s not to say that I’ve not days when I feel like I have been on a rollercoaster. In those moments, I look at all the positive things in my business and industry and I focus on those. Remind yourself why you started and where you’re heading, and what you want to achieve.
2. Physical exercise
You have to keep on top of the simple things. Your health and well-being is one of them. You need to stay fit and healthy – both mentally and physically, to keep a business running successfully. I make a point of exercising every morning to start the day with a positive frame of mind. This also helps me stay motivated and energetic throughout the work day.
3. Stay positive and be adaptable to change
Admittedly this is easier said than done. I’ll confess there have been times when trying to stay positive has been quite tough. Every business faces challenges and testing times. For example, September 11 crippled the airline travel industry, as people stopped flying. In order to work around this, we had to adapt to the situation and restructure some of our business offerings.
Remind yourself why you started and where you’re heading, and what you want to achieve
Our business had similar challenges with the GFC. Businesses were downsizing. Unnecessary travel ceased, clients lost their jobs. I really had to dig deep to stay motivated not just for myself but for my staff who looked up to me as a leader, mentor and secure business owner.
I went into survival mode. I made a contingency plan. My plan specified what we needed to achieve day by day. We looked at the figures every day. We looked at the profit and loss statements daily and made cuts that would enable us to retain staff. I also communicated with them on a daily basis to avoid any feeling of fear creeping through the business.
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4. You need a Business Plan
You hear it time and time again, but it’s so important to make a Business Plan. The importance of this cannot be underestimated. Make an annual plan, a five year plan and a 10 year plan. Review it regularly, both on your own and with your team.
5. Connect with other like-minded people
Find a group or organisation with either-industry related or business-related professionals that you can relate to, learn from and be inspired by. I am part of a travel industry Best Practice Group that includes nine other travel management companies. Every quarter we meet, analyse our figures, our business plans and assess best practices that work in our industry. This group has helped me navigate through some difficult times, as we are all operating in the same industry my colleagues can relate and often provide practical suggestions.
It’s so important to make a Business Plan. The importance of this cannot be underestimated
I’ve also been a member of the Entrepreneurs Organisation (EO) and The Executive Connection (TEC) – a group of CEO’s from different industries. TEC really took me on an incredible journey that helped me get my business to that next level. Yes it was daunting, and took me out of my comfort zone being in a room with other CEOs of large, and often, global companies. But I realised that if I could sit in the same room as these CEOS who have businesses that are considerably larger than mine and learn from them, it would be of huge benefit to me and my company.
6. Have a mentor
In the early stages of my business I realised, and accepted, that I needed help. I joined the Australian Businesswomen’s Network, a government mentoring program that is about the transfer of knowledge between members. The Network matches you with a suitable mentor that is experienced and can guide you through difficult times and ultimately help you reach the next level or stage of your business.
I run a multi-million dollar business, employ a few different teams of people and win industry awards but I still have a mentor. I believe you can always improve yourself, your team and your business and you should never stop the learning process. Learning brings growth, insight and further inspiration, and if you match this with smart planning and perseverance, I honestly believe there is no limit to what you can achieve.
Featured image via Pixabay under Creative Commons CC0
Penny Spencer is Managing Director of the Spencer Group of Companies, a successful entrepreneur and leader in her industry. With over 20 years’ experience in the industry and having founded her first business in 1998, Penny has since expanded her business portfolio to include 4 additional companies, forming the now multimillion dollar Spencer Group of Companies. An established industry leader, Penny is also a regular commentator in the media on issues of travel and business. She is also a member of various business industry organisations such as Entrepreneurs Organisation. Outside of the office, Penny’s charity work includes her role as Chair of ‘Spencer Travel Swim Safe’ a not -for-profit association which teaches children from disadvantaged areas how to swim and managing the various charities and not-for-profit campaigns that the Spencer Group of Companies supports.