As we begin to step on the career ladder, we might easily dismiss advice passed down to us by friends or family. Maybe it's a truth we don't want to hear, or a fear said aloud that we're not ready to face. And because we have our own ideas of what path we want to follow starting out, who hasn't occasionally brushed off wise words in favour of steamrolling ahead? But being a successful entrepreneur is a particularly long journey; it frequently involves a series of missteps, mistakes and plenty of life lessons learnt along the way in. Success will come, but as our 2017 Businesswoman of the Year Award nominees know, it takes dedication and work. No man, or in this case, woman, is an island and to keep persisting through the tough times, you need words of wisdom from those who have done it before - a helping hand (or two) to guide you. How you apply this new knowledge throughout your career journey can make all the difference.
We asked some of the nominees in the Young Entrepreneurship category to share the best advice they ever received and how this changed their business stories.
"Imitation is the greatest form of flattery! As Mink were the first to market in 2006 in Ireland, this piece of advice really helped me keep my focus on our own business and plans, rather than be distracted with (the many) newcomers. I still use it today to ensure we remain innovative!"
Kate Verling, Managing Director, Mink Hand & Foot Spa
"Educate yourself; you're the only one who’s going to create your successes. I jumped from the construction industry into the food industry, but first studied nutrition and planned for nine months while Stephen studied other aspects of the business. We self-educated, protected the downside and backed ourselves."
Jenny Connolly, Director, The Lo-Cal Kitchen and The Lo-Cal Juicing Company
"The best piece of advice I received starting out was to go and do what I love because anything else won’t be the same. I have always loved what I do, I’m a real people person, and I love surrounding myself with positive people. I am lucky enough to have had very supportive parents who have helped me since day one and still do to this day."
Ceira Lambert, Director/Owner, Ceira Lambert Hair Consultancy
"One of the best bits of advice I’ve heard is to always try and maintain level-headed thinking. There can be lots of highs and lows running your own business, so this is definitely an important one! So on days where everything seems to be going wrong, try to find at least one positive from the day, and likewise on days where you get really good news, ask yourself what you could be doing better. This is something I’m definitely still working on, but really does help to keep you focused on the big picture and enable better decision-making."
Catherine Buggy, Owner, Boutique Bake
"The great companies did not reach the mountaintop by coincidence. They got there by relentlessly focusing on the right things. Like delivering outrageous value to their customers, exceeding their expectations and innovating like there is no tomorrow! Invest in the people that invest in you; they will be the heart and soul of your company. The true worth of your company walks in through the front doors of your building every morning and leaves through them every evening. This philosophy has remained at the core of our organisation right from the beginning. As Richard Branson says, ''Learn to look after your staff first, and the rest will follow.''"
Anita Murray, Managing Director, Pink Beauty Group
"One of the best pieces of advice I got starting out was not to publicise a firm opening date too far in advance as more than likely; there will be hiccups along the way! I've seen this happen so much to fellow business owners and it's a piece of advice that I always pass on to budding entrepreneurs now."
Chloe Harris, CEO, Chloe Harris Ltd
"For as long as I can remember I was always told to be driven by passion - to pick an industry, a job, a career that sparked a love and enthusiasm. The further my career has evolved I’ve found this one central gem of advice to be invaluable. As I’ve been required to spend longer hours working, dedicate more energy to travelling, and started reminiscing lyrically about the concept of an actual weekend not glued to my iPhone, it’s always been made easier by the simple fact that I do in fact love my job. That energy and excitement will be a lifeline in those darker moments when you inevitably start to question how to make it all work."
Zoe Rocha, Managing Director, LittleRock Pictures
"I have been given so much advice from so many incredible businesspeople in the last while, but the piece of advice that I would give to someone starting out is to identify your weaknesses, embrace them and work on improving them. For myself, it would be finances, as money is not a motivator of mine. In the last few months, I’ve been trying to become accustomed to the financial side of things, through meeting with accountants and getting as much guidance as I can. I’m naturally drawn to the slightly sexier side of running a business, like marketing, branding and content creation, so I have to push myself to get to grips with margins, markups and bottom lines."
Jennifer Rock, CEO, The Skin Nerd and Cleanse Off Mitt