#IMAGEinspires: Brilliant Career Lessons To Inspire You

Ireland's'successful businesswomen have climbed so many ladders and shattered so many ceilings that we can't help but look on in awe as they continue to break new boundaries. Entrepreneurship takes guts; you have to be daring, brave, inventive and boldly take risks that few would contemplate. The inspiring women?nominated in the Entrepreneurship category of the IMAGE Businesswoman of the Year Awards?are just a handful who have been there, done that and worn the T-shirt so many times, it's faded to nothing. As we approach our Gala Awards night on the 21st of November, we asked some of them to share their most valuable career lessons to date. Read them, memorise them and stick them on your fridge whenever you need a pick-me-up: ?

Build The Right Team Around You

A team is crucial to the success of any company. The nature of a start-up is not for the faint-hearted, and so it takes a very special type of person to be able to withstand that environment and be flexible and resilient. This also includes surrounding yourself with Mentors and having people in your corner to bounce ideas off and to get support and guidance around big decisions or situations that you may not have encountered before. And of course, not forgetting your friends and family will be part of your 'backroom team'. It's crucial that they will listen and support you. Ollwyn Moran, CEO & Founder, COGNIKIDS

Having people with the right skillset but more importantly, the right attitude is vital to a company. Surround yourself with people who get what you're trying to achieve and who work hard towards this but also who are also not afraid to voice their opinion and disagree with you if they think you're going in the wrong direction. Anne Butterly, CEO, Easydry?

At the end of the day, people do business with people. Your team is your most valuable asset in any company, and so it is critical that you invest in them and develop them and to always recognise and reward their great performance. Oonagh O'Hagan, Founder & Managing Director, Meaghers Pharmacy Group?

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Taking care of your staff comes first. Mary McKenna, Managing Director, Tour America

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Know When It's Okay To Say No

Where possible, avoid knee-jerk reactions instead try to evaluate every aspect of your decision and never be afraid to say NO. Some of our biggest mistakes in the early years were because we were afraid to say no primarily because we didn't want to let a customer down. In hindsight, this wasn't always the right thing. Sometimes under promising and overachieving is the better option. There is no commercial value in a yes that should be a no. Martina Craine & Suzanne Browne, Co-Founders, Handy Baby Products LTD

Be persistent. I always say that if someone tells me 'No' what I really hear is - 'you are not making it compelling enough for me at the moment, so you need to go away, think about it and come back with a better proposition.' Don't take a negative answer personally either, listen to what they are telling you and use that information to make you / your company / your product / your service, your whatever, better. And constantly use feedback to grow.?Ollwyn Moran, CEO & Founder, COGNIKIDS

Expanding Doesn't Need To Be Done Straight Away

Perfecting your service/offering and becoming known as the expert in your own area of strength is better than expansion for expansion sake. Linda Ennis, Managing Director, Beauty Academy

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Ask For Help

When starting out very few people have or know all skills necessary to setup a company. Whether it's a local enterprise board, a bank manager or another entrepreneur, never be shy about asking for help. We have yet to meet an entrepreneur who doesn't like to ?tell their story? as well as share their experiences, good and bad. For us, we certainly weren't completely skilled sales people, designers, marketers or directors instead we have learned these skills through the development of ClevaMama and not being afraid to ask for help. We always say to people be careful offering us help; we will take you up on it. What we learn in the morning, we apply in the afternoon.?Martina Craine & Suzanne Browne, Co-Founders, Handy Baby Products LTD

Find A Mentor

Don't be afraid to ask successful people for help or advice. They have probably been through the same issues but have overcome them. Anne Butterly, CEO, Easydry

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