As Co-Founder of Voxpro, Ireland’s largest international provider of customer experience and technical support, I have learned a thing or two over the past 20 years. Having led Voxpro at the helm through ups and downs, including two recessions, and come out strong, I’m often asked what I would do differently or what advice would I offer somebody starting off in business. Here are my top 5 tips to anybody starting a new venture or looking to set up their own business:
1. Make key hires… But don’t over-rely on industry experts.
I know from experience that when a business is in its start up stage you can easily become consumed with focusing on the cash flow and balance sheet. My advice is to make key hires when you need them, and not to worry that you can’t afford it. Adding a key hire to your team and having to provide them with a big salary can seem daunting at a time when cashflow is tight, but not investing in the right people to propel your business forward can be more costly in the long run.
While I believe it’s necessary to make those key hires in the early stages of business, it’s important not to over-rely on ‘industry experts.’ Seek out industry specialists, listen to their advice and learn from their experience, but remember that at the end of the day you have to trust your own best judgement. My ‘gut feeling’ has yet to prove me wrong.
2. Look into the future
It’s been our USP to anticipate change. We don’t just anticipate our clients’ needs, we anticipate our customers’ customers’ needs, and that has been our differentiator.
It’s easy to become preoccupied with present opportunities, but it’s critical to evaluate your surroundings and to look ahead to identify future opportunities that will give your business longevity. We have always strived to stay ahead of technological advancements, in an age of rapid change and disruption, this is especially important.
3. Do What You Love
I passionately believe that we don’t have a “work life” and a “personal life”, we all just have a life and to make that the best life you can, you have to love what you do. Follow your passions and find work that you love.
Maintaining a work life balance is really important, especially in this digitally connected “always on” age, but if you don’t enjoy your work, you’ll never be truly happy. Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life.
4. Choose the right business partners
I’ve been fortunate that my co-founder is my husband, but my advice to people starting a business is to pick a business partner that you can trust- your relationship with your business partner is like a marriage! Make sure to keep all channels of communication open and always keep a healthy, honest dialogue on all business matters.
5. Evolve or die!
In Voxpro we’re always in a start-up mode mentality, it keeps things exciting and fresh. Each of our customer’s needs are unique and ever evolving, which is very stimulating for us as a company as it keeps things interesting and drives innovation.
Most companies have a concrete set of visions and goals, but it’s important that these aren’t resolute. Making an honest commitment to your values is important, but it’s key that both the company’s visions and goals have the ability to change and adapt as the industry around you does too.
As I always say, “Evolve or Die”!