What I Wish I’d Known Before I Went Into Business

Hindsight – it’s a wonderful thing! None of us know what’s around the corner, but here at Forward Ladies it’s our mission to support female entrepreneurs and women in the workplace and to create a global platform that connects those women to opportunities, networks, businesses and expertise that empowers them.

Forward Ladies

Words: Rachel Forchella; Photography: Silvana Trevale; 

Our annual National Awards are part of that platform, and last Friday saw the 2017 Midlands regional final. We’re not ones to miss out on an opportunity, and with so many accomplished and inspirational women all in one room we just had to ask: “What do you wish you’d known before you went into business?”

And here are their answers…

Gemma Allies, Owner & Founder of Skin Sincere and a finalist in the Young Entrepreneur category.

“Keep it simple – I tried to launch too many products and services at the same time. Also, take advice from the right people – people who know what they’re talking about! I wish I’d know how hard it was going to be – that I would need to be prepared, tough, resilient and tenacious right from the very start.”

Roseanna Croft, Owner of Roseanna Croft Jewellery and a finalist in the Young Entrepreneur category.

“Running a successful business is not as easy as the internet makes it out to be!!”

Harriet Butler, Director of Hazelwoods Property and finalist in the Young Entrepreneur category.

“To forward plan growth and have the knowledge to do so. Don’t be scared of success.”

Rebecca Bidwell, Director of Bidwell Henderson Costs Consultants Ltd. and WINNER in the Start Up category.

“Don’t stress about the small stuff – because there’s plenty of bigger stuff on its way to worry about!”

Danielle Thompson, Commercial Director of Purple Monster and WINNER in the Rising Star category.

“Team building and motivating your team are essential. You need people behind you who understand what you are trying to achieve.”

Laura Rycroft, Company Director at Progress Recruitment Solutions (UK) Ltd. and finalist in the SME Growth category.

“Delegate more and trust people to do what they need to do. Don’t take on too much – you become better and more efficient by delegating. Go with your gut instinct rather than what looks good on paper. Ultimately it’s all about the journey and you don’t always have to know the direction or the final destination.”

Raj Holness, Managing Director of Breaking the Silence (BTSUK) Ltd., finalist in the Not For Profit & Social Enterprise category and WINNER in the Inspiring Leader category.

“Passion will only take you so far – you need to understand the basics of what it takes to run a business. Also, you can’t do everything for free – know your worth and charge accordingly!”

Fleur Sexton, joint Managing Director of PET-Xi Training Ltd. and finalist in the Corporate Leader category.

“Nobody really knows what they’re doing! Be the best you can be and don’t compare yourself to others.”

Carol Shanahan, Managing Director of Synectics Solutions Ltd. and WINNER in the Corporate Leader category. 

“There’s a difference between being right and winning. It doesn’t matter how right you are, if you don’t act appropriately you’re still not winning.”

Fiona Patterson, Founding Director of Work Psychology Group and finalist in the SME Growth category and WINNER in the International category.

“How having access to a network and expertise would help with emotional resilience.”

Kim Morgan, Managing Director of Barefoot Coaching Ltd. and WINNER in the SME Emerging category.

“Trust your instincts and be true to yourself – don’t be distracted by other people telling you how to do it!”

Nabila Zulfiqar, Vice Chair of Mosaic West Midlands, one of Forward Ladies’ charity partners. 

“I wonder how much more I could have achieved if I’d had a mentor.”

Griselda Togobo, Managing Director of Forward Ladies.

“The importance of being able to sell an idea and the importance of networking. Business is all about people – people buy people.”

Finally, we’d like to share with you some words of wisdom from the event’s keynote speaker, Tricia Cusden, Founder & Managing Director of Look Fabulous Forever and Forward Ladies’ SME Emerging Businesswoman of the Year 2016 

In her speech Tricia told us of the amazing story of the conception, growth and expansion of her business which is the first company to create and sell pro-age makeup specially made for older faces, eyes & lips, and explained how her ultimate goal is to completely reframe what the idea of aging looks like in this day and age. After all, the “third act” is the best of times!

Tricia left us with these thoughts:

  1. Influence is important. Women have a soft power – use it get people on your side and “come with you”.
  2. Good entrepreneurs take risks, but be wise. Don’t risk more than you can afford to lose.
  3. Dare to dream big!

If you’d like to regularly meet up with other ambitious and like-minded women, why not join us at one of our Power Business Breakfast clubs, based in cities across the UK? The meetings usually take place on the same day each month from 9.30-11am – you can find more details here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/forward-ladies-6649089083

There are still a few tickets left for the North West, Wales & Ireland regional final in Manchester on Friday 13th October, and also for the 2017 National Awards Grand Final in Leeds on Friday 1st December. Get your ticket here: https://www.forwardladies.com/networking-events/

If you’d like to be considered for an award, or would like to nominate someone else, nominations for our 2018 Awards are now open – for more details see here: https://www.forwardladies.com/awards2018/