Director of cake decorating company, Planet Cake
In the first five years there was a lot of temptation to diversify our offering to include things such as invitations and event management, and increase our revenue. However, I decided early on to only focus on our niche specialty – decorated fondant cakes. This decision meant that all of the energy, focus, business marketing and IP became very clear and targeted. We quite rapidly became experts and innovators in the industry and this is one of the main reasons behind our business success.
As a result of this focus we were also able to hire the best people in the industry, the best decorators and designers, as they were all attracted to wanting to work for Planet Cake. Now, 10 years on, when people think of cake they usually think of Planet Cake. It is definitely a case of: stick to what you do best and do it better and with more focus than anyone else.
It’s hard to say – to be honest, I’m not so business minded! I guess my business is all about me: my style and what I create, so an important part of developing thatwas staying true to myself – not worrying about what other people were doing – just following in my own path and passions. I think in doing that, I built up a strong folio of work that luckily was liked by some people who gave me work or wrote about it, which in turn lead to more work and more press. I also worked really hard, and continue to now as well. I think hard work is imperative to any kind of success.
Small business author, presenter and consultant
I have a strong desire to constantly improve my business. I allocate at least one hour every day to achieving this, and I make it my best hour in terms of being clear headed, energised and free of distractions. So I usually make it the first thing I do every morning.
Further to this, every Friday morning, I find a quiet place and ask myself a question: “How is my business better this week than it was last week?” and I detail what I have done.
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Last but not least, I have a success board in the corner of my office. I wipe it clear on 1 January – and throughout the year I add every victory/success I achieve. My success board is very inspiring and as the year progresses, it is hard not to feel a sense of progress. It certainly helps me get through those weeks that are a little more challenging than others.
When each of these three attitudes/activities are combined to become rituals, my business has thrived and continues to thrive. I have no doubt at all that they are the reason for my business success.
CPA and founder/owner of accountancy business, Viridity
Decide what it is you do, do it and do it well – and don’t do other things.
That means being sufficiently focused to resist the temptation to chase work that is outside your offering. It also means outsourcing all the things you don’t do – I outsource my HR, my IT, much of my marketing and more. The time you free up you can spend doing what you are good at.
Co-founder of online fashion retailer, Another Love
I believe it is key to start with a firm focus on who you want to be. Work backwards from there and don’t lose your focus. Be extremely persistent and believe in yourself and your strengths. Aim high and don’t take ‘no’ for an answer. There will be bumps along the way, but everything has a solution or another option. Nothing worthwhile was ever easy!
Now, over to you! What is the main thing you did in your business that you credit for getting it where it is today?