Posted on February 28, 2013 @ 01:48:00 PM by Paul Meagher
Julie Allinson, founder and owner of the successful eyewear company eyebobs, offers the following advice to those starting and growing a business:
- Decide early on if you want to own the whole company or if you want investors involved. If it is a capital intensive business, then investors may be required.
- The main person you need to listen to is the customer. You might not like their advice, but you need to listen.
- Regarding employees: Surround yourself with employees you like and trust because they are running your business. Hire slow, fire fast. If it is not the right fit, then it is unlikely in a small business that you are going to make it the right fit because you do not have enough bodies around, especially when you are just starting out. The hardest lesson to learn for a growing company is that some of the people who helped you get to a certain level of growth may not be the people who will help you get to the next level. Feelings of loyalty may conflict with the requirements for further growth. Some employees either can't or won't peddle as fast as required in a growing company. Others can pick up the pace and will continue to find a place in the company.
- It is important to create an atmosphere were employees can have fun, contribute, and feel comfortable.
- Move towards open book management if trust is central to your business philosophy. Open book management is an ongoing learning process.
- Energy and passion for the business comes from learning best practices in other businesses (for Julie, mostly non eye-wear related companies) and thinking about how their approach might apply to her own business, learning from employees on the front line, and the constant feeling that there is more that they can be doing for their customer. Learning is what keeps business interesting.