One thing I wish I’d known when I started my business…

Anyone starting their small business journey will agree: the more lessons you can take from the school of experience, the better. To provide some useful additions to the business toolkits of entrepreneurs and employees alike, these Australian entrepreneurs share the one key lesson they wish they’d known when they were starting out.

 

“I wish I’d really understood the value of superstar team members.” – Adam Schwab, Co-founder and Managing Director of Lux Group

Schwab is a regular on BRW's Young Rich list and since 2010 has grown e-commerce group Lux Group to 15 brands (the likes of Luxury Escapes, The Gourmet, Living Social, Spreets) and more than 400 employees.

“It’s easy to think that controlling costs is important (and it is) but building a great team will drive the business forward better than any founder or founding team will be able to.”

“It doesn’t matter whether a decision is good or bad, just make it quickly.”

 

“I wish I’d known how important it is to be true to yourself.” – Angela Ferguson, founder and MD of Futurespace

Ferguson has been credited for creating innovative, futuristic, and award-winning workplace designs for some of Australia’s leading companies including Google, Microsoft, and JLL and is widely recognised as a leader in the field of architecture and interior design.

“As my business grew, I thought I had to be more corporate and serious. It took me a while to stop trying to compete with the boys and just be myself. The more authentic I am, the more successful I am not only at work but in all areas of life.”

“I wish I’d known how important it is to make decisions quickly.” – Matt Griffin, CEO and Founder of Deepend

Griffin founded Deepend, in 2000, and the business has grown to become Australia's largest independent digital agency with offices in Sydney and Melbourne.

“It doesn’t matter whether a decision is good or bad, just make it quickly. If it’s a bad decision, you have more time to correct it. If it’s a good one, you benefit sooner from the positive impact because you didn’t procrastinate in the first place.”

“If I was aware of the value of mistakes, I would have felt a better about making and accepting mistakes along the journey.”

“I wish I’d known more about how much the economy would affect business.” – Duncan Hare, founder and director of Inline Construction Group

Hare founded Inline Construction Group in 2006, and since has developed an industry-wide reputation for quality building.

“In an economic lull, people often want more for less, which is a difficult ask in the building industry,” says Duncan Hare. “When you’re in construction, the factors that affect business are often unpredictable, like how the work cycle changes with the economy,” he says. “And with that, people’s expectations change too. But when you know the economic variables, you can plan for it.”

 

“I wish I’d known that mistakes are the single best way to learn and grow, both professionally and personally.” – Ben Handler, co-founder and CEO, Cohen Handler

Ben Handler and his co-founder Simon Cohen started Cohen Handler buyers’ agency in 2009 and has since become Australia's largest buyers’ agency, with fifty employees in six offices across three states.

“Safe to say that Cohen Handler has grown successfully in the last seven years, but this success is not without hiccups along the way. If I was aware of the value of mistakes, I would have felt a better about making and accepting mistakes along the journey.”

“I wish I’d known it’s a marathon and not a sprint.” – Amanda Newton, founder and director of Negotiis Advisors

Amanda Newton founded Negotiis Advisors as an accountancy and business advisory firm and as director, she was a finalist for the 2015 Business Person of the Year award.

“Conserve your energy. Business is relentless. Even when you are top in your field, it’s a challenge to maintain that space. To sustain momentum, it’s important to celebrate the successes before you push yourself further again. If you don't, you'll not see the progress you are making and it will always seem like a long road ahead.”

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