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The top 8 pieces of business advice I have learnt from my clients

As a business owner, it’s true to say that you never stop learning. It was whilst reflecting on this very point that I came to appreciate how much I have learnt in the last 3 years, not just from the day job but from the diverse range of clients I have had the pleasure to work with. Being surrounded by their entrepreneurial spirit, focus and drive has certainly provided some of my biggest sources of inspiration. But shhhhhh let’s not tell them that, instead here is a list of the top 8 pieces of business advice I have learnt working alongside them;

1)     Go with your gut instinct

One we have heard so many times but all my clients agree that your gut instinct is there for a reason, to trust it as you will often be right! Also to back this up with research where you can before making key decisions. Not every client, project or partnership will be right for you, use your instinct to make the right choices, not just for the short term but for the long term.

2)     Push the boundaries

I have been so impressed by clients’ ability to take risks and push creative boundaries, without being afraid of what others might think. They are confident in their decisions and are happy to challenge the status quo whatever the outcome might be. My lecturer at university once told me that if you play safe, then you get a safe result! Would we have really achieved some of the great things we have in the world if we didn’t shake things up now and again?

3)     Build relationships at all levels

Boss or no boss some of the most successful people I have known in business have been those that are able to build relationships with staff at all levels – not necessarily to be friends with their employees but who are relatable and able when needed to show their sense of humanity. This engenders both respect and loyalty over the long term. 

4)     Be yourself … even if that means being different

With so many different personalities within teams, it can sometimes be hard to be yourself, tempering your view point or opinion. I see my clients regularly encourage their staff to have a voice, acknowledging the value of different thoughts and perspectives. (Sometimes the quietest person in the room can often have the best idea!) 

You’re the expert, you’re there for a reason and being different or having an alternative perspective can set you apart from the crowd, adding value to business.

5)     Pitch ideas on a Friday

If you are selling an idea, project or concept, one of my clients has an effective strategy of pitching on a Friday when people are more relaxed. This has often led to more positive outcomes turning Friday quite literally into Friyay! 

6)     Grow a thick skin and keep your eye on the prize

The determination, resilience and fight I have seen in some clients has been down- right impressive. They have a dream and are determined to do everything they can to achieve it. I’ve seen the personal sacrifice, blood, sweat and tears needed to turn their projects/businesses into a reality. Focus, focus and more focus were considered key to success, keeping your eye on the long- term goal and being honest that nobody will care quite as much as you do.

7)     Stay true to your values and remember why you started in the first place

With so many decisions to make it’s easy to sometimes lose focus or direction. I’ve often heard people say that the best way to regroup is to remember the reason why you set up your business in the first place. That and always staying true to your values, working with clients who share or respect those values. 

8)     Be curious and learn from your mistakes

 ‘Never stop being curious’ was a quote from a creative client of mine and I’ve not forgotten it. That notion of encouraging staff to ‘take it all in’, ask questions and to continually learn and push boundaries. Also to not see mistakes as a negative. We are all human, mistakes are going to happen, the key is learning from those mistakes and moving on.

What's the best piece of business advice you have been given?  I would love to hear them ....

Nina Walton

"With over 14 years marketing and event management experience, I started my career in media working in radio, and then for a regional newspaper business, specialising in event management, advertising and sponsorship. I then moved on to head up the marketing function for a Big 4 professional services firm in Newcastle, where I spent 9 years working across the marketing mix, specialising in a range of activity including campaign and marketing planning, events, PR, social media and business development. I love nothing more than working closely with clients and creating solutions that help their businesses grow."

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