Alldens Lane, a leading business advisory and consulting firm with a unique focus on supporting women-owned enterprises recently hosted the latest edition of its #AnEveningWith initiative. Under the auspices of its WCEO Academy, this edition of #AnEveningWith brought together emerging women entrepreneurs in the small and medium scale business sector and a group of established business leaders from the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO). The YPO is a global network of young chief executives with approximately 22,000 members in more than 125 countries. It is the premier chief executive leadership organization in the world.
Speaking about the event, Founder and Principal of Alldens Lane, Ruka Sanusi, said, “What was striking, beneficial and humbling for me was the enthusiasm, the interest and the commitment of YPO members to engage with, impart counsel and gain further insights from each and every one of the women there present who have businesses in the small and growing business sector.”
Here are some key learnings from the event.
The entrepreneurial mindset
- Not everyone is made for business. There is a lot of risk-taking in business and not everyone is cut out for it
- Know your numbers!
- Pay attention to every aspect of your being, the friendships you forge, the acquaintances you make, personal & business relationships; everything is useful. The many different acquaintances from your past may well be the building blocks or sometimes even the very foundation upon which your future dreams will be built
- Be bold, believe in what you are doing and be creative; even in difficult times and in uncertainties. Be the change you want to see
- Take risks (measured and guided, if you can); but surely, take some risks and dare to dream
Values in business
- The most important of business values is respect; respect for self and respect for others. Regard and consideration for your clients and for your staff is very crucial
Selecting your team
- Don’t be obsessed with academic qualifications. Look for the value added; look out for what else the candidate brings to the table. Remember: Character ALWAYS over Skill
- One chance meeting can be a great turning point. Be prepared at all times. Leverage your networks – be persistent about your value proposition but do so respectfully and professionally
- When you are given an opportunity to deliver or to be a service provider, make sure you do so excellently. Competition is real. Demonstrate the distinctiveness of the service that you have. Be diligent
- In operating your business, don’t assume that everyone has an entrepreneurial mindset. Coach, mentor and motivate your team to be who you need them to be
- Pay attention to who you put on your team: be ‘intentional’ about who you hire. Have no qualms about not taking on everyone. Do not be apologetic about seeking and demanding excellence to match your intended brand
- There is a ‘best-fit’ team for every dream and every endeavour; find yours
Inspiring your team
- Sell the business aspiration, the business vision, to your staff. If you successfully sell the idea, it makes staff more motivated
- Demand accountability from your team. Give them responsibility and demand that they deliver
- Be prepared for the unknown. Business and entrepreneurship demands that you rise up to the challenges and opportunities of uncertainty. This may also lead you into many wonderful new experiences and discoveries that you didn’t anticipate possible. So embrace uncertainty, as it is always certain to occur.
Business brand and personal brand
- Pay attention to the attributes of the brand you’re looking to build. You must be the living essence of the brand you intend to project
- Know your stuff without fail! Look the part. Think, walk, talk, breathe and live the brand! Be the brand first; your brand reflects you. And make sure you get the best fit team to live the brand with you
Pay attention to detail
- Great leaders follow up! So many fail to the failings of forgetting to do this. Great leaders follow up. Make sure you do not lose track of things!