1. Do not be afraid to carve your own path
In business as in life - there is a pressure to behave in a certain way, to follow the rules, to conform to the general way of doing things. There is a perceived threat that failure to do so will mark your demise - if everyone else is doing it, it must be right, right?
No. Not necessarily. You must be brave enough to do what works for you. Really assess, what is most important in your business, what will make the greatest difference and have the best impact? No brand - even big globals with seemingly infinite resources - can do everything. You must choose what to do and - vitally - what not to do.
Take comfort, that every now and again, big brands have to go through this too. As a business swells, so too do initiatives that stop being a good idea. They can become distractions and detract focus from the main goal. It takes bravery to suggest such measures in a boardroom, but every now and again, a severe culling and reset is needed to stay on track. Though it may seem drastic to cut back on all product lines bar one, go dark on social or say no to industry “must-dos” - large corporations have been known to take these actions and - should you need to - you can too.
You must be able to critique your business - what works, what doesn’t and what will get you further towards where you want to be? Switch off the outside noise and focus. Sometimes, this means saying no to things that your competitors are doing and behaving in a way that other brands are not. If you feel this is the best route for you, your business and brand - this is absolutely what you must do. Your business deserves this shot at success.
2. Check that everyone is in the right role for their talent
I believe everyone has a talent and part of their own personal development in life lies in discovering this and nurturing it.
This does not mean they are currently doing so within your company. There is a commonality between all businesses that brilliant people can often be in the wrong position. This is damaging to the business and the individuals within it. Your job as a leader is to recognise this mismatch and find a better solution.
In a large company there can be a reluctance to admit this and take action, often due to the seniority, reputation and/or salary an individual commands. It is an expensive mistake. In small and medium-sized companies, there can be an over-reliance on what that individual brings to the company, a belief that no one will be able to do all that they do.
a) If that is true, this is a bigger issue you need to address - no one in your company should hold that much weight unless it’s their own company.
b) More likely, that belief is simply not true. While there may be some pain in readjusting your team and there will always be a resettling period, think of the long term gains. Project one year, three years, five years in the future. What does your company look like? How will that person contribute to that journey? Are they the best choice for the job or just what you have available right now? You must remove dead wood to nurture healthy growth.
A reminder, this doesn’t necessarily mean removing someone from the company. It can often be that they are not in a role that is the best fit for their talents. Finding where they can excel and cultivate what they’re great at is the best solution for all.
3. Think big - but try small first
Actually this is something big corporations adopted from start ups and over the past decade or so has become more common. Yet, I see smaller companies not doing this for fear of being seen as small players. Essentially it’s about running small, low-risk, pilot projects and embracing the test-learn-iterate approach used by start ups and tech companies.
It centres on the mantra “Done is better than perfect” and trialling your idea, getting it out there, seeing how the world responds and then refining it. Do not be afraid to do this. With that lovely new phone in your hands, you do not even blink at the fact the updates are often buggy. So what? They’ll fix it, but they can only know it’s buggy because you tried it. With every new iteration, the product will always get better.
We accept this for tech, cars, clothing, cosmetics - but do not be afraid to try this in different areas of your business. Your marketing, your partnerships, your business operations. Obviously in your planning, you need to manage any potential risk to the business, as well as understand your measurement framework and how you will scale an idea if it works. But you will move further and faster in your business if you lose the belief that everything must be perfect and figured out before it is introduced. It does not. Such pressure can be overwhelming and paralyzing. Imperfect action will lead to long-term success.
As always, I hope these thought starters inspire you in your business journey. If you want to explore how we can help you with your own creative brand and business, please book a call with us.
If we feel we’re not best placed to help you, we will always try to recommend an alternative. Our aim is to support as many creatives as we can, even if we don’t end up working together directly. We want to equip you with the resources you need to truly thrive.
I look forward to learning more about you and your beautiful brand.
To your enduring success.
Founder, Beautiful World Collective
We'll also keep you posted on our Beautiful World Makers Masterclasses - where we speak to visionaries and experts across the creative industry.