Dawn Gibbins MBE, seen here with her Mum, is an entrepreneur with a difference.
After an early bohemian backpacking lifestyle, Dawn set up a company from home that today has grown to be a world leader, with offices in 30 countries and 12 manufacturing plants around the globe. Along the way she has won the Veuve Clicquot Businesswoman of the Year Award and been voted Most Influential Person in British Manufacturing.
Dawn has been recognised by Her Majesty the Queen as a Pioneer for the Life of Our Nation and won many more awards including SHE International Businesswoman of the Year This new award is aimed at a woman who has shown unprecedented entrepreneurial spirit in her bid to achieve success in business or industry, both here and abroad.
As a conference speaker, Dawn’s charismatic, dynamic style is constantly in demand, captivating audiences around the globe. She is particularly keen to inspire women entrepreneurs and has featured on TV and been keynote speaker at Women in Business conferences across the UK, in Singapore, Bahrain and Oman.
“Inspiring, revitalising and transforming UK business is at the heart of my philosophy. My mission (passion) is to transform Britain into a happier, healthier and more prosperous nation. I thrive on change and make it a force for good.”
The recent sale of her business gives Dawn the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong ambition to create a social enterprise that promotes, educates and supports the concept of Feng Shui and healthy environments.
A qualified Feng Shui practitioner and member of the Executive Committee of the Feng Shui Society, Dawn’s recent initiatives include the introduction of ‘Floor Shui’ for working environments. A key element has been launch of Barefoot Living, a new company with a mission to transform living environments with attractive natural stone carpets and to develop a range of environmentally stimulating seamless flooring for homes.
Dawn has written on topics ranging from Leadership to Marketing, from Strategy to HR to business wellbeing and provides us with invaluable tips and advice;
“Sharing ideas, sharing experiences and lessons learned. Together we will do it!”
* Do it Differently (BIG Surprise for your customers)
* Do it Better (Better & BIGGER than your Competitors)
* Do it, flaunt it (Look BIG, get noticed)
* Do it, with Passion (BIG Passion to please)
* Do it, and enjoy it (BIG fun, Make Friends, Network)
Now, Dawn has set her sights even higher.
“It all began with my interest in Feng Shui”
In 2008, I established the Barefoof Fengshui Foundation with a mission to make Britain a happy, healthy and prosperous society by using the principles of Fengshui. Our first major community project was to commission Simon Brown, a leading practitioner, to conduct a study of the town. “Our aim was to create fresh ideas and to breathe new life into Congleton. I am so lucky to live in the wonderful town of Congleton, in the heart of Cheshire. And I am very much involved with an initiative, ‘My Beartown’, to transform the town’s environment.”
“Dare to be different” is of Dawn’s defining statement and shines through in her top 10 tips;
1. Dream the dream …..
Every would-be entrepreneur needs vision. Visualise exactly where you want to be and have a mission to share that vision with everyone you meet.
2. … but challenge your motives
The world is full of people with dreams of becoming writers or painters. But almost all successful authors started by dreaming not of being a writer but of writing – the subtle difference is, they get their buzz from the act of doing, rather than the image of being. Caravaggio didn’t dream of being a painter; he had a burning desire to paint. Better than anyone else in the world.
3. Behave like a leader
To become a leader you have to think like a leader and act like a leader. I remember a small software company based in Birmingham that used to work from incredibly run down offices above a downtown car showroom. Turnover was less than one million and they were in their second year of loss. In a Damascus moment they had the vision to take on the international pharmaceutical sector, offering clinical trials software solutions costing a million pounds plus. By thinking, sounding, acting like a world leader, they became one; a multi million turnover company operating around the globe that has even shaken off the marketing muscle of IBM and Oracle.
Dare to be different – stand out from the crowd – and dare to grasp opportunities.
5. Sit the same side of the table
I sometimes refer to this as TLC – Think Like a Customer, Talk Like a Customer. It is remarkable how many companies talk at their customers, rather than sharing a dialogue with them as equals. Winning companies speak the language of their prospective customers and quickly slip into a conversational style that is ‘the same side of the table’.
6. Don’t believe the Mousetrap Theory
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said “Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.” Waldo might have been good at writing epithets, but he was no businessman. The graveyard of businesses is littered with fantastic ideas that were never promoted with vigour. Remember Betamax? An infinitely superior video recording format to VHS but the inventers, Sony, rested on the laurels of product superiority.
7. Employ mavericks.
Entrepreneurs are Prima Donnas and that carries its own hidden dangers; the “I know it all and I always know best” syndrome. Successful entrepreneurs surround themselves with partners who are better than themselves – and then let them get on with it. David Ogilvy once said “If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants.” Was he right? Well he did grow from door-to-door salesman to owning one of the most successful ad agencies in the world. And while you are employing big hitters, make sure they have a maverick streak. They need to have the balls to challenge you when you are wrong. I have mavericks in place in every one of my companies around the world.
8. Invest in your staff and your partners
It is a truism that your staff are your greatest asset. The problem with truisms is that they become taglines rather than a philosophy, so break the mould. Invest in psychometrics to ensure that your people are in exactly the right slot; they need to feel good about themselves and the contribution they are making. Then help them to stretch themselves. There are few things more rewarding than helping people realise they are capable of achieving things they previously didn’t believe possible.
9. Value before cost
Young businesses fall into the bear trap of buying sales – selling on cost. Recognise the worth of your products or services and sell on value. That was one of my own early learning experiences.
10 Don’t just dream it, do it!
The hardest one of them all – but the most rewarding.
WE thank Dawn for inspiring us to inspire you.