New Year – New You – Brand You

Forget New Year’s resolutions that are forgotten as quickly as they are spoken. We need more than wishful thinking if we are going to survive in what can be described as the worse possible business conditions in decades. I took this opportunity to ask a number of business women what lessons they learnt in 2009. But more importantly, I wanted to know, irrespective of the economic forecast of doom and gloom, what impact did this have on their outlook for business and what advice they would give to aspiring and established entrepreneurs in 2010?

Here are what these amazing women have to share…..
What was the key lesson you learnt for your business in 2009?
“I learnt that my building business was vulnerable to political, economic, social and technological factors. Political as most local councils decided to contract out all their building and renovation work; Economic as consumer confidence was affected by events in the banking sector; Social as lower consumer spending meant that less money was set aside for property renovation and Technological as more money was invested in research into industries and less into building new homes.”
Audrey Anderson, Firstcall Builders (London) Ltd.

“For Newell ARC Interiors, we really suffered as a direct hit due to the recession, as its success and growth was primarily supported by the construction and property market boom during the last 3 years. Since the collapse of the global financial market and the lack of financial leading, the need for our services were less required. Newell Occasions on the other hand continued to grow. This is due to the fact that there is no leading issues attached to this type of business, any financial collapse would have no impact. I found that businesses that have a direct/indirect link to particular sectors, especially property & construction; the mMarket will always suffer from any financial unbalances no matter how small.”
Tracey Newell, ARC Interiors

“The key lesson is that one should never underestimate the cultural differences in doing business with people from a foreign country.”
Yvonne Witter, Ampod Business Consulting & Training

“Expensive advertising does not guarantee new business, until repeated six or more times.”
Maureen Smith, Tropical Connections & Distributors of ‘British Caribbean Enterprises: A Century of Challenges and Successes’

“Tenacity is ‘key‘ in business! Keep away from all that is negative and maintain a PMA (Positive Mental Attitude)”
Joy Odunsi, Potential U and Personal Stylist, London College of Fashion.

“Resilience and keep going even when the forces say ‘give up and walk away!’ In the hard times, it also showed who really mattered.”
Anita Witter, Jewel Isle Productions Ltd

“I met thousands of people last year through the course of my workshops and events around the country, and it still surprises me how much inner confidence or lack of it, affects how people perceive their real value, and that of their business.”
Kiki Maury, Kiki Maury Consultancy

“Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves! Being a woman in business is tough.”
Bianca Simpson, ReNu Body Clinic

Are you optimistic about 2010 and if yes/no, why?
“I am optimistic because I believe that there is enough to go around. There is a global market place not a London or South East or European but GLOBAL market. That is a huge playing field!”
Yvonne Witter, Ampod Business Consulting & Training

“Very optimistic but also realistic that my market place is changing rapidly, what with the economic situation and the downward pressure on public sector (and private sector) budgets. This presents a great opportunity for a fundamental business review, and to look at developing new ideas and delivery systems for new customers whilst at the same time, keeping existing customers happy and engaged.”
Kiki Maury, Kiki Maury Consultancy

“I am optimistic about 2010, as it appears that the government is willing to invest more money into building and construction.”
Audrey Anderson, Firstcall Builders (London) Ltd

“Yes, because I have a renewed vigour and I say if 2009 didn’t kill me, 2010 can’t plus I have decided on new strategies.”
Anita Witter, Jewel Isle Productions Ltd

“Yes. A new direction is planned for my business that will see great rewards.” Maureen Smith, Tropical Connections & Distributors of ‘British Caribbean Enterprises: A Century of Challenges and Successes’

“I am very optimistic about business in 2010. As bad as the recession is at the moment; it has also paved way for new business opportunities, especially for the ‘start up businesses’. For example, I have been looking for retail premises for over 24 months but the ‘rent value’ per year was just too high. Now, not only has the rental prices fallen, but I have found the option to now buy retail premises ‘Freehold’ because the bad market has pinched so many people financially. As the saying goes, ‘their loss is my gain!’ So here I come 2010!”
Tracey Newell, ARC Interiors

“YES! I think the economy is going to get better and pick-up and people will be more willing to spend.”
Bianca Simpson, ReNu Body Clinic

“Yes definitely because my turnover tripled between 2o08-2009, so in 2010 it can only get better with God’s help.”
Joy Odunsi, Potential U and Personal Stylist, London College of Fashion

What advice would you give to those in business in 2010?
“My advice to other business people for 2010 is to remain positive and maintain belief in their business and in themselves.”
Audrey Anderson, Firstcall Builders (London) Ltd

“Don’t let the economic problems alarm you in starting up a new business. This is the best time to take advantage of the discounts and free advice available. Banks or other financial institutes may not be willing to lend at the moment – but debts are not the best way to start up business.”
Tracey Newell, ARC Interiors

“Persevere! Don’t focus on the negative press about the economic climate! Persevere!”
Joy Odunsi, Potential U and Personal Stylist, London College of Fashion

“Explore new areas to enhance your business and collaborate with others whenever possible.”
Maureen Smith, Tropical Connections & Distributors of ‘British Caribbean Enterprises: A Century of Challenges and Successes’

“Seek out opportunities to work in partnership because 50% of something is better than 100% of nothing!”
Yvonne Witter, Ampod Business Consulting & Training

“Always forward think and plan ahead.”
Bianca Simpson, ReNu Body Clinic

“Don’t give up. Don’t watch those who are flying past you. Watch those who have stood the test of times. Surround yourself with positive people.”
Anita Witter, Jewel Isle Productions Ltd

“Hard times = great opportunity to review, rethink and to reinvigorate your networks. Remember, business success is as much about developing great relationships as it is about having a great product or service so ask yourself ‘who is in my team?’.”
Kiki Maury, Kiki Maury Consultancy

Having read the thoughts of these dynamic women who are living on purpose, it’s clear the frivolous, carefree, fat cat days in business have now come to an end. No longer is it enough to just throw valuable resources after unsatisfactory ideas, projects and people. This is the time to look at the real opportunities for self improvement and business development as you become more resilient in 2010.

It’s clear that no one is hiding behind blaming the government, banks, employees or clients for a failing business. These savvy business women know the responsibility for success ultimately lies within YOU!

Here’s to a fabulous 2010!

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