Five things you need to lead the way in 2020

Group of business women. Isolated vector silhouettes

What are the qualities successful business leaders and staff need in 2020? - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Watch the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves. 

It’s sage business – and life – advice.

But while the bottom line is a key factor in any company it is the people driving them from their inception that will see that margin into the green. 

It is of course difficult to measure factors like passion and perseverance - but these key ingredients are vital nonetheless. 

And in a year like 2020 even bags of both might not get you very far - so we asked a handful of experts what, for them, it takes to build a true business winner.

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  • Head 

For Hermione Way, the co-founder of the Innovation Labs at Stowmarket in Suffolk, an entrepreneur’s mentality is not only about keeping calm in a crisis and staying level-headed.

Instead the mentality of an successful businessman or woman goes beyond the individual and should be shared with the wider community or team.

She said: “At Innovation Labs we are seeing the value of opening yourself up to support – people working here not only help each other out in business but they’re also friends. They get pizza together on a Friday and have a bit of banter when they’re in the office. In a year like 2020 that has never been so important.

“It’s absolutely paramount to be honest not only with yourself but also your team about mental health and whether you’re struggling. It’s been interesting to see the CEOs who are sharing their journeys – the good, the bad and the ugly – are the ones getting the most traction. For example Richard Branson and how much he has spoken on the issue.” 

  • Sight 

Cassandra Andrews is a Norwich-based motivator and employee engagement specialist.

She said a key skill for successful entrepreneurs was being able to step back and see the wider vision for the company and market.

“As an entrepreneur are you motivated by seeing the bigger picture, vision, values and moving forward quickly? Consider whether this is the culture of your business or if you are moving forward too quickly to successfully get buy-in from your team.

“Are you so focused on the longer-term picture that you lose sight of the immediate detail and sale?” she asked.

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  • Heart 

Ms Way, who worked in Silicon Valley before coming back to the UK, said that having a business with a heart is not only about believing in what you do but also backing universal causes.

“Five years ago brands were promoting their products and services online but now they’re getting behind activism and causes. Just look at what Nike did for the Black Lives Matter movement. What I’m seeing is brands becoming more passionate and political in a way – standing for something they believe in.

"If it’s not something you’re passionate about you’re not going to get it off the ground and I think more than ever if you’re a brand which can reflect what a social movement it can work very well.

“In 2020 it’s not good enough to just ask people to buy your product, you have to prove more about what it’s going to do more widely – it has to stand for something,” she added.   

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  • Legwork 

No matter how far you go and how high you climb, it is the hard graft from everyone in a business from its founder to its staff that keeps the P&L healthy.

Callum Coombes and his team at Norwich’s Safepoint are no strangers to working seven day weeks on their lone worker safety platform.

He said: “For the founding team here at Safepoint, it’s always been about the legwork, which comes hand in hand with our passion for what we do. There’s a quote that I think summarises our success over the past few years and that’s “the harder you work, the luckier you get”, and this has certainly rung true for us.

"We’ve had many seemingly serendipitous conversations that have lead to brilliant partnerships. On the face of it, these conversations could be seen as simply being in the right place at the right time, but when you really dig into it’s actually down to years of the team putting ourselves out there and giving 100 hundred percent at all times.” 

  • Achilles heel 

For Ms Andrews being aware of your weaknesses is just as important as being aware of your strengths.

“Do you consider how what’s not important to you, influences how you operate your business and how you behave and treat people? For example, if your lowest motivator is around seeking recognition, respect and social esteem are you missing opportunities to promote your business?” she asked.

“Are you entering business awards, networking, becoming the ‘go to’ expert for the media. In addition, if public recognition isn’t important to you or potentially uncomfortable for you. Are you rewarding and thanking your employees with the frequency and way in which they want to be recognised?

“Whether you set up your business for more freedom, money, status, meaning or one of the other key motivators! Consider if your motivators are fit for purpose.

“Take a health check and think where you might need support from others who are driven by different values. It could improve your bottom line exponentially as well as nourishing those motivators that were the driving force behind your business idea.” 

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