Prior to the commencement of our first business BRS (, I received a lot of well-meaning advice that starting a business during challenging times was unwise and full of potential pitfalls.  However, anyone who is an entrepreneur knows that once you have identified your dream, you cannot push it aside regardless of the challenges and potential problems.

Our business has been able to thrive on these challenges by continually defying convention. BRS was listed in the BRW top 100 fast starters, has had 205% annual growth over 3 years’, and generated $1million consulting revenue within the first 12 months despite the GFC. A huge part of our success can be put down to key lessons early on in our journey – lessons that continue to shape the way we do business each and every day:

1. Focus, focus, focus

Don’t be everything to everyone – the single biggest reason that most never realise their full potential.  Identify specific industries and markets to target and determine what products or services to provide and develop your vision around this.

2. World Class Culture

We made the decision to strive towards having a world class culture and this has played a huge role in our success. Create a constructive culture where your staff are engaged, and where behaviour is driven by a desire to gain personal and team satisfaction rather than being driven by fear.

3. Remove negativity and promote positivity in every aspect of your business

Interact with positive, optimistic people and this will pervade your approach to work and life in general. Since making the decision to remove negative individuals and other sources of negativity from our business, we have thrived.  Choose your attitude, choose who you interact with and choose your mind-set.

4. The golden principle in service organisations – repeat work and referrals

The conventional approach is to focus on finding more clients, doing more marketing, and more business development i.e. work harder to bring in new clients and leads. Our business has thrived by focusing on delivering well to our existing clients, looking for every way to provide outstanding value on existing work, deliverables and commitments.

5. Reward bricklaying rather than heroic efforts

During challenging times, organisations tend to reward the employees who bring in the big sale, fix mistakes that should never occurred and hold senior roles. In contrast, we actively reward  employees who do the ‘one percenters’, such as planning well, collaborating effectively, showing genuine concern for the client and working as one team by sharing the load – this proactivity is what grows a business.

6. World class systems

The final lesson we have learned through our journey is that you need to set your business up to succeed rather than to simply exist.  A large part of this is optimising the systems of the organisation. If these systems are intuitive to use and facilitate collaboration, this frees time up to be creative.