January – that time of year when newness is celebrated and resolutions can translate into fresh business ventures. As 2017 gets into swing and we look forward to the bright ideas it will bring, we ask a handful of honest and established small business owners to share their advice to long-lasting business.
Today, we ask Carolyn Tate, the purpose-driven leader behind Carolyn Tate & Co., to share her lessons from 15 years of business ownership.
Carolyn’s small business career first began like many others: in the corporate world. She spent 20 years working with blue-chip companies on a range of marketing and brand communications before finding the vision and guts to strike out on her own.
She now helps other business owners and companies to unearth their higher purpose, articulate their values and share their stories – and embed them all into a company’s culture and communications through The Purpose Project and Talk on Purpose programs.
Find a mentor
“Looking back, I probably needed someone who was 10 paces in front of me, but I didn’t know how to find or access that person,” she says.
“My advice would be to find a mentor from day one who has built a business that is ‘on purpose’ – a person who is a humanist and successful in business. This will help you to not only scale, but to scale with impact.”
Focus on what sustains you
Carolyn has seen many changes during her fifteen years of business ownership, but says that one has stood the test of time.
“When I started my business in 2001, there were not that many enlightened business leaders out there; we were still stuck in the ‘profit-at-all-cost’ mindset.
“Thankfully that’s changed now but many people still start businesses by default with the purpose of making money, meaning they don’t consciously consider the purpose of their work,” she said.
“But that’s the part that will actually sustain a business owner through the inevitable ups and downs of building a business.”
Start at the center
“If there is no deep ‘why’ – that is greater than making a profit – there’s a high chance the business will fall over,” she adds.
“My advice to anyone starting out from scratch in 2017, would be to make sure you find your reason – your purpose – and respect the power of meaning. Meaning is becoming the new ‘money’, and technology can be the greatest enabler of a company’s purpose and humanity.”
- What I love about Xero… I’ve been using Xero for some years now, and I love it – especially the reporting capabilities and the way it feeds into my bank statements. I’m lucky to have a bookkeeper who really knows the ins and outs of it all, and who keeps me on track.
- The thing that will get me out of bed in 2017 is… My daily ritual. I start my morning with lemon in hot water while I write whatever comes into my head. My journal helps me make good choices in life and work. I follow this with exercise – walking, yoga or swimming and meditation. Often I don’t start my work day until 10am. For me the morning is sacrosanct. It gets me fired up to continue doing the work I do.
- My favourite business apps for the year ahead are… There are lots. My banking app, Voice Memos, Notes, Uber, Airbnb, Car Next Door, PaybyPhone, Insightly and so many more. I also use all the social media apps, mostly Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Though over the holidays I boycott social media and take a break. It can be exhausting!
Meet Carolyn at www.carolyntate.co