What makes a business an ideal business?
Does the ideal business make a multimillion-dollar profit every year? Does it have locations in five countries, a robust e-commerce arm, and an annual employee retreat?
Does the ideal business win industry awards or get featured in trade publications? Is it a household name?
Is the ideal business family owned? Locally operated? Is it known for its customer service, its innovation, its sustainability?
How does the business owner fit into the ideal business? Is she travelling around the world overseeing operations? Does she work from an office? From home? Does she get her hands dirty in the day-to-day work of the business?
To answer all these questions, we knew where to turn. HerBusiness has been celebrating outstanding Australian women business owners for over twenty years with the Businesswomen’s Hall of Fame.
Every year, we bring together and honour women who own and operate their ideal businesses and experience loads of success doing so.
If anyone can answer what the ideal business looks like, it’s the women of the Hall of Fame.
So we dug through our archives of exemplary women honoured over the past few years. Five years of Hall of Fame businesses: what do they look like?
What did we find?
The Hall of Fame businesses are as diverse as the Hall of Famers themselves.
Some businesses keep their success in Australia. Barb de Corti, featured in the 2015 Hall of Fame, operates ENJO Australia, a non-toxic cleaning brand she brought to the country herself.
Some Hall of Fame businesses found success in staying in just one town. 2016 Hall of Famer Laurie McDonald’s business, Canberra Furnished Accommodations is a small business that caters exclusively to clients looking for short-term rentals in Canberra.
Not all of these ideal businesses are run from Sydney skyscrapers. 2013 Hall of Famer Jane Cay runs her business, Birdsnest, from a remote farm in the Snowy Mountains. 2017 Inductee Kelly Jamieson runs Edible Blooms online so she can stay on her family farm on the Fleurieu Peninsula.
The Hall of Fame Businesswomen vary in how involved they like to stay in their businesses.
When Sue Hollis was named to the Hall of Fame in 2016, she had stepped back from the day to day operations at TravelEdge, making her role in the business more ideal for where she was in life. 2014 Inductee Liz Davenport manufactures her clothing brand offshore, but maintains complete quality control.
2014 and 2015 Hall of Famers, Viv White of Big Picture Education and Narelle Anderson of Envirobank stay directly involved in the day-to-day work of their businesses, getting their hands dirty on the job. 2014 Inductee Saskia Havekes still handpicks flowers for her floristry design business, Grandiflora, at the flower markets once a week.
Some of the Hall of Famers, like 2015 honouree Camilla Franks, are the global faces of their self-titled brands, while others stay more behind the scenes.
As for the products produced by the Hall of Fame women, it’s everything under the sun. Magazines, bay sand, dairy products, mangos, activewear, designer stationary, you name it. Plenty of the Hall of Fame businesses provide services: consulting, personal training, budgeting.
The not-for-profit sector is well represented in the Hall of Fame, with many of these ideal businesses existing for charity.
2013 Hall of Famer Melinda Cruz’s business, Miracle Babies Foundation, supports sick babies and their families. 2016 Inductee Hetty Johnson founded Bravehearts, Australia’s leading child advocacy group. 2016 honouree Juliette Write operates GIVIT, an online platform that connects people with things to donate directly with people in need.
Why do we tell you all this? Why are we going on this stroll down Hall-of-Fame memory lane?
Remember the question from before: what does a business need to be ideal? A global presence? Family ownership? Organic certifications?
What we learned from our Hall of Fame is that the ideal business is all of those things and more. No ideal business looks exactly like the other.
The Hall of Fame businesses reflect the Hall of Fame business owners: their passions, their desires, their expertise.
Your ideal business is a reflection of you. It’s as unique as its owner, and it doesn’t have to look a certain way.
As business owners we get to choose. We get to design our businesses and to play by our own rules.
There are some key areas every ideal business has in common – we’ll go through those in an upcoming article.
In the meantime, you can start to design YOUR ideal business today.
Always remember, whether you make gourmet cheese, recycling machines, or coffee mugs, whether you’re a consultant or a career philanthropist, whether you live in Melbourne or the Top End, the ideal business is possible for you.
Your ideal business is going to be as one-of-a-kind as you are.
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This post was authored by Sophie Grosserode. Sophie completed a journalism internship with HerBusiness. She studies journalism and media at the University of Tennessee in the United States.