In the last article, we asked ourselves What Does an IDEAL Business Look Like?
What we discovered from looking at the last five years’ worth of our Businesswomen’s Hall of Fame inductees was that you can’t get specific when it comes to the ideal business.
Big or small, global or local, online or brick and mortar, the ideal business is as unique as its owner, and your ideal business will be a reflection of you.
However, when we took a step back and thought about what the Hall of Fame businesses had in common, there were recurring themes.
The women of the Hall of Fame have built some of the most successful businesses in Australia. If you’re wondering whether your business is becoming IDEAL, look no farther than the things the Hall of Fame businesses share:
The ideal business is built from scratch.
One theme we kept noticing in our Hall of Fame: spare rooms.
Multiple Hall of Famers started their businesses in a spare room (or a garage, bedroom, etc.), often on their own, and built them into successful ventures from there.
Showpo owner and 2017 Hall of Famer Jane Lu started her clothing brand in her bedroom with no experience other than as a fashion consumer, and she built it into a $30 million brand.
Marie Piccone, also honoured in 2017, didn’t start from a spare room but from a neglected mango plantation – three of them, actually – that she decided to purchase and work until they realised their potential and became Manbullo, Australia’s best-loved mango brand.
So many ideal businesses began as tiny startups because the ideal business is so unique to its owner. If you build it from the ground up, it is a true reflection of you.
The ideal business has a great team.
None of the women in the Hall of Fame run their businesses alone. The team is a huge part of any business, so we weren’t surprised to hear that a great team is a big part of what makes these businesses ideal.
For Penny Spencer, recognised in 2015, positive workplace culture is the highest priority for the Spencer Group. This priority is so high that, in 2015, over half of her staff had only ever had her as a mentor.
2016 Inductee Amantha Imber of Inventium is obsessed with having the best possible team. It’s an essential piece of making her business ideal.
You aren’t in your business alone, and for it to be ideal, the other people in it with you have to be the ideal team.
The ideal business makes a real difference to its clients.
This one was unexpected. The ideal business is not just about you loving your work or the business making good profits. One of the things that make their businesses ideal for many of the women in the Hall of Fame is the real difference they get to see their products and services making for clients.
As the owner of Australia’s leading fair-trade coffee brand, 2013 Hall of Famer Jacqueline Arias of República Coffee not only knows that her customers are drinking delicious coffee, but she gets to see her business improving the lives of Columbian farmers.
2014 honouree Tammy May sees her personal budgeting service, MyBudget, alleviating financial stress for clients around the country, and she sees that as its own reward.
The ideal business is about more than bringing profit or fulfilling personal passion. Your ideal business will make a real difference, and you’ll get to enjoy that every day.
The ideal business is successful enough to allow time away.
One of our recent featured members, Fiona Keary, said it best when she summed up the crucial trait of an ideal business: “it cares about its owner.”
For your business to be ideal, it has to allow you time to live a life outside of it. The Hall of Fame women are well aware of this.
One of 2015 Hall of Famers, Natalie Archer of Bendelta, maintains a great dedication to her work/life balance. Her ideal business is one that allows her to stay the chief designer of her life.
When she owned RedBalloon, 2013 Inductee Naomi Simson’s favourite thing about the business was the flexibility it gave her to live the life she desired and spend more time with family.
You run your ideal business; it doesn’t run you. Your ideal business will allow you to live the life you love, and it won’t force you to work all the time to make it a success.
The ideal business gives back.
It goes without saying that for a business to be considered ideal – or even sustainable – it has to make a profit. If you aren’t making a profit, you don’t have a business.
But the ideal business goes beyond that. The ideal business makes enough profit that it can afford to give something back. The majority of Hall of Famers commit themselves to charitable pursuits outside of their businesses, and many of their businesses are dedicated to giving back.
2015 Hall of Famer Kate Weiss’s business, Table of Plenty, is committed to employing people living with disabilities.
2014 Inductee Christine Kris Macauley of Robbo’s Harley Davidson dedicates time to serving as an advocate for women and wives in small business.
This theme is strong throughout the Hall of Fame. Whether it’s education, sustainability, community development, etc. the ideal business enjoys enough success that it can invest that success into bettering the world around it.
The ideal business is rooted in a true passion.
This one is absolutely essential. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who has built a successful business doing something they aren’t passionate about.
Sometimes that passion is for a product. Multiple Hall of Fame inductees, like Anna Hooper from 2016, have a passion for wine. Anna’s business, Cape Jaffe Wines, allows her to chase that passion for creating innovative wine.
But your passion doesn’t have to be for a product like food, wine or fashion. Just as many of our Hall of Famers are driven by a deep passion for their business’ mission. 2013 Inductee Robbie Sefton runs her rural communication strategy business, Sefton & Associates, for “everyone’s kids in the bush.” She is driven by her deeply rooted belief that young people can lead prosperous lives in rural Australia; that’s her passion and her mission.
Whatever your passion is, your ideal business is built from it.
Every ideal business looks different, but, when you take a step back, every ideal business is a passion project that the owner built to a place where it makes a real difference to its customers, makes enough money to spread the wealth, and has a great team that can keep the business running well enough to allow the owner to own her own life.
How can you get this business? The Hall of Fame has the answers to this too.
In the next two weeks, we’ll be going over the five strategies our Hall of Famers agree are essential to building your ideal business.
Reach More People, Clarify Your Message and Finally Feel More Focused and Ready for Growth in YOUR Business
Discover How to Turn YOUR Business into Your IDEAL Business in the FREE Online IDEAL Business Workshop. Starts on 1 April.
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.