This summer, I was given the opportunity to inspire others who share the dream of owning their own business as I took to the stage at The Northern Franchise Exhibition for the first time. I was honoured to be asked to share my story with so many of you. It gave me the chance to reflect on my journey and I realised I’d blocked out a lot of the struggle for my own sanity. It felt cathartic to go through the ups and downs with the luxury of time having passed so I could reflect knowing everything had worked out in the end. It’s never as bad as it seems and sometimes it’s easy to forget the small things you’ve done that have led you to where you are now. You could call it fate… if you believe in that.
I never really knew what career path I wanted to take and I floated for a long time before finding myself in hospitality. However, I had always been very driven, decisive and liked to take the lead whenever the opportunity arose. As we all know, social media has the ability to make lives look glossy and easy but the reality of hard work and reaching your goals is so far from that. In my experience nothing good, or worth having for that matter comes easy. You have to be willing to put in the hard work and you also have to be ready for and expect the failures, no matter how big or small – unfortunately it’s the best way to learn.
I was overwhelmed with the response after my speech; sometimes I feel that I might not necessarily be what people want me to be and that it might be a disappointment for to people to hear about how chaotic and unstructured it has been up until this point. I’m here, championing every person who wants to start their own business. We all share the same passion and sharing knowledge with one another is such a valuable way to learn. I met so many like minded, interesting individuals on the day, including two sisters who own their own furniture company. I found listening to their drive and determination at such a young age really inspiring.
As a woman in business, Menagerie was my opportunity to carve my own path in a male dominated industry and turn my differences into strengths. I looked to influences from forward thinkers in different industries and created my female approach to management. I quickly learned that being shy or doing what people expected of me would be detrimental to my success in this industry, so it was then that I realised it was time to tear up the rule book and cause a stir. It was time to stand out.
I want to share some key things that resonate with me on daily basis…
Get creative… with all your ideas. Find a new way of beginning that crucial conversation with your audience and create an experience they’ll never forget, but most importantly, have fun along the way. Never stop learning or growing as a person; this is where your fresh, creative ideas come from and keep you relevant and ahead of the game. Always document everything with photos, videos and notes so you can reflect back on people, places and concepts that have inspired you and how you can adapt those to work for you.
Always be adaptable. As Charles Darwin said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, it is the one that is most adaptable.”
And finally, always have courage and conviction… take that risk. Never let someone make you believe you aren’t capable of doing something. If you don’t believe in yourself or your idea, no one else will.
I firmly believe that if you combine ambition with a rigorously researched concept and a robust business model, then you are on the path to business success. Franchising offers entrepreneurs an already proven concept and established business model ‘out of the box’. I hope that my speech, for those of you who could make it and for those of you reading this are inspired to channel your ambition and to pursue the business that is right for you.