When marie claire partnered with business-education company Tech Ready Women for a two-day masterclass, our mission was to help women reach their full potential. Below, founder & CEO of Halo Medical Devices, Hayley Warren, shares her start-up advice and the one skill you need to be a successful entrepreneur.
What’s the one piece of advice you would pass on to women thinking about launching a start-up?
Forget about the risks involved, forget about what happens if it doesn't work, forget about how you are going to make your idea happen and focus. Before all of these thoughts, which will sort themselves out in time, get very clear about your idea; how it will work, who you are helping, what is it that is unique about what you're doing. Spend your Sundays and evenings researching and answering these questions. We often have ideas, yet we don't do the research to see if they are unique, if they will actually be solving a problem or if you can even build a business around them. Research and question. When you are clear about your idea and how it can work, then we take the next step.
What’s been the biggest learning/takeaway along your business path journey so far?
Learn People. Network well, quality over quantity - yes I'm talking about those who go onto Linkedin to connect to one essential person personally - winner approach - and to those who canvas Linkedin with a generic message, writing that you want to expand your network asking to be added to my network: One word from a person who gets these messages all the time, DELETE! Connecting with the right people will streamline your journey. Learning to know who the right person to speak with and seek out is key. Who is the right person for you right now? Question it, find them and reach out to them. The right person is the person who has done what you want to achieve and whom you resonate with. They are your future mentor. Find a person online or in your local area who can help and reach out to them personally (keep it short and honest, people will usually want to help you or at least refer you to another great source who can help if they are short on time or the wrong person for you).
If you could go back in time what would you do differently?
Everything I have done has set me up to run a global business, even my failures, so I wouldn't change anything. But if I had my time again, and if I was you, I would spend my time finding the team I work with today. When you start out, not all people are right for your business. You will have consultants approach you wanting to build you a business plan or marketing strategy and at the beginning, when you are doing it all (because until you have income you have to do wear every hat in the company), learning it from Google or from attending programs like they have on offer at Tech Ready Women, you may just be tempted to get this consultant's help - after all, they are an expert and what do you know if you're just starting out? Plus, getting help allows you to get some much-needed sleep, right? Wrong! Don't get memorised by the idea of help and hire the wrong people when you can't afford it and you haven't identified who you truly need to grow the business. The wrong people will utilise your precious funds and take up the little time you are already spreading thinly across your work, family and new start-up idea. Identify who you need and when, look at flexible payment options to attract the right people (ie. sweat equity as one option), do as much as you can yourself and remember to hire slow (get that right person in), and fire fast (when they aren't right for you, listen to that, free them up to go and help someone else).
What are the three main personality traits a founder of a startup should possess?
Flexibility: the ability to change to ensure consistent growth for your start-up.
Consistent Persistence: this is a journey, it takes time, you are going to need your Weetbix for this one!
Self-discipline: You are about to embark on one of the most flexible work styles/environments on earth. You need to learn to focus on setting your own deadlines, being self-motivated and learning where to get drive from. Or at least identify if you can't do these things just yet, get yourself into a co-working space to utilise the motivation and learn from other entrepreneurs around you.
What’s the one skill you need to be a successful entrepreneur?
The persistent ability to keep going - keep moving forward - to lead the way in making your idea a reality.