What I’ve Learnt

January 4, 2016

Hilary Florek is a strategic communications and marketing specialist with over 25 years’ experience. She is managing director of Newcastle-based PR and marketing company HFPR and has extensive non-executive director experience across a range of public, private and voluntary sector bodies. Currently she is chairman of the Port of Tyne and on the boards of Isos Housing and Cestria Housing

Whatever the problem, there is always someone who can help. My first boss, at a PR agency when I was fresh out of university, told me that.

Always treat people in the way that you would hope to be treated yourself. I have believed this since I began my career and I still believe it today.

You need to be prepared to work harder than you have ever done before to run your own business. You need to be tenacious and resilient. Being optimistic also helps. You need to be entrepreneurial, able to inspire and motivate people, know how to delegate and organise your time successfully and, above all, pick great people to work with and advise you.

When starting out, keep things simple, focus on your business idea and never lose sight of the numbers.

Know that not everything will work out for you but failure can be a positive experience and will make you and the business stronger.

Don’t get so close to the business that you lose a strategic view and direction. Keep your eye on the wider market and respond to changes.

Get a business mentor. I am very lucky that throughout my career I have had mentors who have given me their time and enabled me to bounce ideas off them. It is great to be able to talk to people who have been there and done it and can understand the issues you are facing.

Communicate well and often to your staff. Make sure they feel part of the business and they understand where the business is going and how important they are to the success of the business.

Get advice but, at the end of the day, trust your instincts.

Find a way to give something back. It is really important that we, as business people, get involved across the community by serving on boards, being a school governor, volunteering or working with charities – it all makes a huge difference to those organisations but also to you, and makes you better at running your own business.


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