Lara was recently interviewed for the Hertfordshire Business Independent. Here’s what she had to say:
Lara, thanks for taking the time to talk to us here at the Hertfordshire Business Independent. Can you tell us a bit about your background?
At the age of eighteen, I taught myself the art of sales and within three years later at the age of 21, I was managing a Yellow Pages sales team in 6 countries in the Gulf. A couple of years later when I was 23, I started my first business, Pacific Direct Ltd. The company manufactured and sold brand licensed toiletries and amenities to the hotel industry. Seventeen years later in 2008, I sold my majority share (99%) for the sum of £20million.
I am now the founder of Company Shortcuts which is a source of practical advice and frameworks to enable business leaders to achieve accelerated growth.
With Company Shortcuts, I share my proven shortcuts to help others grow their businesses, allowing them to focus on sales instead. With easy to use business templates and daily KUTA’s (Keep Up The Action), there is no excuse not to keep your business profitable and continually improving and focused on excellence. Company shortcuts can help you be just as successful!
Are there any other ventures you are currently involved in?
I have recently acquired a stake in Gate8-luggage.com who has designed premium business travel bags. A couple of years ago, the founder came to me and asked for my honest opinion on his business, his product, his website etc and I was brutally honest. I gave him my feedback and told him to go away and sort out a list of 19 issues that I had found. He went away and sorted all of the things I suggested and now the company is in a completely different place.
The message is that if you want someone in your business who you know can really add value, really do listen to what they have to say and act on the advice that they give you. If we can get people to reach out to more experienced individuals, we can help young people not to make the same mistakes we have made along the way and it’s a real joy to see someone develop their business.
Another venture that I am currently involved in is WellHeeled, which is the perfect solution for the countless amounts of shoes that get ruined from driving in them or even being a passenger.
My babysitter Lucy, who is a single mum of two, came up to me with an invention. She had an idea that nobody else seemed to be doing and she came to me for advice on how to go about getting her product made, how to invent the logo, how to create a website, how to manage the finances etc, the list goes on.
The message is that Lucy was brave enough to ask for help from an entrepreneur that she’d met and this entrepreneur was happy and eager to help. In Britain, we need to encourage people to chase their dreams.
What would you say you are most passionate about?
I am seriously passionate about leadership, business growth and self and employee motivation. Back in 2005, when I achieved my first £1million profit, I celebrated by taking my staff on an all-expenses-paid holiday to Barbados.
What advice would you give to a start-up business?
Re-double your focus on sales effort continually and do the admin at weekends. Be really clear, as a business asset is a full-time commitment.
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
I have been given lots of excellent advice:
Never be afraid to ask, if at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again.
Look after the pennies and the pounds look after themselves.
Do unto others as you would have done unto you.
Put yourself in the shoes of the customer and always focus on the most profitable first.
What are the leadership qualities that you most admire?
The qualities I most admire would be humility and celebration of any success.
What is the biggest challenge you have had so far?
My biggest challenge was learning to cope with and manage through redundancies brought about because of a hideous business downtown.
How did you overcome this challenge?
By living with the consequences of decisions that impact lives, whilst fighting on to build for a new day.
How do you stay ahead of the competition?
It is incredibly tough staying ahead of the competition, but it is also wholly energising and interesting and something we should all dedicate process, systems and time, to ensure we always stay ahead in the race for successful growth. My advice for any new business owner is to study your market and be the expert. Never be complacent.
Who do you most admire?
I admire anyone with the guts to employ others and take the risk to build a business.
What’s your motto?
If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
Read the full issue of the Hertfordshire Business Independent at: http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/businessindependent/201306/index.php#/0