Having your own business is one of the most exciting and rewarding things you can do, but it also comes with a raft of challenges, both professional and personal.
I started Hallett Retail 10 years ago. Initially it was just me, but today employs more than 400 staff at more than 200 sites in the UK, Ireland, Jersey and Guernsey, with concessions in New Look, Debenhams, House of Fraser, Beales and Northern Irish chain Tempest.
One of the keys to growing your business is having the right people on board. Recruit good people, develop their skills and manage how you bring new employees into the company.
And if you feel you are not in a position to take on staff, particularly in these tough times, use consultants or short-term contract employees. I employ consultants for things like IT, PR, HR, staff training, shopfitting, accountancy and book-keeping.
Communication with staff is also key. Make sure you keep your employees informed of changes and that they know their role within the business. Listen to them to make sure their professional and personal needs are met. Remember to heed the advice of mentors too. Talk and listen to key people you admire and other business professionals. You are never too big or too successful to learn something new.
And get your house in order. Implement and keep on top of systems, policies and procedures across your company – everything from employment law to monitoring who’s on holiday or off sick.
On a personal level, the hardest thing for me has been learning to relinquish some of the responsibility to others, which of course means trusting in the people I have employed, which goes back to my first point…
- Wendy Hallett is managing director of concession operator Hallett Retail