By Richard Conway, CEO of Pure SEO Ltd and an EO Auckland member
EO has had quite an impact on my business ever since I attended my first EO University in Queenstown in 2012. I immediately felt a kinship with the likeminded business owners, who enjoyed life while working and playing hard.
When I decided to join EO, one of the major attractions of the organisation was the availability of truly once-in-a-lifetime “bucket list” experiences. When the opportunity arose on MyEO to spend four nights on Necker Island with Sir Richard Branson and fellow EO-ers, I jumped at the chance.
Getting there from New Zealand was a mission in itself, but the long trip was definitely worth it. The time spent on the island will stay with me for a lifetime, as will the lessons from Sir Richard and the other entrepreneurs there.
There were lots of great takeaways from the trip, but here are some that resonated with me:
Risk: Surprisingly, when Sir Richard was asked if there was anything he would change if he could go back and live his business life again, he said he may not take quite as many large risks. Quite surprising considering he is hoping to take a trip to space later this year!
Culture: Something all the entrepreneurs and Sir Richard were in agreement about was that company culture can be the making or breaking of a business. Often the differentiator in attracting top talent away from the typical Silicon Valley tech companies (like Google & Facebook) is having a different, appealing culture. Some of the entrepreneurs even offered unlimited holidays, which has amazingly led to staff taking off less time!
Fitness: Keeping physically fit has been one of Sir Richard’s driving attributes. He still kite surfs and plays tennis all the time. The general consensus was that keeping fit can enable you to be sharper in many areas of your life.
Lifestyle: Maintaining a work-life balance is essential to long term business and personal success. During the trip we really let our hair down, we were sailing, swimming, playing during the day and having fun and chewing through ideas at night.
Having now been home for a month or two, the main resolutions I have had from the trip:
- Our own focus on company culture is paying out in spades. We will continue to focus on hiring and keeping the best staff.
- Our staff choose to turn up every day and work for us, therefore it is only right to treat them as equals with the utmost respect.
- Having a working holiday is great for business, it allowed me to step away and make some important, difficult decisions. The changes I have made since coming back have had a profound (positive) impact on our business.