25 Lessons From 25 Years in Business

Cindy Norcott’s is an EO Durban member in South Africa and owner of Pro Talent. She is also the founder of the Robinhood Foundation, a non-profit organization that funds many charitable projects. As Cindy celebrates her company’s 25th anniversary in March 2019, she collected some of the entrepreneurial lessons she’s learned and the guidelines she follows to achieve ongoing success.

  1. Marketing is the backbone of your business. Always have a marketing plan and do something every day that puts you top-of-mind with clients.
  2. Stop playing small. Add another zero to everything you plan to do in terms of activities. Widen your net, expand your reach and think bigger!
  3. Just do it! Stop waiting for “one day” when the time is right or things are perfect. Today is the day! Remember that continued improvement is better than delayed perfection.
  4. Keep it lean. Watch those costs: Fat creeps in easily. Check every line item on your income statement and ask if it is necessary.
  5. Stay humble. You are as good as the month you are in. Never let a good patch give you a big head and never let a bad patch define you. Be hungry, be humble and be the hardest-working person in the room.
  6. Keep your chin up. You will have hard times but learn to be resilient and focus on what you can control:  your activities, your attitude, your thoughts, your body language and your words.
  7. Honor commitments and you’ll be known as a person of your word. Even if it costs you, it benefits you. Never lie to a supplier or not pay them. Never hide behind the small print. Don’t shift the goal posts.
  8. Build a brand that highlights five values you aspire to. Write them down and review them daily, ensuring that your thoughts, words and actions are aligned with your highest values. Your brand can guide, inspire, and reflect you. Live in such a way that if anyone spoke badly about you, nobody would believe them.
  9. Never lie. Speak your truth and be transparent, honest and ethical. The definition of integrity is what you do when you think nobody is watching.
  10. Deliver what your client has paid for―then add extra value. Give people more than they have any right to expect. Keep doing this, regardless of who gives you credit.
  11. Action is the antidote to despair. Have an action plan every day. Go to work with a to-do list of focused, itemized action points. It’s the seemingly insignificant actions that lead to success.
  12. Stop the excuses. People are defined by their excuses. Be accountable to yourself. Own it. Do it. Get it done. Today!
  13. Pick up the phone or talk face-to-face. Too many people hide behind their desks and emails without connecting in a human way—speak to your clients, staff and suppliers.
  14. Grow your network—it’s the primary determinant of success for small businesses. Learn to love people, take an interest, help their businesses grow, refer them and become the go-to person. Build relationships of mutual respect and trust, which will hopefully turn into valued friendships.
  15. Use social media to your advantage as a free resource. Remember the golden rule: Never post anything negative on social media.
  16. Don’t mistake social media contacts for real-life friends. There’s a difference. “Likes” in no way correlate to your personal value.
  17. Become a shameless self-promoter. If you don’t believe in yourself and your business, why should anyone else? Portray your confidence and self-belief to others and always share positive experiences. Self-confidence and arrogance are two separate things; don’t confuse the one with the other.
  18. You will never stop working hard. Accept that idea and embrace it. Hard work doesn’t hurt. In fact, it’s very rewarding. If you have passion for your work, you’re guaranteed to enjoy the work you do! Put in the hours but look for smarter and better methods. If you haven’t changed the way in which you work for five years, you’re in danger of becoming redundant.
  19. Be nice. To everyone. There are no little people. Every day, do one thing for someone who can do you no good. Remember that you have power to change lives so use that power wisely and generously. Be kind. Be expansive. The world needs what you have to give. Be more abundant. If you are not successful enough, it means you are not giving enough.
  20. Be an optimist. Believe in your company, product and industry. Believe that tomorrow will be better than today. Share a story of hope among your staff. Inspire people with your positive mindset and can-do attitude. Model the behaviors you’d like your staff to replicate.
  21. Do something. Nature hates a vacuum. Just the act of doing something when you feel despondent will jumpstart a cycle of activity. Action is the antidote to despair.
  22. Keep selling. People will forget about you if they don’t hear from you, even if you are good. Remember to keep in touch with clients daily. Be 10% bolder. Timid salespeople have skinny kids.
  23. Have manners. Don’t swear, scream, shout, belittle or humiliate others. No matter what your title or how much you earn, always remember your manners. Nobody wants to work with or work for an idiot.
  24. Every day, ask, “If we went out of business today, who would miss us?” Hopefully, lots of people rely on your company to meet their needs. Ensure that you are relevant, adding value and giving the world your best.
  25. Life is a marathon, not a sprint, so manage your energy. Set realistic goals. Understand there will be obstacles, good days and bad days. Focus on the mile you are in. Enjoy the scenery along the way. The finish line is just one part of the race. Enjoy!

 

Cindy Norcott has been an EO member since 2015. She is a wife, mother to two girls, a businesswoman, has climbed Kilimanjaro, built a crèche for needy children, has her own foundation, is a motivational speaker and an entrepreneur.

If you’re interested in joining a group of global entrepreneurs who are changing the world mile by mile, learn more about the Entrepreneurs’ Organization.

Categories: Best Practices Entrepreneurial Journey WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS

Tags:

2 Responses to “ 25 Lessons From 25 Years in Business ”

  1. Brian Hlongwane on

    This is an absolutely beautiful article Cindy, truly inspirational of you to share tips on how to keep abreast on this gruesome entrepreneurial journey.

    I am comforted to know that I am not alone nor do I face challenges alone. Fired up, rejuvenated and raring to go.

    Reply

Leave a Reply to Alex Vale

  • (will not be published)

*