Our working year is almost at an end.

We have wiped out the office fridge, stocked up the sparkling wine and done just a little internet shopping for party frocks for the rounds of events that seem to starting very early in December.

But before we get too sozzled, we thought it would be nice to share our take on ‘big lessons in small business’ from a little start up in Bondi Junction!

Here are our top 5…

Drive your business like a skilled racer

A year or so ago, we had an idea for a new kind of co-working space.  Something that was like an idealized home office – light filled, beautifully decorated, warm, inviting, positive.  Not a ‘boys club’ or the domain of under 30 hipsters but something professional, convenient and productive.  A place where you won’t be ‘pitched at’ or feel overwhelmed.  In short, we created our own ideal workplace.  Very soon we were also inundated with requests for a space to meet or host events or workshops.  Companies approached us to host their own corporate off-sites and away days so suddenly our business model was morphing into something new – new and wonderful by the way.  We have since expanded our physical footprint here in Bondi Junction and now have co-working AND event space and our lovely caterers trek up and down our staircase bringing a never ending supply of beautiful catered lunches and morning teas to our lovely customers each week.   We didn’t expect this and hadn’t planned for it but all of a sudden we are also an events venue.  Sometimes, you just need to toss the road map away and drive by the seat of your pants!

Shout out loud!

No one is going to pay any attention to you unless you shout loudly.  Tell the world you exist, that you are awesome and that you love your business.  (We do actually love our business!)  Being enthusiastic about what you do can be irresistible.

We have got a little shameless getting ourselves out and about at as many events as we can muster the energy for, introducing ourselves on LinkedIn to every Tom, Dick and Harriet and collaborating with other business owners who, well, who we just like hanging out with (Natalie Goldman and LauchPod I am looking at YOU!), having a laugh with and who have the spirit and get up and go we just love to be associated with.   We have sprawled ourselves liberally across social media.  It’s an extraordinary time really with so many platforms to speak from and to an audience that would once have been impossible to reach.

Cut off the dead wood

Sometimes people aren’t very nice.    Let’s call them the ‘toxic customer’.  We had one or 2 in our early days of opening and we learnt quite quickly that if we don’t want to be around these people then no one else will either.  Sometimes, in the nicest possible way, it’s just better to ‘let them go’.   Goodbye and don’t come back!!

Finances – urgh!

Weirdly this is something that is often ignored. A business lives and dies by its profitability and of course in the early days there is no financial track record or pattern and usually more debt than profit floating like a menacing cloud at the end of each month.  It’s tempting to look away and get on with the day (and the fun stuff) but there is no point at which this is a good idea – it ‘s numbers all the way.  Not just turnover but also profit.  In a growth phase this also means staying on track to reach the financial goals and always, always looking on with a cold hard eye.  If you can’t do it – it’s not too hard to find someone that can.

Step back and celebrate

Where were you last year compared to now?  Have you gone backwards or forwards or even sideways?  Don’t worry about one bad week or one bad month or one cranky person in your day  – take a decent sample and send it for testing!  Then when the lab tests come back, look at what worked and what didn’t and then change it if it didn’t work, keep it and crank it up a notch if it did.  Then you can sit back and pop the cords.  Well done you!