What’s the secret of Novacroft’s success? That’s a question I’ve been asked many times.

I was recently invited by the Institute of Directors (IoD) to share my thoughts as part of their panel at the Women as Leaders Convention 2018.

The event had an electric energy, and it was wonderful to see both men and women in the room. It was about breaking moulds, highlighting and overcoming challenges, but primarily about giving people an opportunity to have a voice.

As Novacroft has grown, so have I. With that growth, I’ve felt a growing responsibility to help others grow their skills and their businesses. It’s something I take incredibly seriously. So being part of the conversation at the Women as Leaders Convention was an opportunity to do exactly that. There’s so much that people can gain from knowledge sharing. It’s not just people that benefit, it’s our economy and our country.

I talked about three important elements of my business journey at the convention:

Your early life shapes you

I struggled at school. I was an outsider. Actually, I was dyslexic, but that wasn’t diagnosed until late in my school career. Yet, when I started working, my early experiences suddenly became helpful – in the end, they’ve actually stood me in good stead. Seeing things as an outsider gives you a real opportunity for a helicopter view. If you’re too much a part of the crowd, you have preconceived barriers.

Forget the fear

Carolyn Radford, CEO of Mansfield Town Football Club, was a fellow panel speaker and said something that rang true with me. What would you do if there wasn’t a fear of failure?

Before Novacroft, I worked hard at other companies. The internet was in its infancy at that point. I had my own ideas on how to harness its potential, but I didn’t act on them for a long time. Why not? Fear.

The catalyst for Novacroft was the loss of my parents. That gave me the ability to start something without fear. I realised life is short and I wanted to make a difference.

Find your amazing

When I let go of fear, I found the confidence to do something different. That was amazing for me. Starting and growing a business is about creating a vision and striving for that vision every day. Write yourself a postcard from your future self, say five years ahead. Where do you want to be? What would you like to have achieved? Along the way, you must be able to spot opportunities, seize them, maintain the ability to see clearly and keep calm. You’ll need to build a great team around you. By embracing your team and unlocking the amazing in everyone, you’ll have the foundations for a great future.

Life can’t always be perfect. There have been major challenges. However, working as a team, we’ve overcome them.

There’s a place for kindness in business

Above all else, remember to be kind. Make space for time and wellbeing and be kind to yourself and others. Remember, you’re not alone and you can make anything happen.

Novacroft is about simplifying complexity. The legacy I want to leave is also simple – I want to have helped others. For me, that’s what stokes the fire of energy and determination and that’s what breeds success.

*Photo: Peter Nutkins