If you follow us on LinkedIn, you probably know how much we love celebrating milestones, personal and professional. We’re suckers for an activity, and you can find us at least once a month – eating cupcakes and singing happy birthday to a team member while they smile at us awkwardly
We had a great time celebrating Navigo’s 15th birthday with our team (current & previous). As part of this coming of age, we wanted to give a little something back to our community. So, to pay it forward – we had a chat with our founder, Pete, to find out his ‘lessons learnt’ while running a successful business.
Here’s his 15 secrets to success based on his journey with Navigo:
1) Get your mission and vision right – Your mission talks about your short-term focus, what goals do you want to achieve in the next 4-5 years. Your vision, on the other hand, is more long-term and should ideally remain the same for as long as your business operates.
Here’s our mission and vision statement:
Mission: To be the leaders in organisation design in Australia and New Zealand
Vision: Helping organisations have sustainable workforces
Hot tip: To learn more read ‘Building Your Company’s Vision’ by Harvard Business Review.
2) Work to live – One of the reasons why people start their own business is to enjoy a certain amount of freedom in terms of when, where and how they want to work. Unfortunately, many owners become slaves to their business and their work-life balance becomes blurred. It’s important to set some rules for yourself. Remember, your business is an important part of your life, but not the only thing in your life.
3) Have the right people on the bus – An important tip for small business owners is to always look ahead to scaling your business. With the right team you can grow beyond you. And by that he means, if you hire good people who believe in your mission and vision, you can take a step back and trust your leadership team to make decisions autonomously.
When hiring, worry more about the people and less about the seat they’re taking or where the bus is going – there are always course corrections along the way, plus it won’t really matter if your people are the wrong fit.
4) Core values are not just for your website – Your core values define your business. Try not to have a list of generic values like honesty, hard work etc., it’s better to keep it more personalised and meaningful to your business. Your core values are also a great filter for the people you hire because not everyone will have the right personality to fit into your business.
Here are Navigo’s 3 core values that all our employees live and breathe everyday:
5) Be thorough in your hiring process – Depending on the role you’re hiring for – set up phone interviews, questionnaires, group interviews and/or tests. If they make your short list, invite them for a trial day. This is a great way to know if the candidate will be able to do their day-to-day tasks and work well with other employees. It’s also a good indicator for the candidate of whether or not they would like to work in your business.
Once that’s done and if the candidate has been selected, have a 6 month probation period. During that time if either of you figure out that it’s not going to work out – don’t drag it out, move on quickly so you aren’t wasting anyone’s time.
6) Create a unique employer value proposition – Since this is your own business, you get to set the tone. What kind of an environment do you want? What kind of people do you want to work with? What kind of a manager do you want to be? It’s all up to you! But before you decide on that, you need to answer one important question – what sets you apart? Why would a candidate want to work for your company vs someone else in the same industry? Take some time to build your employer value proposition. Here’s a helpful resource to get you started.
7) Make data informed decisions – At the end of the day, numbers don’t lie. Before making any big decisions, look at what the numbers say. Your decisions shouldn’t be data driven but data informed.
8) Have a recurring rhythm to the business – Every department at Navigo has their own ritual for catch-ups. This is a great way for everyone to talk about what they’re doing, any roadblocks they’re facing and share project learnings. We also have company-wide catch-ups, for example our weekly Friday team lunches are a great way to unwind and update everyone on what’s happening in each department. The free lunch isn’t even the best part, we get to pack up right after and kick start the weekend!
9) Create an open culture – At Navigo, we Default to Open, which means our team is always aware of what’s going on. We share our company plans regularly & create fun quarterly objective posters to decorate the office.
10) Never stop learning – We help our employees master their craft, grow their personal brand and show them the ropes of the industry. We love people who are passionate about what they do and encourage our team to attend training sessions, seminars or do courses that will help them become an expert in their domain.
11) Build a repeatable machine – Build organisational knowledge and sustainability by capturing your repeatable processes. No one person should be solely responsible for something. It’s not fair on the person, or your business.
12) Celebrate successes – As mentioned earlier, from birthdays to anniversaries to quarterly kick-offs to annual retreats in the snow, if anyone knows how to celebrate in style, it’s Navigo! Our awesome team continues to smash goals every quarter, so of course we want to shout it from the rooftops. Make sure your team feels appreciated and recognised, even the smallest of gestures go a long way!
13) Be open to feedback – Learn from criticisms and feedback at the early stages of building your business, this is always going to be a continuous process but it’s especially important when you’re just setting up. Create focus groups or host ‘lunch-and-learn’ events to get honest feedback and find areas for improvement.
14) Research on experts in your industry – Collaborate with thought leaders and industry experts. Look them up on LinkedIn and build a connection – they can be a great asset. Their network would be the kind of audience you would target and there’s a lot you can learn from their experiences.
15) Don’t underestimate the power of marketing – Put the word out there about your business, it can’t sell itself. Tell everyone about the problem you’re solving and be smart about how you reach your targeted audience. Automate your processes and leverage technology where you can to make your marketing efforts more scalable and effective.
Hopefully you found something of interest from Pete’s secrets to success. If you want more, here’s a recent upskill session with tips & tricks for finding and retaining great talent:
Want to become a member of our awesome team? Check out our careers page to learn more: https://navigo.com.au/careers/