Decisions, decisions

Ted Walker, Head of Marketing at Keith Prowse

Best piece of business advice?

I think the best piece of advice I have received is to question everything and ensure what you are doing is measurable. Using SMART principles and a simple ROI calculation to measure your marketing activity will help you become much more effective and efficient. Business at its most basic level is all about understanding customers’ needs and providing products or services they want. Too many people try to make things complicated but most things in reality are simple. Every business must ask itself whether there is a market for its products and services and if they don’t know do some research.

One of the best pieces of advice I received early in my career was before accepting a meeting invite ask yourself, “Do I really need to attend this meeting?” If the answer is ‘no’ then don’t go, the chances are that the information you need will be available in any meeting minutes issued. We all get asked to attend many meetings, sometimes we find ourselves in a room full of 20 people discussing a topic or subject that finds one asking, “What is this about and why am I here?”

Worst business decision you have ever made?

At times I think we are all guilty of not following our gut instinct. I have had suppliers that are not performing to the desired level or simply not delivering.

In some cases, I have perhaps been too lenient and accepted poor performance for too long. There’s no room for sentiment in business so thankfully I don’t have any such problems with our current agency or supplier roster.

Tom McInerney, Director of Etherlive

Best business decision you have ever made?

The best decision I ever made was taking the leap from the corporate world and starting Etherlive. I meet many people who say ‘they wish they had jumped’ but never got the chance. Even though Etherlive is still a young company I would encourage anyone who is passionate about starting up to do it. Jump in. You will make mistakes, you’ll have good times and tough but in the end you’ll have something you have had to fight for. Even if the idea fails it can provide invaluable experience in many fields.”

Worst business decision you have ever made?

Hiring is the biggest risk in business and so typically my bad decisions (or – to be more accurate the ones I would not make again) have been hiring the wrong people. Check references all you like but in the end the end you have to take a gamble on someone, especially with a company of our size and growth curve. Generally when you realise a mistake has been made and things are not working stop, address it, and move on. And always have a trial period.

Nick Jones, MD, Nexus Collections

Best business decision you have ever made?

Deciding to go direct to China when we first set up the business. Most promotional companies use an importer who in turn has to use very cheap poor quality factories to accommodate two sets of margins. It also means they have no control over the supply source. We went into China on day one and fortunately found a fantastic factory to work with. We now own our factory so have complete control over quality, styles and pricing, giving us a huge point of difference.

Worst business decision you have ever made?

Investing some spare company funds in Royal Bank of Scotland in June 2008, three months before it became insolvent. However, I am pleased to say we recovered our losses through an investment in Western Coal and also silver.

Paul Colston


Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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