StrategiQ recently joined the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, and I was delighted to attend my first Suffolk Business Women networking event. Entering the event, I was excited about what to expect, knowing that also attending would be like-minded business women that I would be eager to chat with. We also had the treat of award-winning entrepreneur, Naomi Tarry ready to share her inspirational journey with us. Naomi set up holiday cottage business, Best of Suffolk 8 years ago and her talk was enlightening.
In such a detailed talk, it is difficult for me as I write, to highlight the things that spoke to me the most, but I hope that I can do Naomi justice in identifying what stood out from her fantastic talk.
Naomi set up her business, Best of Suffolk alongside her husband Alex in 2006, marketing only six holiday cottages, before seeing dramatic growth year on year, now boasting over 260 beautiful holiday cottages. Best of Suffolk now receive regular accolades in national press including The Sunday Times, The Telegraph and The Guardian, in the process leading to an East of England Businesswoman Entrepreneur of the Year 2011-12 award for Naomi.
It’s safe to say that Naomi boasted a captive audience, fascinated and inspired by her personal success, all very keen to hear her insights into her extraordinary success. As such, Naomi spoke of her top tips for success. One point that seemed to resonate with the captive audience was to dress appropriately, highlighting that first impressions really are an extremely important reality, as evidenced by Naomi’s statistic, that you essentially have 7 seconds to impress.
Naomi moved on to speak more about important psychological traits which people should look to develop. She spoke of how we should dream, stating that dreaming big is a greater guarantee of success then settling for smaller dreams. She highlighted that no shame should be taken in failing to reach those big dreams, as success will often find you on the way.
Another psychological change which Naomi highlighted as important was the ability to see hurdles as stepping stones, or something to learn from. There isn’t a business in the world that doesn’t encounter some level of difficulty at some point in their existence, but the ability to use that difficulty to learn and grow as a result is a clear pathway to success.
Naomi made one particular point which was very familiar to me, in that successful people should be prepared to leave their comfort zone in order to see their dreams become a reality. I felt immediately able to identify with this, having left my 18 year career in insurance to enter my husband’s industry of marketing. I was confident in the knowledge that I had the best possible mentor and that he would be able to bring me up to speed and we would be able to work together to create our own marketing agency offering our clients something unique.
Now in our second year of business at StrategiQ, we can honestly say that we have had to overcome obstacles, but when we look back at how far we have come in the last 12 months alone, it is clear that we have used each stepping stones that emerges as a springboard to even greater success. What was most pleasing to me personally was the synergy that I could identify between myself and Naomi and our respective businesses.
Having both started businesses with our husbands, Naomi and I have both prospered from the benefits of this unique relationship. Sharing an existing partnership, it makes the transition towards working together in a business environment a smoother process, with a bond of trust already in place. Our shared goals help us to guarantee that we are both working together with a combined vigour and passion for the project in question. Naomi spoke of the need to develop a work life balance, leaving business talk in the office as much as possible. Whilst we live and breathe our roles as Directors of our respective companies, I believe that myself and Naomi are proof that a husband and wife partnership can work both in work and life.
As a concluding point, I’d like to draw attention to a suggestion that Naomi made to help ensure business success. Write yourself a letter from yourself five years in the future. If you know where you want to be in five years time, then the direction of your business can only benefit from such structure. Read the letter in five years time, you may surprise yourself.
We’d like to offer a big thank you to Suffolk Chamber of Commerce for arranging the event and to Seckford Hall for hosting the event and preparing a delightful lunch.