Specially for International Women’s Day, Professional Jeweller has asked some of the industry’s most powerful female figures for their top tips in the business.
The series will run in four parts this week, Monday-Thursday, with today’s entry featuring Domino Jewellery’s Chantelle Serrell-Cooke, Sierra Consultancy’s Pooja Sahny and Debbie Hunt of CME Jewellery.
Pooja Sahny, director, Sierra Consultancy
Surround yourself with the right people
Building a business can be a lonely journey. This is why it is important to surround yourself with people who believe in you and respect your ambition. In turn, make sure you believe in them too. I have been very blessed to not only have a brilliant supportive network of family and friends, but also clients and partners.
You are bound to have days when you doubt the decisions you make. Just understand that we all make mistakes and that you cannot win every sale that comes your way. Don’t beat yourself up about it. You never know what new opportunity may come your way.
Know when to ask for help
Know and understand the industry you are in. People work with those who they trust, and they want someone who does more than talk the talk. There’s only so far ‘winging it’ will get you. Be honest if you don’t have the answer. You will be respected more for your honesty.
Even if you know the industry, you will never know everything, so never be scared to ask someone for help and advice. If the advice does not fit your work ethics, do not follow it. It may work for them, but not for you. Be true to your beliefs.
Set yourself goals with deadlines. Deadlines keep you focused and provide a healthy amount of pressure when you are developing your business.
Once the first goal has been achieved, set your next one. There is no harm in making your final goal to conquer the world! However, this requires having a devoted team behind you, so make sure you work with people who understand and respect your work ethics and share your drive and ambition.
Shakespeare’s quote “Though she be but little she is fierce” sums up the mission well – although you may look like a kitten, make sure you roar like a lion.
Debbie Hunt, general manager, CME Jewellery
Recognise talent in others
I think one key skill is to recognise talent and promote enthusiasm and initiative in others, which I think comes from my long working background in education. The ability to unlock potential and find the best employee for each role is rewarding personally, but also good for the business.
Creating teams with complimentary skillsets is key, as well as having staff who are better than you and who have the knowledge and ability to help you move forward!
A desire to improve things and make a difference
Business is about providing jobs and giving customers the resources to run their business successfully and has the potential to make a real difference to lives.
I also like staff to be happy at work, and for them to know that they have done a good job, can be proud of the company and have contributed something meaningful. It’s motivating to have a sense that we continue to make progress in life and at work.
Being nice to people
Being with cheerful people is good for you and everyone around you, it helps with mental well-being and motivates people and makes you more approachable. Our premises manager is an inspiration. He greets everyone with a smile and funny story which starts the day on a high note.
Chantelle Serrell-Cooke, Marketing Coordinator at Domino Jewellery
I believe it is important to have a passion for your career; if your heart is not in it, then it is hard to find the motivation to succeed. To quote Steve Jobs, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
Have an appetite to learn
Whether it is collaborating with others to learn from their experience, or learning something new independently, having an appetite to learn and take on new challenges leads to personal growth. New challenges should be seen as new opportunities.
Building the best possible team around you and utilising one another’s strengths is so important. One person’s weakness is another person’s strength.