I consider myself very lucky that I run my business with my wife who is an ongoing support to me. She backs me through the work she does in the company every day and also her ideas for product development, ongoing support across the entire company and through her great entrepreneurial spirit.
That said, although I do have Pauline in the business with me, sometimes I can still feel quite lonely especially if you are the one that is making the majority of the important decisions.
Pauline and I set out quite early on at Dr.PAWPAW that I would have the final say on a number of tasks and whilst we now have a clear line of who does what, I can still sometimes feel isolated. Many of my friends within the industry will also often say they feel lonely because they too have to make a lot of choices on their own and there is no one there to bounce ideas off. I am sharing my top tips on how to make decisions a little easier and to feel like you have support at all times in business.
Build yourself a great support system
I’m lucky enough at Dr.PAWPAW to have some of the best people working alongside me. I do not count them as staff, I see them as colleagues and many of them, now friends. Some of the team we have today has been with Dr.PAWPAW from the very start and the majority of new people that join, stay.
The main reason for that is we have created a place where each of them of course has their own career goals but also has a real sense of being part of the Dr.PAWPAW journey alongside myself and Pauline. We are a family with one common goal – to see Dr.PAWPAW grow. I have some key decision makers in the business that I know I can rely on and trust and I go to them for advice when I’m really feeling up against it. So surround yourself with great people to help you not feel so alone and always ensure when you are hiring new people that they know more about the job role you are trying to fill than you do.
Create a network of like minded business owners
In the lockdown, although myself and Pauline were running Dr.PAWPAW together I would still at points feel lonely about making decisions, and not know what way to turn. I created a WhatsApp group with some key industry managing directors and brand owners and this has proved invaluable to me and to them! Questions on Brexit, pricing, shipping, cost of goods, managing retailers and D2C business are common topics and I now have somewhere to go to ask my questions and get advice.
This group of people give feedback with great answers and honest opinions and my knowledge is constantly being tested. This has been so helpful and I would highly recommend you try to create a network like this to aid you in both your personal and business development.
Find yourself a great mentor
I never knew the importance of having a great mentor and the need to have someone you can really rely on and trust, someone that will always be there to challenge and question where you’re going with your strategy. Many years ago I met a lady that I had always wanted to work with. I admired her and she had built and developed many many great brands in the United Kingdom.
Last year I approached her and asked her if she would be interested in becoming a mentor to both myself and Dr.PAWPAW. Now we spend at least one day a month working together on the financials, the overriding company strategy, the team building, the product development and she is now there to challenge me and tell me if I am doing the right thing.
Having this person that will challenge you and ask questions about the decisions you are making is so important in life and in work, especially when you’re at the top. You need to have someone to turn to, a sounding board for your ideas, not to make you question yourself but so you are challenged and always encouraged to think about what you’re doing before you do it.
My mentor has provided me with invaluable contacts and expanded my network within the industry and now we have many more opportunities.The more opportunities you are given in business, the more growth you will see.
That’s all from me, I would love to hear you tips on how you refrain from feeling lonely at the top and hear from you if you go on to apply some of the above advice yourself! Until next time, Johnny.