Take 5 with Carolyn Creswell

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One of Australia’s most successful self-made millionaires, Carolyn Creswell shared her tips for business success at the recent ETC BusinessLeaders event held in Coffs Harbour.

The 2012 Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year bought the muesli company, Carman’s Fine Foods for $1,000 at the tender age of 18 and has grown the company to a business that exports to 32 countries and boasts a $62 million turnover per annum.

“My first piece of advice to start-up and small businesses is don’t think you can give up your day job on a Friday and start your small business on a Monday and think it will all be roses,” Ms Creswell said.

“One of the biggest killers for small business is thinking that you can take home the salary you used to. Be really conscious of that. Whether one partner keeps working, or perhaps you work on your business at night or on weekends until you can get a bit of momentum going.

“For me one of the toughest things was finance in the early days. Try and balance that so you are not waking up in a sweat at 3am wondering how you are going to pay the bills.”

These are Carolyn Creswell’s other top 5 tips for success.

1.       Clear Vision

“You have to have a clear vision of where your business is heading and refer to it every day when decision making. Learn to accept that some things are perfect enough,” Ms Creswell said.

2.       Treat people you work with as family.

“We have a no eating at your desk rule for the 22 staff at my Melbourne head office. A local mum comes into the office and prepares salads, heats up everyone’s lunch and at 12.30 calls out lunch is ready,” Ms Creswell said.

“We also offer our staff a free car wash every fortnight and allow them to leave early on a Friday if their Inbox is empty.”

3.       Ensure everyone in the business is customer focussed.

“We respond to customer complaints within 2-24 hours. Customers are always right. We strive to really listen to customers rather than talking at them and never rush them,” she said.

4.       Write lists, prioritise, clear your inbox every day and learn to say no.

5.       Love what you do.

“It doesn’t matter what it is. You will be so much more successful if you are passionate about your business rather than just motivated by money.”

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