What I know now

Lara Morgan, the founder of Pacific Direct, tells us what she knows

Lara Morgan sold luxury toiletries business Pacific Direct for £20m in 2008. Here the former Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year finalist and author of More Balls Than Most tells us what she knows.

Sharing in enterprise can be priceless. I took too long to realise the value of networking.

Be clear about the vision and mission for a business. I built a business after starting at 23-years-old without a plan. I was a soap salesperson. My first client was The Dorchester, but only because my grandmother had said they do a good coffee and great fresh orange juice. You’ve got to be relentlessly on your business, not in your business but sales comes first and the biggest priority. Without sales you have no potential.

You need to have the right attitude to enterprise. Celebrate success.

Say ‘no’. It’s the most difficult word. Be braver. Be faster. Make more money.

Don’t hang around. Don’t be a perfectionist.

Focus.

The world is your oyster. I sold products in 110 countries through Pacific Direct. We could be doing a lot more exporting from this country. The export people at UKTI (UK Trade & Investment) are world class.

Stay fit. You’ll have more energy. It’s better to put a few good hours in than flog yourself.

Surround yourself with people better than you. I wasn’t brave enough to employ experts when I started. The growth of the business accelerated when I did.

Cross no-one. My philosophy is that it’s far better to work with people than against them. Treat people equally.

Make excuses to celebrate your people, whether that’s putting a £50 note under their seat or a packet of jelly tots on their desk.  Reward the things you need to have achieved and make sure the team share in the company success.

Harness staff in jobs they value. Aspire to excellence and have the customer at the heart of everything.

Create a point of difference. Communicate with a picture.

Stay grounded. I was driven by fear. My father went bankrupt. Because of that I relentlessly embraced change, standing still is not an option – someone else is overtaking.

Lara Morgan was speaking to an audience of entrepreneurs at The London Entrepreneurial Exchange.

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