Trust your instinct
  • Growing my Business
    • Enable Growth

Trust your instincts: tips for realising your growth goals

  • Article

Whatever your business growth goals, following your intuition can play a big part in making them a reality.

When launching a business – and steering it through its next phase of growth – logic, common sense and careful planning are all essential. But there’s also much to be said for keeping in-tune with whatever it is that inspires you, excites you or even scares you, in order to build a company that makes connections on a human level.

Ariane Zagury, an investment banker by training and Founder of the Rue Madame Fashion Group, explains the best way to ensure a bright future in business is to find the decision-making sweet spot that lies between the head and the heart.

“I feel when it comes to business, the decisions we make will always be partly logical and partly from the heart,” she says.

Striking a balance

When first arriving in Hong Kong SAR from London in 2008, Ariane fell in love with the city’s energy, vibrancy and diversity, and knew she wanted to open a business in the region. Recognising a gap for good quality, stylish women’s fashion, Ariane founded her own boutique, Rue Madame Fashion Group, which brings contemporary and premium fashion labels to Asia.

But it wasn’t just her love for the city and the passion she felt for improving access to high-end fashion that inspired her to take the plunge.

“From a logical perspective, when it comes to any business decision, the revenue always needs to be greater than the cost, or moving forward with it does not make any sense,” she says. “We really look into every opportunity to see whether it makes sense, that the timing is right and that we are comfortable.”

Turn your differences into strengths

Competing in a business arena dominated by men can be intimidating, especially when it comes to processes such as pitching for investment. Women are more likely to report a lack of confidence around their pitching ability than men, but the reality is that women are more likely to be successful in their fundraising attempts, not less.

HSBC’s She’s the Business report, which surveyed 1,202 entrepreneurs – both male and female – found that that 50% of women pitching to investors were denied funding, compared to 58% of men.

So how can women turn this into confidence in their business decisions, and find out how best to tap into their strengths?

“You need to accept who you are with your qualities and your flaws, and make these your strengths,” says Ariane. “I’m very direct. People can accept it or not. You need to be able to have very open discussions very quickly. If it doesn’t work then it means that it’s not the right partner.”

Speaking the same language

Identifying your strengths and weaknesses as an entrepreneur – and the ways in which you best connect with others – can give you clarity around where you need to improve and open your mind to new ways of thinking.

Growing a business is about building strong partnerships with the right people. As such, cultivating self-awareness and modifying habits or behaviours that do not serve you or your business will always be a step in the right direction, and give your company the best possible chance of success.

What’s the story?

Everyone loves a good story. To this day, little connects us with others as strongly as the narratives we create with them, the anecdotes we share and the dreams we collectively build.

Ariane believes this is especially true when it comes to connecting with customers and carving out a space for your business in an often crowded and noisy market. A brand with a strong base that has defined itself, and is popular in its own market is, unquestionably, more likely to excel.

Making sure to think about your business’ story, how it identifies itself as a brand, and taking your customers, investors and other stakeholders on the journey with you can only make it stronger.

Ditch the comfort zone

Being an entrepreneur is daunting enough, and it can be tempting to try to protect yourself against risk as much as possible. But diving in at the deep end – and accepting failure as not only inevitable but as a gateway to invaluable experience – can be the best way to push yourself as a business leader. And perhaps even exceed your growth goals.

For Ariane, finding that thing you can’t stop thinking about or feel strongly about is the key to stepping outside of your comfort zone and challenging your doubts. It was Ariane’s passion for couture – and her childhood memories of spending time in her father’s fabric shop – that inspired her to take the risk of shifting from the world of finance to the world of fashion.

“Find something that you are passionate about and throw yourself in,” she says. “You will fail but you will learn from your mistakes. What matters is to try and live your dreams.”

Top tips for scaling up

  1. Listen to your intuition. While logical decision-making is important, keeping in-touch with the ideas that fire you up will ensure you build a business with soul.
  2. Take a close look at your strengths and weaknesses – and be open to addressing habits or traits that don’t serve you or your professional goals.
  3. Remember that women are less likely to be turned down for investment than men. Be yourself and tap into your strengths and uniqueness in order to connect with new stakeholders.
  4. Your business has a story. Don’t be afraid to use it for the development of your unique brand and to take others with you into the next chapter.
  5. Step outside of your comfort zone. Having the courage to dive in at the deep end will help you grow as an entrepreneur – and perhaps even exceed your ambitions for growth.
If you’re looking for the tools, connections and support to pursue your growth goals and to find out more about how HSBC is supporting female entrepreneurs, please visit this page.

Further insights

Leaning in: How embracing female strengths could help you secure capital

Exploring under-served markets, tapping into gender-based strengths and being bold in your goals for success are just some of the ways in which female entrepreneurs can win over investors and secure game-changing funding.

Need help?

If you'd like to discuss how we can support you on your journey please get in touch.