- Leadership and People
Profit with purpose: Uncovering the values of success
Success in business is often about finding the ability to learn from your mistakes, dust yourself off and try again. Here, serial entrepreneur Debbie Wosskow OBE explains why grit is so important in creating a thriving business – and how building a strong network can help you create a bright legacy for future.
Building a successful business can be hugely demanding. All too often, thinking about the legacy you want to create is put on the back burner as the day-to-day tasks required to get your fledgling company off the ground take precedent. But taking the time to think about your long-term vision at every stage of the process can not only help you create the legacy you want to leave behind, but also ensure you’re laying the groundwork for a business that truly reflects your values.
Grit, graft and grace
For Debbie Wosskow OBE, British entrepreneur and co-founder of the career network for women, AllBright, building a legacy you can be proud of depends first and foremost on grit – that unflinching, irrepressible determination necessary to make a new business succeed.
“We often talk about the importance of grit at AllBright,” says Debbie. “Not only because it’s something every woman needs in order to thrive in her career, but because grit is the single thing that separates the success stories from the ones that don’t make it. Grit is an ability to keep going and to grind it out, one day at a time, and we firmly believe it can be learnt. It’s like a muscle. You’ve got to keep picking yourself back up, even at rock bottom. We know this because we’ve been there.”
Grit, along with grace and graft (hard work), form the basis of everything Debbie seeks to achieve in her professional life – and provides a sort of check list of values that she can lean on during times of challenge or change in her business.
As an entrepeneur, the daily To Do list can seem never-ending, but setting goals – both long and short-term – is vital for ensuring that your business stays on the right track and ultimately becomes what you want it to be.
Debbie believes writing down goals, reviewing yourself and keeping yourself honest are imperitave in keeping up morale during challenging times, and helping you learn from things that could have been done better.
“When I achieve my goals it’s the best feeling in the world,” she says. “If you note them down, even the small things, it’s important to celebrate your successes. So as well as recording your goals, make sure that you high five your team, and everyone around you when you meet them.”
And what about those goals you don’t meet?
“Sometimes, missing a target is as important as meeting a target, because we learn so much from our failures,” says Debbie. “I fail at things every day. It’s a balance of celebrating your success, being real about your failures, and trying to learn from them that makes a difference.”
Profit with purpose
Sometimes – in business as in life - asking the most simple questions can get the most effective results. Debbie’s business, AllBright, was designed to fill a gap in the market for women looking to network, be inspired and access practical support to help them succeed in their professional lives.
Asking simple questions – and really listening to the answers – can help you develop a business model that seeks profit without compromising on purpose.
“You listen and take into account what women want and you do your best to incorporate that into an evolving business model,” says Debbie. “This need for education and connections is what led us to launch AllBright, and realising in this year that women need to feel inspired and build connections—and much of that from the living room—is what’s driven us to offer the digital membership.
“It’s a combination of profit with a purpose that drives us. This is unashamedly a for-profit business. We think there are real financial returns to be made in the white space that is building better networks for women. But it feels different as business number four for me because you just care so much. At the beginning of the pandemic when no one was leaving the house, so many people told us, ‘Keep going because you’re keeping us going.’”
Keeping profit and purpose front of mind when planning the next stage in your business can move you one step closer to building the type of legacy you want for the future.
A network that works for you
While building your own business can bring with it huge freedom, tackling the many challenges encountered along the way can leave you feeling isolated or even overwhelmed. That’s why it’s so important to build a network of people you trust, and open the door to the skills and expertise of others.
When RCI/Wyndham approached Debbie in the interests of buying her start-up Love Home Swap, it seemed like the former’s background and strengths would suit the requirements of the growing business well – and enable it to further flourish.
“With a background in timeshare, Wyndham was a complementary fit as an investor and its involvement paved the way for the exit deal,” says Debbie, who believes that all entrepreneurs should have an exit strategy right from the outset. “I saw the company as the right buyer at the right time. The fit was logical. We had a very close working relationship with Wyndham, and there is a very close overlap between the timeshare and holiday exchange businesses.
Building a strong network and finding the right fit for you and your business – whether that’s in investors, buyers or additional talent – can help you scale to the next level and create the legacy you want.
Top tips for creating a legacy of success
- It’s never too early to think about legacy – and build it into your business strategy.
- Goal-setting can keep you on the right track and provide valuable learning opportunities.
- Ask simple questions around what your customers want. And really listen to the answers.
- Keeping profit and purpose in mind can help you build the type of legacy you want.
- Building a network of people you trust can help you access essential skills and expertise.
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.