Growth

12 take aways from 12 years in business

- March 1, 2024 3 MIN READ

This year I’ve been in business for 12 years. Even as a write this sentence, I have to say it blows my mind… Media Stable is a tween. And while the tween years can sometimes be tumultuous, I feel like we’re really just hitting our stride, writes Nic Hayes MD of Media Stable.

Over my years in business, I’ve done my best to learn from and limit the bad experiences and double down on the good ones.

I believe a successful business depends on the right mindset, environment, people and culture. So after 12 years in the game, here’s my advice for business owners:

1. Never be shy to ask for what’s rightfully yours


Advice I got from my late father before kicking off in business. Don’t be nervous asking for a payment, chasing outstanding invoices or charging market value for your services. I’ve always been fair, upfront, and confident in this. It’s business, and you don’t want to be taken for granted.

2. Speculate to accumulate

You need to spend money to make it. The introduction of our #MeetTheMedia events perfectly illustrates this. They’ve been on the calendar around the country for nine years, and their budget includes speaker fees, location hire, catering, flights and accommodation, but for every dollar we spend, we expect to make three dollars in membership fees.

3. Surround yourself with great people


Something I learned from my previous employer. His business approach was simple, get the right people in the right roles, give them everything they need to make it work and enable them. This philosophy works. Business isn’t complicated, it’s a transaction between people and we want to do it with people we respect, like, and have a good relationship with. It also helps if they’re smart, passionate, and motivated.

4. Let people go when it’s time

This might be for their own good, for the good of the business or just because they’re not working out. I’ve sometimes stalled on this and see that as a failure of my own. But I’ve learnt to just make the decision and move on. The more you hesitate the greater the problem becomes.

5. Trust your gut

Your best barometer of business is your gut. What’s it telling you? If I look back at all the decisions I’ve made, gut instinct was the instigator… supported by evidence and some luck. Of course, there’s exceptions to the rule, but they’re few and far between.

6. A good accountant and lawyer

I interviewed well-known Perth car dealer John Hughes a decade ago and asked him what advice he’d give to someone starting out in business; his first two recommendations were a good lawyer and a great accountant. His third piece of advice was love what you do, which segues perfectly to my next point.

7. Make work play

I’ve never really felt like I’ve worked a day in my life. That said I work hard no matter what life throws at me… because I love what I do. The media and communications industry is so much fun because there’s something new and shiny almost daily. It suits my personality as I love the spontaneity and the challenges it presents. Having fun in business creates its own momentum.

8. Stay ahead of the game

The minute you think you know everything is the day you hang up your boots. Be curious and listen to what’s going on around you. Give your staff every opportunity to develop, pitch, and roll-out new concepts.

9. Put away the rear-view mirror

I’ve been guilty of looking back and not forward, and trust me that can eat you up and waste your time. The mistakes you’ve made are just lessons learned, they don’t dictate your future. Stop looking back and you free yourself up to develop your future.

10. Find a good mentor

To my mind, a good mentor is someone that has your back, has done it before and is a good listener. You’ll need a sounding board for the challenges you’ll face, particularly in the early days. Find one that will call a spade a spade and isn’t just barracking from the sidelines.

11. Listen more, talk less

Something I had to work on as I struggled in this area. When you’re listening, you’re getting so much more from your people, your customers, and your future markets.

12. Switch off

I built my business while we raised our family so I’ve been as present with them as I have been with my business. It’s important on holidays and after-hours to switch off. The reality is, in the early days everything falls on you, but before long you’ll be able to hand the keys to a trusted staff member and enjoy the fruits of your labour.

I know the foundations of my business will only become stronger, because with age comes experience, reputation, and confidence, which helps you plan for new business milestones.

I am by no means perfect, nor have I grown my business better than anyone else, but one thing’s for sure, in the words of old blue eyes… I did it my way.


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