CEO's share how to be successful in your career

Do you ever find yourself stuck in a rut and feel like you need some tips on how to be successful in your career? Maybe you are already perceived as “successful” but want to reach the next step of success?

Here at Shepherds Friendly, we spoke to 4 successful business folk and asked them for their advice on how to succeed in business, according to their experience.

Steph Douglas, Founder of Don’t Buy Her Flowers, says you should start by working out what you define as success.

“First, work out what success is to you. For most people, it’s not one thing – it’s probably partly financial, but it also might be about particular growth goals, being able to take holidays, pick up the kids from school or working with a charity you’re particularly passionate about. Once you’ve reached your goals, if you didn’t recognise it as a goal before you succeed, it can be difficult to be reflective. Therefore, having something written down that you can use as a marker is extremely helpful, and also helps with your planning. It’s also important to recognise that you probably won’t hit all these goals at once, and some should be with the longer term in mind.

“My second tip is to remain focused. Every successful business owner I’ve ever spoken to has said how important this is. It’s really easy to be distracted by opportunities and new ideas, but it can lead you to run before you can walk, and it can dilute your original aim. If you’re building a brand, having a very clear statement of what it is and all it stands for is vital.

“Finally, have a core group of trusted people you can talk to about your business ideas. Choose those type of individuals that you know will respond honestly and also pick you up if you have a wobble. I kept Don’t Buy Her Flowers to a tiny group before we launched because I needed to be completely clear on what the company was in my own head. People can’t help but give their inputs and opinions, and until you’re certain of what you’re doing, it can throw you.”

Peter Done, Managing Director and Founder of Peninsula, as well as co-founder of Bet Fred, says you should always celebrate success.

“At a time for when uncertainty is being dealt with each day for UK businesses, it is important to take the time to celebrate success. This goes beyond acknowledgement – this is about taking a step-back and reflecting on what you/your employees have accomplished and what you/they have learned throughout the journey.

“In today’s fast-paced, rapidly changing world of work, people are not taking enough time to understand why they were successful and how their success resonated and positively impacted the business and those around them.

“Remember employers are only as successful as their employees and the great businesses know that with the right team dynamics, decisions and personalities, everyone wins in the end.”

Entrepreneur Rob Hill, founder of The Stag Company, says you should treat every day as if it was a job interview.

“Smile and be polite to everyone around you, wear smart shoes, put in 110% and always be trying to impress the employer. As long as you follow this mantra, you will feel constantly motivated and make a consistently good impression.”

“Never be scared to talk to your boss about a good business idea. There is a high chance they haven’t heard it before, while it will also show initiative and impress them with your thinking outside of the box”.

Ben Michaelis, Founder and Managing Director at Think Engine Ltd says it’s important to have a positive outlook.

“Be resilient and keep going with a positive attitude. In business you will encounter moments which are both good and bad, my first key tip would be not to let the bad times spoil the good. Never forget why you started what you are looking to achieve. I’ve had many hurdles to face in business already, for example, you may lose a client for reasons which are out of your control even though you have delivered results and growth. Or even something larger like cash flow frustrations, which as we know, have the potential to sink or swim a business. In my view, the attitude of an individual or team will dictate how successful they can be, think positive and you will achieve.

“Enjoy what you do. If you are passionate about your business and offering, you are half way there. ‘People buy from people’, if you come across as enthusiastic with an engaging manner, you are more likely to form stronger long-term relationships. I believe that this passion rubs off on everyone around including colleagues, clients and suppliers. On the topic of colleagues, in my humble opinion this is an absolute fundamental to success in business, surround yourself with people that bring specialist skills and the same passion/drive – it makes a massive difference to your output.

“Use Digital Marketing and the Internet to amplify both your abilities and results, as well as your businesses. I had to get a Marketing related tip in here! In this day and age, Digital Marketing is taking over the way that people buy and engage with companies in both B2B and B2C sectors. If you are not yet using networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter to tell the world about your successes and achievements, then you are missing out.”

No matter the stage of your career, it is good to stop and look for advice for others. Life is all about learning: learning from your mistakes, learning about yourself, learning about who you want to be.