Spaceworks, an awesome Business Changing client of the past 3 years, just made the Deloitte Fast 50 – much-deserved recognition for owner Lizzi Hines and her team. (Since taking on Zac as a coach, Lizzi has increased her sales by 5-and-a-half times and achieved a 400 percent growth on profit – two stats we are chuffed about!) Spaceworks is a design and fit-out service – they work with clients to create spaces that are cool and fresh as well as clever and practical. We sat down this month to talk to Lizzi about what inspires her, what keeps her going and what she does to keep her business on track and achieving.
Congrats on your recent achievement – making the Deloitte Fast 50! What does that mean for you and your business?
Thanks! It’s great confirmation that we are on the right track. The thing I love about business awards like this is that they recognise the whole team – everyone at Spaceworks can take credit for their contribution to get us to this point.
Since you bought Spaceworks in 2006, it’s been on an upwards trajectory, even through the recession. This is obviously a reflection of your business nous. Is there any one thing you’d consider to be your secret to success?
I’m a big picture thinker and every business has to have one of those. I am someone who dreams big. I don’t get caught up with whether it’s achievable or not. I simply set goals and then set out to achieve them.
What’s been the key to growing your business?
Diversification and continuing to seek out other opportunities using the existing skill set of the business. For example, when I bought Spaceworks seven year ago, we only designed for offices. Now we basically design for any interior space – retail, hospitality, office and residential (for commercial property developer clients).
Do you have a mantra or rule that you live by? For work and/or your personal life?
Set goals! They help you to continue to strive to move forward in business and in life. I set goals for all aspects of my life – 80 percent of them I achieve, the remaining 20 don’t usually matter because I have either changed direction or changed the goal. I challenge people to set goals – and write them down!
What advice do you give to other entrepreneurs or business people?
Surround yourself with great people, advisers, friends, consultants, mentors. Make sure you have people around you who are ahead of you, where you want to be in life, whether that is more successful, richer etc. These people will inspire you and also be a great sounding board.
What’s the one thing you’d advise them to invest in?
Their work space. If you have a business with staff, you need to appreciate that a vibrant energetic space is a great staff recruitment and retention strategy. We all know that good staff are hard to come by; it is important to create a space that reflects your business, and supports your strategy for hiring and holding onto the best. A great space doesn’t need to be expensive – it just needs to look and feel like you care about the staff. I think it is important to invest in the right people around you, and Zac has been awesome as my adviser.
What’s the one thing you think business owners waste too much effort/time/money on?
I think owners waste too much time in the business not on the business, which takes their eye off the ball. I have also been guilty of it. I have to remind myself often of my priorities or where my attention is best spent.
What personal quality do you think someone must possess in order to be successful? What quality do you have that you’ve found has been helpful the past seven years?
The best quality I have now is my ability to leave work at work (mentally). While I can feel the pressure and stress of the job, when I leave, I leave it all at work. This is something that I have learned – I definitely did not have this to start with! I also think my ability to see the big picture allows me to focus on growing the business and keeping it on track.
What do you wish you’d done, or learnt, earlier?
All the clichés – don’t put all your eggs in one basket, cash is king, work on the business not in it. All of them are true and I have experienced all of them.
Where to from here for you?
Bigger and better. I will continue to grow the business in NZ and into Australia. We have been working in NZ, Australia and the South Pacific – we will continue to grow these markets.
To get your company kicking butt like Lizzi’s is, call Zac and get Business Changing involved as your business coach!