“To me success is all about having the courage to back yourself and taking the first steps to make it happen!’ Alyce J
Please tell us a little bit about yourself
I started an offline technical consulting business when I was a college student and grew it to a point where I didn't have to find a job when I finished University. I am really passionate about business so recently I started a website www.newstability.com to help other your people and students start businesses they really enjoy.
What is your background and what got you interested in business?
Ever since I was a child, I wanted to start a business. I started University when I was 21 after losing 2 jobs in the space of 6-8 weeks so that finally gave me the push I needed to get out there and build a technical writing business which I had wanted to do for some time.
What would you say are the top 3 skills needed to start your own business?
- Understand your strengths and weaknesses. Self-awareness is so important to help you understand where you should focus your energies and what you should outsource.
- Networking. I am an introvert so, networking doesn't come naturally to me, but I understand the importance of networking for my businesses. Networking is non-negotiable and is a skill that needs to be practiced especially if it is not your focus.
- Patience and planning. Things don't happen overnight, you have to resist the urge to pivot if you are still validating your ideas or executing your plan.
Is it better to start a business with family, friends or strangers?
I only have experience working with people in my networks. Building a business (especially a small business) requires a certain level of trust that I think would be difficult to achieve with a stranger.
If you do start a business with friends or family make sure you have documented expectations and agreements regarding the business. Understand that whenever you start a business with someone your personal relationship can be ruined unless you create clear boundaries.
What are the most powerful actions to increase employee productivity?
There is so much focus on how much time you spend on something in the workforce. If your employee is required to show up for work at nine and sit at their desk until 5 there is no real motivation (except pressure and stressful deadlines) to achieve the outcomes.
It is important to take the focus away from how much time you spend on something to focusing on the output you can achieve while giving employees an incentive to be more productive.
Would you recommend time tracking to increase employee productivity?
It can be difficult to get employees on site when talking about time tracking because is can be seen as micromanaging. Explain why you are wanting to implement time tracking and how it can help them in their job.
I believe the top 3 benefits of time tracking include:
- Understanding how employees are working;
- Having an overview of the tasks that are taking a large amount of time but are adding little or no value to the business; and
- Making it easier to quote on future jobs as you can see where the time is going so you don't loose on any fixed price jobs.
What are three books you recommend entrepreneurs to read?
- The Lean Start-up, by Eric Ries (how to validate your business idea and create a minimum viable product).
- 18 minutes, by Peter Bregman ( maximise your productivity).
- The 4 hour work week, by Tim Ferriss ( leverage how you work to allow yourself freedom).
What advice can you give for starting a business in general?
Understand the value your business is adding to clients and the needs of your target market.