Ireland is a peculiar place. We are equally supportive and begrudging of one another. The three of us never started out as business people. We were three women who had a lot of passion and a vision and decided to take a chance on that. Business hasn’t changed us. But we learnt pretty quickly that not everyone is like that. Ireland is a small place – small pot of money, small pool of resources, small space for new, and sometimes small mentalities. As open and friendly people it took us by surprise that people could sometimes be ruthless and unscrupulous. Business is cut-throat. But does it have to be? We’re still the same open and friendly people we always were – and we’ve built a really strong Opsh team. We’ve surrounded ourselves with staff, advisors, collaborators and mentors who share similar traits of passion, positivity, warmth and openness. And it’s made us realise that we don’t have to change to be “business-women”, but rather we can create a new working dynamic. One that is collaborative and encouraging, inspiring and welcoming. However, it’s critical to know the difference between naiveté and openness. We certainly know that difference now. Remain the people you are, but have good, clear boundaries about what you share, with whom and when. Here is a loose set of Opsh guidelines that we’ve sharpened over these last two years of business.
Tip No One – Collaborate
Instead of competing with people, why not collaborate? It strengthens the offering and extends the resources, skill-sets and knowledge-base of a team.
Tip No Two – Don’t Reveal All The Things To All The People
This took a while for us to really understand and emulate. Not everyone has to know every little detail of your business. It’s not even about being tactical, it’s about pragmatism.
Tip No 3 – Surround Yourself With People You Like and Aspire To Be Like
If you create a really positive work environment, where your company and staff are enthusiastic, committed and motivated, you become a positive business. Positivity breeds positivity.
Tip No 4 – Promote Those People and Take Your Chances On Others
Team Opsh is really supportive of people we respect – both those at the top of their game and those starting out. We had a lot of support and goodwill when we started out and we feel it’s imperative to share that around.
The moral of the story? Bring your biggest competitor out for a cup of tea and realise that not everyone is going to be your biggest cheerleader.
Photo by Johnny McMillan