Five years ago we officially started CREATIVA. The month of September is special for us, but particularly so this year as we celebrate our anniversary. They say that only 56% of businesses reach the 5-year milestone, and here we are, getting stronger every day.
The company was founded by myself (Maribel) and Vera, and today I’m the creative director and the one managing all operations, business strategies, and ideas.
Often, I found myself so busy looking forward and thinking what to do next to keep the business healthy or how to grow, that I lose sight of how far we’ve come and what we’ve accomplished.
Looking back today, I can see five clear key things that I believe have been essential to the growth and success of the business.
1. Connect with people
It’s common knowledge that networking is important. Attending industry events, chatting to everyone in the room, and making connections is vital, and we’ve done a LOT of it… however it can all be for nothing if you don’t nurture those relationships.
It is just as important to treat all those you meet with respect, always be yourself, and look after your clients. This honesty and transparency will become a hallmark of your character and brand, and draw people to you for support and work alike.
2. Create strong systems and processes
In my early days, I wasn’t always organised, and I didn’t have processes or checklists to keep me on top of things, I didn’t even know how they worked.
Now, I couldn’t live without them. I am constantly making improvements to the checklists and processes in place at CREATIVA, and considering new ones. I love this level of efficiency and how it makes life easier for me, my team, and our clients.
“The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.” – Barack Obama
3. Be curious and keep learning
I can’t emphasise this enough.
Google, online courses and workshops have been some of my greatest allies over the past five years. I’m always looking for new ways of doing things, learning about the new trends, and teaching myself about new tools available.
My knowledge has grown exponentially in a huge variety of areas, from my own specialisations in web design and branding, to new areas such as business, finance, marketing, sales, leadership, relationships, and more.
Every time I hear about a new term or system name, I go straight to Google to find out more.
4. Maintain excellent communication
For me communication plays a huge role in all business and client relationships. It is vital for me to have a polite, yet friendly, style of communication across the board. It’s not only about converting sales, it’s about showing respect for others.
For instance, I am always on top of my emails, ensuring that the team and I always reply promptly to requests and messages. I believe this is an important way to show appreciation for others. There is nothing worse for you business to not get back to your audience or your potential and current clients when they need you, if you are not there for them they will quickly jump over to your competitors. It’s not only affect your sales, but it hugely damage your brand and your reputation.
5. Discover your purpose
When I began, I had no vision of growing or building a team, just never thought about it. But as we started getting busier, I realised that I could provide some flexible contractor opportunities to other ladies who needed them – just as I needed years ago when it was hard for me to find a job and juggle family life on limited time.
There are so many women out there that would love to work a few hours a week on a per-project basis, so they can look after kids, gain some local work experience, or simply build their confidence again after moving countries, taking a break from work, or starting a new career.
Today, it has become one of my main missions, and the company’s, to not only make a profit (which is key to ensure it is sustainable), but also to create these opportunities for women. I want to invite them to work with us, while they, in return, can help us with our workload and offer additional services to our clients.
It’s a win-win.
I discovered my passion for business almost by accident; I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen or what I was going to learn and achieve. Five years later I am a totally different woman.
I’m passionate about my business and I want it to grow further – much further. Not only to have money in my account and be able to go on holiday more often (that’s a big goal for me), but also to make an impact, provide jobs, and build an awesome team of power ladies that through CREATIVA can achieve something more in their personal and professional lives.
As for the next five years, I already have plans. Plans for CREATIVA, and plans for other services and businesses still. I feel ambitious, and again, determined to make it happen.
I can’t finish this post without mentioning the people who has been there beside me in this exciting journey:
Vera – my business partner, thanks for supporting all my crazy ideas and my good and bad days with such patience and love
My team – thanks for believing in me and our company, for your talents and your friendship
Our clients – in every small and big projects, each one of you allows us to keep going strong
My husband – you are my rock, my biggest challenger and my biggest supporter, much of what I am today is because you are in my life.
Thank you so much…