The new year is the perfect time to take stock of your career and business, and set business resolutions for the year ahead which is why we’ve turned to Australian business and career coach Pru Chapman for expert business advice.
Chapman specialises in purpose-driven and disruptive business and has worked with over 15,000 entrepreneurs helping them to achieve their personal and professional goals. She is also the founder of purpose-led business podcast One Wild Ride, a podcast about good business which is now available in print magazine format too. The podcast features in-depth interviews with leading business disruptors and values-led brands inspiring positive change such as Bank Australia, TOM Organic, Bellroy and Seabin Project.
With over 85,000 downloads and One Wild Ride consistently ranking in the Top 10 Apple Podcasts for Entrepreneurial Business, Pru Chapman isn’t your average business coach. In this interview, she offers up plenty of good business insights from the essential tools she uses to help her stay on track, the sustainable business trends to look out for in 2021 and how she has learned to focus in an age of social media distraction.
EWP: What are the top three business tools that you use to help you work more efficiently?
Pru Chapman: I’m a firm believer that the systems will set you free, and there’s no better time than now to get your systems set up to support your ‘Beyoncé style’ next-level goals for the year ahead. Personally, there are three essential systems that I would never go without.
Straight up is a rock-solid accounting tool. If you’re really going to hit the big time in 2021 then it’s time to quit collecting ratty old paper receipts, and time to join the rest of the world with an online accounting system. Personally, I love Xero. They set out to make accounting beautiful, and they really did. Now, instead of feeling terrified of your numbers, you can call accounting fun as this snappy tool sync’s with your bank feed to make sure you never miss another expense again. The bonus? You have up to the minute accuracy on where money is flowing in (and out) of your business empire, #gamechanger.
Next up, you want to give all of your contacts (and the conversations you’re having with them) a nice tidy online home. Enter a CRM, or Customer Relationship Management system. Once you’ve got this in place you can also start automating your client journey, and hey presto – you’re having conversations with more than one person at a time. This my friend, it is the secret to scaling your business.
Finally, Beyoncé has back-up dancers, and to take your empire next level you’re going to need a team too. Before you even think about making your first hire, be sure to get everything out of your head and into a Project Management System. This will ensure a seamless workflow between you and your newly found team members. My personal recommendations are Asana, Monday.com, and Trello.
EWP: What are your top tips for small businesses looking to become more sustainable?
PC: Over the past few years I’ve been diving deep with the founders of some of the most sustainable businesses in Australia on my podcast and there are three pieces of advice that come up again and again:
- Get clear on your vision and values. Knowing who you are and what you stand for is fundamental to building a business focused on sustainability. Understand the issues most important to you from the start, which will not only keep you on track with your True north, but also attract a like-minded and loyal community along the way.
- Start small. Every business starts on day one with a single step, and while it can be easy to become overwhelmed when we look at the likes of Patagonia, Koala, Who Gives a Crap and many more, the advice they give is always the same: Start with a single step and hold the path steady throughout your growth. It’s these firm foundations and acts of environmental bravery that are the stepping stones to creating a sustainably focused empire.
- Engage everyone in your supply chain. While it’s easy to think about the people that make your products, try and cast your net wider to engage the broader community around you. This includes everyone from your courier company, your energy provider, your wholesalers, customers, and so many more.
EWP: What does your WFH office situation look like?
PC: I’m lucky to live in paradise, and have a beautiful jungle-like studio in Byron Bay. We call it Owners Collective Home, as it’s where we bring our people together for our in-person community events. Community is everything in building a sustainable business, and we believe that nothing can replace real-time human connection.
EWP: How do you stay focused on achieving all your goals with so much noise online?
PC: Essentially I call this the art of ‘staying in my own lane’. I believe that the most important act in achieving my goals is making sure that I’m in alignment with what I’m looking to create. This means ensuring that my goals are true to me (not to Instagram), and making sure that they are my biggest and best work. Once I’ve firmly landed in a place of authenticity everything becomes laser focused.
Next comes action, and I dial in my habits to create the discipline that I need to achieve my goals. The most powerful habit that I’ve found is setting aside the first 1-2 hours of my day to take specific action towards my goals. This combined with daily Vedic meditation and strict social media consumption enable the tunnel vision I need to stay focused, productive, and in flow.
EWP: What emerging trends should sustainable businesses watch out for in 2021?
PC: I love that we’re on the front of the tidal wave of ‘good business’ right now. As consumers increasingly align their personal values with their purchasing choices we’re seeing radical consumer driven change across all industries.
From the inside there are three trends that will drive ‘good business’ this year:
- Increased certification. It’s one thing to say that you’re doing good, and it’s rock-solid once you’re certified. In Australia, B Corp is leading the certification space, and businesses big and small and racing to get their tick of approval right now.
- More public giveback programs. Consumers want to know which projects the brands they support are behind. Whether it’s planting ten trees for every hat sold like Will & Bear, donating back to wildlife sanctuaries like Koala, or donating 1% of sales to grassroots environmental organisations similar to Patagonia and Owners Collective, companies will increasingly get onboard with charitable giving to strengthen the values alignment with their customers.
- Consumer-driven content. As brands continue to be an extension of our personal values, we’ll see a lot more user-generated content because nothing demonstrates our values more strongly than a perfectly placed Instagram post.
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