The best advice you’ve ever been given?
We asked our top-notch panel to tell us the advice that's really made a difference in their careers.
Accelerate’s afternoon panel discussion brought together speakers and guests to discuss learnings from the day. Chaired by designer and entrepreneur Wayne Hemingway, it also featured Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of the South Bank Centre and the creative director of IFB2016, PwC’s Brian Henderson, RPD International CEO Josh Valman, networking guru Heather Townsend, and Rory Sutherland, Vice-Chairman of Ogilvy & Mather UK.
Asked who they go to when they have ideas, the panel echoed Rio Ferdinand earlier in the day in speaking about the value of having mentors and colleagues. Rory said that it is good to have three trusted colleagues - ideally people who are quite different to yourself - to run ideas past.
So what was the best business advice the panel had ever been given?
Heather said for her it was that it’s important to work not just in the business, but also on the business. “We spend our working time talking to clients and suppliers, making spreadsheets - doing the work of being in business. But it is important to take a step back and look at your business from the outside. To take time out and think carefully about where you want your business to go, and how it can get there. Look at the strategic decisions, as well as the day-to-day”.
Wayne’s advice was about his company’s values. “You don’t buy things for a name or a brand”, Wayne said. “Great brands have a philosophy behind them. It goes much deeper than a logo - they have a soul and a meaning.”
Jude’s advice was “never listen to somebody telling you what you can’t do”, and cited her own experiences of sexism as an example. “I’ve been told girls don’t direct. But this made me think ‘well, I will then’”, she said, adding that “girls do everything, women do everything.”
Josh went on to argue that the most important thing for making ideas come to life is actually getting started - getting out there and making something. It doesn’t have to be the finished product, but it will help you find out what people think.
On a very practical level, Rory stressed the importance of making it easy for customers to buy from you. If your website is hard to use, it will deter people from the payment process. “If your website’s architecture is a dud, your marketing won’t be effective”, he said.