January 2021 is a huge milestone for Visual Edge! I'm celebrating 20 years since opening the doors here in Port Macquarie way back in 2001.

I’m often asked for tips and suggestions that may help others on their business journey. Given I've reached an amazing milestone, I thought it would be a good chance to share some of the things I have learned so far on this incredible journey.

Although I didn’t know much about business when I started, and given that the ‘odds of success were stacked against me, I did know that I needed to learn fast, and deliver phenomenal service, be creative and outsmart the obstacles – even though I didn’t know what they would be yet! What served me well was a deep underdog mentality, and it was that mentality that gave me the drive, hunger, a burning desire to win and look at old challenges in new ways.

Here are 20 things that I have learned along the way that have served me well. I’m sharing them with you so that you don’t have to learn some of the hard lessons the way I had to!

1.There is no secret to success, there is a formula. It starts with setting big goals –and working very hard to achieve them.

2. Always be grateful, even for the setbacks, for there will be many. The biggest lessons and gifts in business can often come in disguise!

3.Although I am a sole trader and always have been.... Business is no fun alone – find the right people, partners and customers that you enjoy working with and build something amazing with them.

4.Hard work, works - short cuts and quick fixes will just take you back a step. Do things properly the first time.

5.Service, service, service – always place delivering value before profit. If the service is right, the rest with follow.

6.Think win-win for yourself and your affiliates and clients. if anyone is losing out, that’s not a workable business model or one that feels good to be in. Winning together is much more fun and long-term.

7.Trust your instinct - whether that be a contract, people decisions or new venture – if it doesn’t feel right, that’s probably for a reason.

8.You won’t always win but you’ll only truly fail if you fail to learn! Learn lessons fast and always keep learning.

9. Wake up early, be grateful – your goals should be big enough to kick you out of bed.

10. Procrastination kills opportunity.

11. Respect your competition – win battles together wherever possible.

12. Trust and empower the right people. Give them the keys to drive, be clear about expectations, and recognise their value as publicly as appropriate.

13. Give back, give forward and remember those that have stood by you – never, ever break their trust or let them down.

14. Surround yourself with the right people and remember that the right people will want to be surrounded with the same. Get a coach or mentor that has ‘been there’ They should have the wisdom to save you from learning expensive lessons that you can avoid!

15. Encourage growth, share opportunities and help others succeed. If it’s time for someone to move on or grow into other roles, support them in doing so quickly.

16. Cash flow is SO important! It’s like oxygen – if it runs out, Game over!

17. Work with hungry, interesting, inspired and passionate people that have a great attitude. If you wouldn’t be able to spend 2 - 4 hours in a car with them in traffic and enjoy the journey, how can you expect your customers and team members to?