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Throw back to Saturday 3rd November where I’m lining up with a panel of utterly fierce and wonderful female entrepreneurs…

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Annie Holt, founder of Ethereal London, Emily Fitcham, founder of FITCH Brew Co, Suzie Walker, founder of The Primal Pantry, Claire Hurst, founder of The Clever Skin Company and Primo Distribution

As I was trying to do my job and hold down a coherent, interesting and engaging panel talk, I was furiously trying to scribble some takeaways without losing my train of thought or the thread of conversation, because these ladies were throwing out wisdom and truth bombs like no one’s business.

I did want to sum up the talk with these takeaways but timing was such that we had to crack straight on with some questions which is never a bad thing. So, I’ve uncovered the cue card, to share some of the game changing pearls of wisdom here:

“We’re all winging it! “ A sentiment felt by every member of the panel and one that seemed to be reassuring to the ladies in the audience. It’s so easy for us to assume that those that have had success, have done so with great knowledge and understanding every step of the way. The truth is even more inspiring though, we are all winging it.

“It’s not failing, it’s learning.” This was something that Suzie Walker said when talking about the rollercoaster that she has been on with her business over the last couple of years. She has seen struggles but remains so positive. Spinning the negative occurances on their head and learning something positive from them is the best way for you to continue to move forward in business and life.

“Maintain a strong, inner belief in your end goal.” Your end goal is what will keep you going on this rollercoaster. What is that for you? Is it the pain points you are solving for your customer? Is it the life you are building for your family? Is it the end goal of buulding a business to sell? It is to see a life’s dream come to fruition. Whatever it is, it needs to be the light at the end of an often bumpy tunnel so that even in the darker times, you are able to see it and keep working towards it.

Hire slow, fire fast.” This was a key takeaway that was so punchy that it was hard to ignore. Suzie and Emily both talked about the difficulties and logistics of hiring and building a team and Suzie shared that at one rocky point in her business she had to cut the workforce from 26 to her core team of 11 as it now stands. Hire slow to hire the right people, but fire fast if your business depends on it.

“Know your ‘why’ and understand your customer.” Sounds fairly obvious when someone says it to you but how many of us truly understand our customer avatar? It’s very easy for us to go into business doing what we love, offering a service we enjoy or creating a product that we want to use or wear, but have we really worked on understanding our customer. Also, throwing back to the inner belief we need to have in our goals, we need to know our ‘why’. Our reason for existing in business. Our key driver. Do you know yours?

Know your worth.” Such an important element for us to discuss at a women’s conference. It is absolutely a generalisation, so forgive me, but many of us are quick to downplay our worth and our value and this just legitimises others doing it to us. The ladies on the panel clearly know their worth and that is a key takeaway to learn from them. Annie shared a story of sexist and patronising treatment when it came to seeking a bank loan to start her business. She was dismissed as a ‘designer’ that couldn’t have the business minded qualities required. She knew her worth though and this didn’t stop her from obtaining the investment and achieving the launch of a thriving and exciting new fashion brand.

Soundbites are the easiest way to take value from a talk like this as, much like visual recall, they allow you to fill around them with what you remember hearing. I hope these soundbites are such that you can takeaway and keep them in mind when you need feel your mind racing and your blood rushing as you face one of those downward phases of the rollercoaster. It happens to us all.

Were you at the panel talk? What did you think of the wisdom that the fierce and fabulous ladies shared?


(Photos all by

Fiona Minett