3 Things You Need To Survive In Business For 30 Years
Yvonne Parkinson from Absolute Colour is a She Business member, a sponsor or Fearless and a fearless businesswoman. She started in the printing business 30 years ago and for the last 25 years has spent every day loving her business. Well most days!
We caught up with Yvonne in time for Fearless to find out what we all need to learn from one savvy business woman.
What are the 3 things you have done to survive in business for so long?
Determination to win – determination is to know that you will never give up. To stay afloat, to surpass my competitors I have always looked for complementary services or products rather than relying on the same expertise. In an industry where there are technological advances every year, you have to look at ways to constantly innovate. When I’ve had one of those sleepless nights we all know too well, I always ask “what else can I pull out of myself to add value to customers to make them come back and be loyal?” I also believe because there are so many businesses out there, it just proves that we can all be successful with determination and work.
Self‐belief ‐ I have a very strong self‐belief which was instilled in me from my parents. They always expected me to be more mature than I was. They told me I was kind, that I was strong and that I was truthful and that I was loved. Even though they are now gone I still feel like I have to live up to all they instilled in me.
Hard work ‐ that is my definition of love. All else are just feelings that are fleeting. How much you love someone is the extent to which you will do the inconvenient, difficult or expensive thing. There are lots of things you do for love and not for money. I believe talk is cheap, but love is hard work and loving someone or something is putting yourself out there because if you really love what you do, you will do what’s needed and then some. That is how I approach my business, I love what I do and so that means I work extremely hard to make every client happy.
The print industry has been heavily disrupted, did you see it coming? How did you innovate?
Yes I saw many tech changes. Can’t say I realised the heavy impact that digital would bring, but I realise that no matter what other communication there is, human beings still love holding and reading printed material. That includes Gen Y. It’s emotionally bonding.
I know that printing is a window to any business. Often it is a window to their website, blog or bricks and mortar premises. Printing has always been and still is a persuasive method of validating and advertising. It’s also a powerful channel that supports digital strategy too.
About 5 years ago I thought it was all over. Ever since the 1980s print businesses had been going under because they were too slow to adapt to the shifts in technological innovation. I thought I’d be one of them until I decided there was a greater opportunity for someone with my wealth of experience.
That was when I transformed my old style print business into 21st century consulting and brokering business. We now curate the best of all things print. And we are delivering some outstanding results. In fact I love empowering and motivating my clients with what they can achieve now with print as a disruptive tool. I like to think I have the edge on my competitors because I know the industry inside out, I know what can go wrong and I know how to save my clients money. A lot of money. I have a very high success rate and a great client base that rely on us to ensure a great product is printed on time and within budget.
What’s one piece of advice you have for our Fearless business owners?
To find creativity within yourself so that you not only generate new clients but that you grow in belief and fall back in love with your own business. To ensure you work with like minded individuals. Passion, enthusiasm and skill delivers outstanding results. It’s surprising what you can create when you mindfully make yourself sit down for a few hours, create the space and decide that you will produce an idea that will add value for others and yourself.
Why are you so passionate about women coming together?
I believe you need friends in business. Especially when there is no natural business connection, the connections you make through Fearless and She Business become altruistic. The women in this community want the best for you and vice versa. You need that other person to see things less emotionally than you do.
I know I have made poor business decisions in the past, but it is only when we open up and have those brave and vulnerable conversations that we realize we are not alone, we have all made poor decisions. To be able to talk about these things honestly and without judgment is why I am a supporter of She Business. The kind of feedback you get on your business, you cannot buy.
I have formulated beautiful friendships from She Business – I have made gorgeous friends who are my greatest fans and supporters and vice versa. I have never met anybody malicious – no negative energy ever since Suzy brought Athena to Australia, and now She Business. All the women are go getters (and givers) and positive influencers in my life.
What brings you to Fearless this year?
Fearless is a great celebration where you meet so many like‐minded women and the speakers are always amazing. When you hear speakers who have come through all kinds of challenges it inspires you to take action. There is a huge camaraderie in the room and the feeling of being part of something bigger than yourself flows through the room. We women need to feel a part of something bigger and have a safe place where emotions get aired. You can be yourself at Fearless which is so refreshing.