Penny Spencer is the founder and Director of Spencer Travel. Established in 1998 Spencer Travel is a multi-award winning company which has been voted Australia’s Best Corporate Travel Agency for the last 3 years in a row and is also a recent recipient of the 2012 City of Sydney Business Award for Tourism. Having worked in the industry for over 28 years and having built her own company from scratch Penny now shares her business and life lessons to aspiring female entrepreneurs.
There is no secret recipe for success. It is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out. And it goes without saying – action is the foundation key to all success.
5 Tips for Business Success by Penny Spencer
1. Love what you do
For me the most important things is being passionate about what you do. Travel was something that always interested me. When I first got on a plane at the age of 6 I knew I wanted to work in something to do with travel. The excitement of going somewhere new, the plane trip, being part of an adventure- I knew this was what I wanted to do when I grew up. Even after years of working in the Industry I can honestly say that I still love everything about what I do. I still have the energy for the industry and for my business. I learn something new every day and I love a challenge. All of that gets me out of bed in the morning – every day is a new experience.
2. Always go the extra mile
Despite having climbed the ranks of the industry and having managed many corporate travel agencies throughout my career, opening my own agency presented its own challenges. Whilst I had the passion and knowledge for the industry, figuring out how to run the business was something new for me.
In order to increase my business management skills I joined the NSW Government and ABN Mentoring program in my second year of running the business. It is not enough to just know your industry –you have to know how to run a business in your industry.
Running a business brings its own challenges and I constantly seek new ways to further enhance the growth of the business. I am committed to striking a balance with my husband and two young children and as part of this I work Tuesday to Friday giving me three days for my family. It takes a lot of persistence, stamina, energy and business ability to do what I do.
3. Be adaptable
There are numerous obstacles in every business, but I think the biggest obstacle is dealing with change and adapting to it. September 11 was a big obstacle for the travel industry as the phone stopped ringing and didn’t ring again for 6 months or more. You need to adapt to these sorts of obstacles, think of new ways of doing business, communicate with staff and clients and most of all believe in yourself that you can look beyond the obstacle and plan for the future.
4. Always re-educate
I continue to develop my business acumen never believing that I know it all. I love self-education. I strive for this regularly and acknowledge the importance as a Managing Director of a business to be accountable. I was a member of The Executive Connection for 5 years and have since joined EO – Entrepreneurs Organisation. I am a member of numerous advisory boards and industry groups. It is crucially important to stay connected with likeminded business people to ensure you never miss a beat.
5. Inspire your staff
You need to instil a sense of passion and commitment in your staff. Management need to make staff feel they are part of something they can be proud of. My businesses are successful not only in profitability but also in overall culture, respect and profile. Most staff have been with me for over 6 years. I have 4 staff that are part of our ‘10 year One Carat Diamond Club’ where staff receive a 1 carat diamond for 10 years of service. I strongly believe that ‘happy staff equals happy clients.’