Q/A Felicity Ford from Go Lusty
The Shaker caught up with Felicity Ford, founder of Go Lusty, the company behind 321Water and Uppercup, to talk business, work life balance and how to stay challenged.
Where did it all start? Tell us a bit about your journey in business so far.
My previous interest has always been in sustainable and ethical business models and how we can support Australian business to harness innovative and new designs. It started with an idea which came from my previous work within the manufacturing sector specifically injection moulding plastics. This became a vision concept mixing sustainable business model with consumer goods industry and harnessing how the two of them intertwine to make a positive impact on the world.
What are the big lessons that you’ve learnt so far?
Cash flow needs to be watched very closely as a small business. As we are a consumer goods company that manufactures in Australia, we watch this very closely as physical stock really can drain your everyday cash holdings. It’s impertinent to ensure longevity and survival throughout the first 5 years. The consumer goods retail market expects new product regularly so finding a good middle ground between their expectations and our financial capabilities has been a balancing act.
What is your management structure? How do you divide the areas of responsibility among the team?
As we are a small team we focus on playing to each team members strengths. This also means we encourage initiative and awareness in each team member to know when to pass on a lead or hand something over to another member who may get greater success.
What technology do you use day-to-day in the business?
Everything we use is cloud based systems such as Xero, Unleashed, Dropbox etc… we try to keep everything as integrated and easy as possible, this allows any team member to work anywhere in the world. Although, nothing seems to compare to working onsite together two minds are always better than one.
How do you recruit? What do you look for?
Word of mouth, after one general conversation I know whether they would fit into our structure and workplace. I also ensure they will fill the gaps we currently require or able to learn the needed skills using their current strengths. Making sure all of our team members have a life outside of work. For us this really important to ensure that they have not only a support network, but they have something beyond their career that they enjoy. This ensures that they will find it easier to have a work life balance.
How do you deal with stress? Do you have a work life balance?
Exercise, healthy lifestyle and open conversations with my support network and team is a way that I deal with stress. For me being consistently stressed and working all of the time is not contingent to my best work, my long-term business strategy and overall health. As a company I consciously focus on enabling exercise, healthy living and work life balance. Our team regularly exercises together. My husband and I always ensure that we make time to see each other, he keeps me inline when I am working too much.
How do you challenge yourself when you’re the one challenging others?
Running your own business, you naturally challenge yourself every day. I expect my team to push themselves out of their boundaries daily and as such I have to do the same and lead by example.
What’s next? Where do you see yourself and the business heading in the next few years?
We are really focusing on mass market of ethical and sustainable consumer goods and alternate ways to use these goods. There are some fantastic large Australian companies that have made large commitments to sustainability since the War on Waste, so we are really looking forward to working with them. We are also pushing internationally as Australia seems to be leading the market for these goods.
Any advice to those starting out in business?
Resilience is your biggest strength in business, success and failure is inevitable. It is what you do with your daily failings and successes which shape how our business grows. We evaluate this as a team weekly and then take those learnings into the next week, I would encourage everyone to do this as it ensures you are constantly progressing.