Trust your gut to guide the way

By Clare Friel, Friel
Guides can come in many forms. There are online business guides to support new start-ups, guidebooks on how to be successful, guides how to grow, management guides, guides from the bank… the list is endless!

Published in Suffolk Director Magazine, Autumn 2021

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However, it’s the human guides – friends, family, colleagues (past and present), even competitors – who I have valued most since starting Friel. For me, I can read a thousand books or online articles from ‘experts’ who I don’t know and who seem to all offer the same generic advice, OR I can look closer to home and seek guidance from those around me.

Learning from those around me

Before starting Friel, I worked in TV production and recruitment – both notoriously tough industries. I have worked for bosses and companies I have loved, and hated, but all have played a part in guiding me to the ‘boss’ and business owner I am today.

Whilst I have been fortunate to receive lots of great advice and guidance on running a business when I’ve needed it, I have also crossed paths with people who have guided me down paths I shouldn’t have gone down. In the early days, I was probably too trusting in people and thought everyone had good intentions. Maybe I was a little naive but as with everything in life, hindsight is a wonderful thing, and you grow and learn from your experiences.

Until recently, I had also scoffed at the thought of having a business coach. I’ve struggled to see the value in them. However I’ve recently changed that opinion having met Tom Jamison. His approach to business is something I can relate to, and his guidance has been invaluable. He’s a great sounding board and an extension to Team Friel.

Another key support has come from a holistic source and is someone also highly regarded as part of the Frielers, that’s Penny Francis. Whatever your belief system, Penny’s calming and positive nature is something I have always drawn great strength and reassurance from.

If I had to write a guide to business, it would consist of these three things:

  1. When things go wrong – learn from them.
  2. Appreciate the journey.
  3. Trust your gut.

Ben Francis is one business owner who I admire. Founder of Gymshark, he began manufacturing from his parent’s garage, using a sewing machine and screen printer he bought with £1,000 of savings. Fast forward to 2018, Gymshark opened a new £5 million headquarters and was listed on The Sunday Times Fast Track of fast-growing private companies. In 2020, the company was valued in excess of £1 billion. Ben’s background and business success is admirable. He was clearly someone who adapted, was driven and trusted his gut. I wonder how many ‘expert guides’ he’s read along the way!

Whilst any business owner would strive for the kind of success Ben Francis has experienced, everyone’s journey is so different. If it was that easy to have a £1 billion company, everyone would do it. If there was a magic guide to being successful, everyone would follow it.

Whatever you choose to guide you during your journey in business, above all else always go with your gut.

Clare Friel is Director and Founder of Friel. For more information
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