Name: Maria Kompanowski
Company: Dolphin Seminars
- Tell us about a usual working day?
I always start the day by getting to grips with email and digital marketing analysis. The rest of the day is spent conducting research for seminars I am delivering. The seminars are focused on management issues, including business networking, personal development and social media best practice.
- What is your proudest achievement?
I am proud to have launched eight businesses from a standing start. This includes Cleaning and Property Maintenance, which started from zero and worked its way up to a one million turnover a year until the recession hit. We unfortunately lost a big client, due to a situation beyond our control, and this had a serious knock on effect which we couldn’t recover quickly from. Eventually we had to fold the business.
Over the years, I have repaired twelve businesses from various industries, including a travel agency, a social club and restaurant. I have a strong passion for training and passing on my experience to help others and it is why I now have a successful career delivering seminars and training to SMEs. I find it incredible and unsettling that 95% of new businesses close within the first year, and I am committed to reducing this number.
- You work with a lot of SMEs to help them improve the fundamentals of running a business. In your opinion, what are the common mistakes made by SMEs
Lack of knowledge and making the wrong choices are up there with the biggest mistakes. All too often, people begin a business that goes against their passions and interests. This is big mistake and often leads to trouble further down the line.
I often share in my seminars three key principles to running a successful business: passion, vision and belief.
Passion is crucial. How can anyone run a business, enduring the pressure that comes with it, without loving what they do or are delivering?
The ability to set goals and plan activities to achieve these goals is also a vital element in any successful business. This is vision.
Finally, a belief that one can achieve their goals – a belief that never wavers in the face of pressure – is the last requisite.
- In your experience, do entrepreneurs make good managers?
I strongly believe that if the entrepreneur leads with the three principles of Passion, Vision and Belief, then, yes, they will make good managers.
There is no gene that makes someone a good leader. No one is born knowing how to learn. I believe that everyone can become an effective leader if they are willing, open minded and prepared to put in the hard work.
- You’re an expert in helping businesses design growth solutions. How much emphasis do new companies put on HR strategies and people as key elements in their prospective growth?
Not enough, to be frank. A lot of businesses struggle to get to grips with HR strategies, mainly because people are afraid of it and don’t know who to turn to for advice and help.
Alternatively, a lot of businesses underestimate the importance of HR and try to do it all themselves. It is only when an issue crops up that is out of their control – and they do, believe me – when they look for help. Yet this strategy is too reactive, not to mention costly.
- Albert Einstein said that ‘In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity’. Do you think that this is the essence of entrepreneurism – without the problem there would be no success?
Absolutely, you need a problem in order to identify a solution that others will benefit from. This is business.
It is also important that businesses and people are able to correct mistakes and learn from problems.
- What makes you optimistic?
People, opportunities and a belief in myself and what I do.