It’s not at all about me, actually I only want to encourage you.
I began to develop the skills of an entrepreneur at an early age! My parents lived and worked in Hong Kong, whilst my brother and I would travel halfway round the world to school in Scotland. My independent childhood and my parents being wonderful ‘leaders by example’ all attributed to my understanding of business today.
I finished school at the age of 18 fully expecting to attend university. However, that same year my father was declared bankrupt. As a result, I found myself borrowing my first business clothes from a mate of my mothers and went for an interview. At 18 I taught myself the art of sales, and by 21 I was managing a Yellow Pages sales team in 6 countries in the Gulf.
In 1991, at the age of 23, I started my first business, Pacific Direct Ltd, which manufactured and sold brand licensed toiletries and amenities to the hotel industry. Seventeen years later, I sold my majority share (99%) in 2008 for the sum of £20million.
Since then, I spend quality time with my husband and three lively daughters. I am now the Founder of CompanyShortcuts.com, a source of practical advice and frameworks to enable businesses leaders to achieve accelerated growth.
I’m seriously passionate about Leadership, Self and Employee Motivation (you might even remember me for celebrating achieving my first £1m profit by taking my staff on an all-expenses paid holiday to Barbados in 2005) and Business Growth and I regularly talk about these and other specific topics based on my own experiences.
Quick Q & A
- Name: Catherine Lara Morgan
- Age: 43
- Family: Husband and 3 daughters
- Pets: 1 boxer dog, 16 chickens.
- Me in my own words: Down to earth, direct, sometimes bolshy, competitive, driven, compassionate, caring, highly commercially minded, lucky and happy.
- Best job I’ve had: CEO Pacific Direct (self appointed as I was first to arrive)
- Worst job I’ve had: 3-11pm shift in Seven Eleven all night store, Hong Kong
- Favourite film/play: Top Gun, Les Miserables
- Favourite holiday destination: Anywhere new with the sunshine
- Favourite sport, team and player: Golf and Rugby as a spectator, Triathlon as a competitor, Tottenham Supporter and individually Rys Jones.
- Things that interest me: Education, enterprise and accelerated business development
Best advice I’ve been given: Never be afraid to ask, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Look after the pennies and the pounds look after themselves. Do unto other as you would have done unto you. Put yourself in the shoes of the customer, and always focus on the most profitable first.
My motto would be: If you don’t ask you don’t get.
The leadership qualities I most admire: Humility and celebration of any success.
People I admire and why: Anyone with the guts to employ others and to take the risk to build a business.
The mark of a good leader: Raving team fans
My tips for business start-ups: Re-double your focus on sales effort continually and do the admin at weekends. Be really cear growing a business asset is a full time commitment.
My biggest challenge so far and how I overcame it: Learning to cope with and manage through redundancies brought about because of a hideous business downturn. Living with the consequences of decisions that impact lives whilst fighting on to build for a new day.
Are people born leaders or are they made? Undoubtedly can be made but being born with some advantageous childhood experience can accelerate potential. I grew up abroad in Asia, which was a massive advantage to my outlook on the small world which we should all be exporting to
Is it tough staying ahead of the competition? What advice do you have for others? Incredibly tough, but also wholly energising and interesting and something we should all dedicate process, systems and time to ensure we always stay ahead in the race for successful growth. Study your market, be the expert and never be complacent.