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7 Questions with Beverly Cosslett
7 Questions with Beverly Cosslett
Name: Beverly Cosslett
Current title: Director
Current organisation: Sonic Digital Media
Owner of two businesses, one in the beauty industry and my passion, marketing, digital media and consumer behaviour.
For fun, I teach people to skydive as the Chief Instructor of the Johannesburg Skydiving Club, where I am accountable for the safety and training of all my club members, Jumpmaster, coach and instructor training.
Other than that, you can find me watching cat videos with my partner John.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader of a small or medium enterprise?
The balance between being boss and a friend. I am a sensitive and compassionate person to a fault. Staff challenges need to remain impersonal while still being a human.
Too often, we have shown too much leeway, only to have the staff leave or abscond, just as you have added more money, training and freedom their way. It is difficult not to become jaded.
2. How did you become a leader of an SME? Can you please briefly tell the story?
16 years ago, I started freelancing as a Communication Strategist back into the big agency environment. Even though this was the start, it gave me the time to make mistakes which I would rectify in later businesses. 10 years ago, I opened an aesthetic clinic with a friend with no prior knowledge of the industry.
4 years ago, I decided to start my own agency, build a company of value and not be afraid of what it can become.
Today, I have over 20 staff, contractors and suppliers, work with 5 agencies and a multitude of direct clients.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Structure? What structure?
It really depends on the week in the month. I find that the last week and first week of the month are the worst when it comes to time management, as this involves invoices, reporting and still dealing with the daily deliverables. The middle of the month, allows for more time for exercise.
Knowing that stress is a killer, I have to ensure I have enough time to run and train.
I am not a night owl, so I am usually in bed by 8pm regardless, but I can easily start my day at 5am.
A home office has been a pleasure, as you can get your inbox cleared before you need to officially start the day.
I have always been a juggler of work, having started work at 14 years old. Juggling school and work, later college and work and now 2 businesses and a dropzone, 7 days a week is the norm.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
To delegate and to accept the accreditation for how far I have come.
Building a team that is capable of running the show when you are not there, or are unable to manage the job is critical.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
Sheryl Sandburg's Lean In. From a woman's perspective, to stop being apologetic for being a woman in a man's world.
Simon Sinek - All of his books have helped me in my business, mainly in how I want to treat the people I work with, always being fair and making people feel safe in their workplace.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in an SME?
Trust. It is a big thing to be able to let go and let the experts do what they need to do in order for the business to succeed as a whole. Hire brilliant people and leave them to get on with it.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader of an SME so far?
The most fulfilling part of being in a position of leadership, is training people to live their best lives. I have seen so many of my juniors grow into being directors and leaders of their own business over time. As tough as it is to lose great people, the best we can hope for is to see someone else succeed based on what they have learned working with you.
Growing and developing my staff to be independent of me, make good decisions for themselves and the business is how I gauge my success as a leader of an SME.