Andrew Hardwick is the Managing Director of Hard Edge, a creative agency focusing on innovative brand communications. With clients including Mercedez Benz, Mercer and Telstra, Andrew was the ideal person to share his thoughts on how entrepreneurs can continue to learn and grow while still staying focused on their business.
Why Knowledge Equals Growth
The biggest goal everyone is trying to kick when in start-up mode is all about winning new business. After all, it’s the whole point of what you do, right? It’s your why, it’s your inspiration and, let’s face it, it’s what’s going to keep the business afloat.
Being focused and dedicated is a key part of a successful business. But if you’re not careful, that dogged determination can quickly morph into tunnel vision and leave you blind to opportunity. It’s why the thing all start-ups, sole traders and bigger business have in common is a willingness to ask questions and learn from others.
Andrew Hardwick might now be the Managing Director of the successful creative agency Hard Edge but, like everyone else, he had to start somewhere.
When starting out as a sole trader, armed with a graphic design background and a passion for cars, he says he was “intent and focused on finding the next gig and getting new work”. Yet he’s the first to admit that he had no plan and wasn’t strategically thinking about his next move.
This realization led him to recognize that he was lacking experience in some areas of his business and, if he was going to succeed, he had better work out how to fill in the knowledge gaps.
Understanding what I needed and then adapting was such an important learning. When you start out you don’t know anything and if you’re not exposing yourself to outside influences then you’re not going to grow as a business.
This ability to adapt and respond was what would eventually propel Hardwick out of his comfort zone and start his journey from sole trader to creative agency.
I was sitting there at my desk one day, door open, with the sun shining in. I was seeing a girl I liked, I had the car of my dreams and was thinking “this is the life.” Suddenly a wave of depression washed over me and I realized [I wasn’t enjoying] the isolation [of working alone], so I went out, got an office and started seeing people.
By getting out and about, Hardwick not only tackled his isolation and depression but also met like-minded people who he could talk to, share experiences with and learn from, helping him to grow and expand his business in areas where he had little to no experience.
For me, staying current is all about conversation, and so I talk to as many people as possible. I also think that being a member of Entrepreneurs’ Organization has been key to my development. It’s taught me the way to learn and the type of learning that’s important.
To get more insights from Andrew Hardwick, watch his fireside chat with WeTeachMe’s Masters Series