One of the benefits of being a part of the AGP programme is having access to a network of skilled coaches, that can support you with specific barriers and opportunities related to growing your business.
In this blog post, we meet Nicola Rylett, one of our coaches, and find out what inspires her to help Welsh businesses achieve their full potential.
Can you give us a potted history of your career journey to date?
I started off in radio sales, and then moved into marketing, progressing to more senior positions with each new role. My ambition was always be to a Managing Director before the age of 35. I was 37 when the British Medical Journal gave me my first MD role running one of their businesses in Cardiff. I then ran several companies before deciding I wanted to run my own. It took a while to realise I wanted to run my own company as I didn’t really think I was good enough.
I love networking and connecting with other liked-minded professionals, so I set up my business to help other businesses get more – and better – ‘networked’. I love networking, and connecting with other liked minded business professionals. Within a year, the business evolved to become a business consultancy, with coaching and mentoring being one of our main services. That’s when I started working as part of the AGP team.
My driving vision is to inspire action, drive success and add value to everyone I work with, which dovetails nicely with what the AGP programme is all about. It’s a privilege to support brilliant entrepreneurs to excel.
What challenges have you faced during your career?
Being authentic is quite a buzz statement now, but it’s not always been that way. One key moment, over ten years ago now, was at a senior strategy meeting. We were doing some personality profiling and it turned out I was completely different to everyone else on the team. I felt so alone and left soon afterward. It took me around five years to realise that being different is one of my best assets. Teams need to consider different perspectives and seeing things from a different point of view is fantastic for innovation and creative problem solving. Being yourself also takes less energy than pretending to be something you are not. Leaving you more time and energy to focus on making a difference.
Who have you learned the most from in your career to date?
Not one particular person – many of the current entrepreneurs and business consultants I work with that have built or are building businesses in Wales are inspiring people I learn from every day.
What is your approach to work life balance?
I’m a bit of a workaholic because I love what I do. I know as well as the clients I work with that when you are growing a business, it takes everything you have. So, for the last few years I book a holiday once a quarter, a week away from everything. And here’s the best bit…when my husband and I go away, we down tools, don’t take our computers and switch off the phones. I even manage my business so that clients and projects know I am not available during that time.
I also make sure that I go to the gym each day or a least for a run outdoors to keep myself focused.
Who or what inspires you?
I’m really into personal development and have started a group in Cardiff called Inspirante Business Book Club. Business books inspire me and always provide me with ideas to work on or implement in my business. Some of my favourite books include ‘Traction’ by Gino Wickman and ‘Legacy’ by James Kerr.
Music is also a massive energy driver for me. There is nothing better than singing at the top of your voice whilst driving to your favourite tunes, or dancing round the kitchen like no one is watching.
The outdoors is great for reflection, thinking and being creative. Breathing fresh air really helps me concentrate and figure out tricky challenges. I often write emails or blog posts in my head whilst outdoors.
People inspire me. I’m so curious about how someone got to be where they are today. Their stories are often fascinating. Young people really inspire me; how they see the world is truly amazing to me.
What is the best piece of business advice you’ve been given?
Do or do not. There is no ‘try’. My dad is not a businessman, and a couple of things he’s always said are important to me: if you do your best everyday no one can ask more, and always be grateful for what you have.
What piece of advice would you give to anyone starting out in business today?
Just do it. (Make a plan, then crack on.) Action is the key.
Recognise your strengths and know when to outsource to others.
Spend time developing the trust within your team.
Generally, be a nice human being!
What is the best part being an AGP coach?
I love seeing the people and companies I work with grow; in knowledge, in confidence, and in skills. People can do amazing things if you just show them how and give the permission to get on with it.
What, in your opinion, is the most important thing businesses need to have in place in order to grow?
For me there are a few things, but above all else it’s the alignment of the founder, team and business processes to the vision, mission and values of the business. Having a clear ‘North Star’, if you will. Starting with your long-term aspiration, your purpose, or your why, will help you get out of bed on a cold dark morning in the middle of winter and ensures the team is pulling in the same direction.