Harrisons 15 Years

Celebrating 15 Years Business Ownership of Harrisons

15 years is worth celebrating! As I reflect on my time as a business owner, there have been incredible highs, daunting lows, and invaluable learnings that have shaped not only my business but me as a person. Today, instead of moving on to my next goal, I’m going to (self-indulgently) practice mindfulness and gratitude by acknowledging and celebrating my 15 years as the Founder and Managing Director of Harrisons .

𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗘𝗮𝗿𝗹𝘆 𝗗𝗮𝘆𝘀: 𝗕𝗮𝗯𝗲𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗕𝘂𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗲𝘀𝘀

I started Harrison Human Resources 15 years ago, the same year my baby girl was born. It was always my dream to run my own business. I loved the idea of being my own boss; with all the accountability, responsibility and supposed flexibility that comes with it.

Six months after my daughter was born, Harrisons was officially launched – albeit, very softly, while enjoying my beautiful baby. Starting on my own at home, full of ideas and determination, I plunged into the world of entrepreneurship.

My vision was clear: to create an HR consulting firm that used the best of what I learned in my corporate HR career to help small and medium sized business (SMEs) owners achieve their goals. I grew up around small business and had empathy for their unique challenges. I wanted to genuinely understand their needs and help them by providing practical and personalised advice that would empower them as business leaders. After many years in senior corporate HR roles where I felt I wasn’t having as much impact as my early years in HR, I sought meaningful work.

The early days were a learning experience on steroids! Sales – used to be a dirty and scary word, marketing and content writing, writing a business plan, discipline around time management, valuing my time and experience, etc. It was a time of excitement and uncertainty – plus two babies and earning a pittance of my previous corporate salary. Every small win was encouraging, from securing my first client to hiring, my first seminar, my first employee, and eventually moving into a real office. There were also moments of doubt and struggle. The financial challenges, the long hours, and the constant need to prove myself were daunting. Yet, each challenge brought with it a lesson, and increased business confidence.

𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗛𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘀: 𝗖𝗲𝗹𝗲𝗯𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗪𝗶𝗻𝘀

Over the years, Harrisons has celebrated numerous successes. We’ve grown from a micro startup to a respected HR consulting firm, helping countless businesses achieve their goals. To see the relief on a new client’s face when you’re able to solve a problem for them is always a fabulous feeling.

Our growth has been consistent, with increased profit year on year. This success is a testament to the hard work, dedication, and expertise of the Harrisons team. It’s also a reflection of the strong relationships we’ve built with our clients, who trust us to support their HR needs.

Some of my recent pivotal moments have been:

• The purchase and beautiful fit-out of our own office building in East Brisbane.

• Recruiting a Head of Client Services who received a positive response from team and clients.

• Taking a month-long family holiday to Europe mid-2023 and the business ran smoothly without me.

• Rebranding from Harrison Human Resources to Harrisons – with our tag line of People, Purpose, Perform.

• The launch of our online HR resource product, myHRexperts.

• Writing my book, The CEO Secret Guide – to managing and motivating employees.

𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗟𝗼𝘄𝘀: 𝗟𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗝𝘂𝗴𝗴𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗴

Of course, business ownership hasn’t been without its lows.

A challenging aspect for me has always been balancing the demands of running a business with personal commitments. As a wife and mother of two teenagers, finding that equilibrium has been a struggle. There were and are times when I feel stressed, inadequate and stretched too thin. Every stage of parenting is different; just when you think it may get easier a new challenge arises, from the physically demanding active toddler to the moody and egocentric teenager. And it flies by! Plus, I need find time to exercise. I’ve had to learn the importance of self-care, compartmentalising, being present in the moment, gratitude, and delegation without perfectionism – not to say that I’m perfect at any of it. A fabulous group of supportive and fun friends is exceptionally beneficial. It all helps me manage the juggle of life!

The impact of COVID-19 on all businesses, employers, and employees was profound. The pandemic tested our resilience, forced Harrisons to innovate, and pushed us to find new ways to support our clients. In preparation of the anticipated economic downturn, we reduced costs significantly, eg moved out of our office, reduced admin, bookkeeping and marketing costs. At the same time, we sold our family home and while building our new home (my husband’s a builder) we rented a tiny shoebox that also became Harrisons’ office. And, home schooling. Not an easy time! I ran weekly webinars about JobKeeper and other related topics for employers, as well as developing and sharing resources about navigating the ever-changing COVID situation. Fortunately for Harrisons, we had new and old clients reaching out for support throughout and post the pandemic. This was a key moment for me – I was worried Harrisons was going to significantly decline, instead, we were busy making a real difference for businesses and their people; they needed us and that assured me.

Then there was the Post-COVID Great Resignation and spike in salaries – not a great year for us on the team front. We experienced unprecedented consultant turnover and added 20% to our salaries!

𝗚𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝘁𝘂𝗱𝗲: 𝗧𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗸𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗦𝘂𝗽𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁𝗲𝗿𝘀

I am deeply grateful to the many people who have supported Harrisons and me along the way.

Firstly, to the magnificent people who have worked with Harrisons over the years, thank you. We’re a service business, so without great people we are unable to deliver a great service to our clients. My team’s hard work, client commitment, and support and encouragement of each other has been the backbone of Harrisons’ success. #BestTeamBestBusiness

Over the years I’ve had a few wonderful business coaches (Tanya Titman Selina Scoble OLY) who I have learned so much from. A special thank you to Amanda Cole FABC , who was my business coach for many years, and whose guidance is invaluable.

I am also immensely grateful to my community of fellow business owners who have become an integral part of my support system. Having a group of people who understand and back me and my business because they’re in the same boat is priceless. We’ve supported and encouraged each other through ups and downs, and this has been a source of strength and inspiration.

𝗟𝗼𝗼𝗸𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗙𝗼𝗿𝘄𝗮𝗿𝗱: 𝗕𝗶𝗴 𝗣𝗹𝗮𝗻𝘀

As I look forward to the remainder of 2024 and beyond, I am excited. As an entrepreneur, I have big plans for Harrisons and new ventures on the horizon. My/Our purpose of “helping people to make meaningful contributions and connections at work” remains at the core of everything we do. I remain focused on helping other business owners to build businesses that provide the freedom they seek, just as Harrisons has given me.

I have other exciting projects in the pipeline, including expanding our online HR resources, launching a coaching program for start-up professional service businesses, and further exploring innovative ways to support businesses. Watch this space.

By celebrating 15 years in business ownership, I hope to encourage others to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams because with passion, perseverance, and the right support, anything is possible.


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