SPOTLIGHT ON NATALIE LAMBERT
From almost joining the police force to becoming one of Australia's most successful promotional product providers.
Natalie shares her approach to business, her tips for retaining customers and her favourite podcasts.
If we look back at your time at school, when did you attend PLC Sydney and what did you plan to do/what did you study after Year 12?
I began at PLC Sydney in 1994 (Year 6) and graduated in the Year 2000. My pipe dream was to become a lawyer. Whilst my marks improved considerably (eternally grateful PLC!) I opted for a policy degree at UWS. It became plainly apparent that I struggled with conformity – which is ironic given the nature of the police force!
What was the "spark" or idea that started your business?
My father would attend corporate events and come home with an array of branded promotional goodies. I was intrigued to realise that there was a market for this sort of thing. As time passed & I worked a myriad of mundane jobs. It became clear-cut what I didn’t want – To be accountable to a manager, have a limiting job description, commute, or have a fixed wage.
By merging these two elements and with a little financial backing I founded Dooze Promotions at the age of 21.
What does a typical 'work' day look like for you?
Around 6.30am every morning I attend to my emails. Followed by a “walk of clarity”. I utilise this time to prioritise my tasks & channel positivity. This is a non-negotiable part of my day.
By delegating and empowering my team, I have freed myself to hunt for business. My aim is to proactively strategise how I am going to ignite discussions that are compelling enough for a quote to be requested and in turn, an order to follow.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful business owner?
Integrity – It’s never about a one off sale. The premise is to establish meaningful relationships whereby your customer will be compelled to want to work with you time and time again. It is known that acquiring a new customer requires five times the energy and resources than retaining an existing one. Case in point, existing business is better for your business.
Resilience – You can expect 70% no’s over yes’s. The upside is that no’s help you craft and fine tune your skill. Be prepared for unpredictability and be comforted that your resilience will strengthen over time.
Focus - Channelling a laser focus state (powerful enough to ignore the ever increasing number of distractions) is imperative to completing your list of daily tasks. “Deciding what to do, is as important as deciding what not to do” (Steve Jobs)
Could you tell us about a mistake you have made and what did you learn from that mistake?
The colossal mistake I made for many years was to “over work”. This adversely impacted both my output & social life. Taking a week day off regularly has had profound benefits in my lateral thinking. Almost all of my best ideas are now unearthed when not behind my desk.
To date, what has been your proudest career moment?
The Sydney 2018 Invictus Games (founded by Prince Harry) was a highly publicised sporting event with international exposure. I, in collaboration with the NSW Government, produced 24,000 backpacks and hats for the primary schools attending and supporting the event. The competitive tender process ( a 3 hour presentation at my office on Sunday) and quantities required were record breaking for Dooze.
Another recent achievement has been collaborating with PLC Sydney. This has triggered emotions of sheer pride and nostalgia. Revisiting the school, 20 years on brought forth a surge of tremendous memories.
What's your most significant piece of advice you'd share with someone looking at starting their own business?
Your business needs to be a true reflection of who you are. Being your authentic self and understanding your disposition will allow you to naturally thrive and enjoy your business day to day. This in conjunction with a little financial backing will give you the best opportunity/platform to succeed.
What tools (apps, books, podcasts, etc.) would you recommend to anyone trying to start her own business or that you go to for inspiration/ideas/productivity?
- Life’s a pitch by Stephen Bayley and Roger Mavity