Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal and business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Andrew Barry, Founder of Curious Lion, located in New York, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Curious Lion is a learning culture advisory and creative production firm designing and building systems for continuous active learning. We work with high-growth companies by providing support for revenue enablement and leadership development.
Tell us about yourself
Growing up in South Africa, I loved teaching people. I started by helping friends at school, became a maths tutor after school, and eventually found my way into the global consulting firm, KPMG. That’s where my love for developing people took off. I was sent to the U.S. for two years to develop the firm’s people across the country. Twelve years later, I still haven’t left. I started Curious Lion in 2017. We’ve gone from strength to strength, first as an e-learning production firm and now maturing as a consulting practice specializing in developing learning cultures. What gets me going each day is helping people realize their full potential, from my team to people at our clients.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
It’s early days for us, but I’m most proud of growing our team from 4 to 12 people last year. We are all fully remote, but the culture in the team is beyond my wildest expectations. Many have never met in person, yet they’re best friends. It speaks to how we hire and the values we’ve installed from day one.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Delegating. It’s something I struggled with until very recently. I was convinced I had to be involved in specific projects and decisions, but the truth is, I wasn’t needed. That was incredibly freeing in releasing me to focus on more important things, like setting the vision for where we’re headed and bringing in new business.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
First and foremost, focus on finding, developing, and retaining top people. I’m convinced that having a people focus is the highest priority for any business in any industry. The second would be to lead by example. That sounds cliche, but you must model the behavior you want to see. That means being authentic, honest, sharing information freely, and being vulnerable enough to admit when you got things wrong and what you learned. Lastly, once you have good people and clear values stemming from your example, get out of the way. Give people space to take risks and make mistakes. Give them time to reflect on their work and get to know each other as humans. This investment will pay off in bucketloads as you grow.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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