Every startup wants to build a team that gels, but one founder says the ability to persist through hard times is about more than having skilled staff: it’s about friendship.
Founder of digital strategy agency L&A Social and former NSW Telstra Young Businesswoman of the Year winner Gina Lednyak says persistence is the one thing that has helped her startup blossom since launching in 2008, but she believes that ability to push through tough times is made all the more difficult if you don’t have friends around you.
“I’ve had businesses before L&A and I’ve found persistence really difficult, but the one thing I’ve got to see here that I haven’t before is the team becoming better people,” she told StartupSmart ahead of an Entrepreneur’s Organization Sydney event as part of Vivid Festival.
“One thing I’ve found is that by being good enough friends with your co-workers, you really feel like you’re on the same journey together and that’s really key, because [business] doesn’t always have to be super hard,” she says.
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Lednyak grew up in Belarus and the US before moving to Australia in 2007, where she says she took one look at Bondi and was captured by the idea of running a startup from the sand.
“At the moment we have nearly 20 people in Sydney, and looking into the future we’re looking to grow our presence overseas and grow the team in Sydney,” she says.
“We’ve been doubling in size year on year — because we develop really deep relationships.”
The world of digital agencies has no shortage of competition, but Lednyak says her priority is forming good relationships with the people she works with and for. This approach has been fulfilling well beyond growing her company.
“I think being an expat in Sydney, having positive relationships with people has changed my life. It’s led to a really full and fulfilling life across my business and personal life. It’s about aiming to help people and being open in how you help people,” she says.
Lednyak recommends other businesses start little routines to give appreciation to the people they work with each day.
“We do a retreat and we build all our company goals together,” she says.
“And we also do Friday thank you sessions. So throughout the week if someone does something nice for you, whether it’s getting you a coffee or something bigger, you get a thank you in the thank you jar.”
StartupSmart attended the Vivid Festival event as a guest of Entrepreneur’s Organization Sydney.