End of Year Reflections, 2018
As we draw to a close on 2018, I thought it pertinent to write about some reflections I have had since starting Haggarty-Weir Consulting, and also actually write about why I decided to start the company (something I am aware I have not formally addressed in a blog post). The decision to set up the company essentially came from market demand. I was getting quite a lot of interest in doing various forms of consulting work, including some potential work from some large clients in the biotechnology scene in Scotland. I had toyed with the idea of setting up a consulting company, but it wasn’t until this market demand surfaced that I took the leap to formally set something up. Of course, I only began part-time (a few hours a week) since at the time I was working full-time at the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute as the Industrial Vaccinology Liaison Officer for the International Veterinary Vaccinology Network, dealing with my malaria research papers from my former Ph.D research, and studying my MBA part-time. However, a combination of generating more client work and having two eager young men wanting to work with me led me to think about plans for scaling up the business. This, combined with me having some fundamentally different ideas about how key things should work in my university role, served as the catalyst to take my company full-time in 2019.
So, what are some of the main reflections I have had in the initial 6-months of starting the firm? Well, first and foremost, I learned the value of applying Ray Dalio’s ‘Principles’ (free pdf of the book here) and running things as an ideas meritocracy. Just because I am the boss man does not mean I always have the answers and so it is so essential to have the humility to listen to your staff. The ideas that have come from my team have been so invaluable in terms of strategizing for the direction of the company and to maintain focus. I can often get quite taken away with many ideas at once, so it helps to have a team to help ground any ‘flights of fancy’ I may be having. Secondly, I learned that, just like a Ph.D thesis, to start a company it is better to be ‘done’ (meaning launched in this case) than perfect, since no matter how much planning and risk mitigation you engage in, you will never have things ‘perfect’. For example, I was still working on getting my company logo developed when I had my first few prospective clients approach me. It would have made no sense to delay carrying out interesting work for them just to have a picture drawn up! Whilst I have an aversion to the ‘good enough’ mantra, I think one should be balanced and not get overly caught up in perfection that is unreasonable as it can prevent any actual progress from being made. A final reflection is how I could have done things better. I feel that I could have been a bit more organized with my staff, and I am forever grateful for their patience during some of the more chaotic weeks! Now that I am focused on the business full-time, I shall be more dedicated to my managerial duties and continue to try grow and develop as a leader.
So, in summation and closing, I have been very excited about the clients I have engaged with thus far and the work Haggarty-Weir Consulting has done for them and look forwards to the challenges and opportunities of 2019. We are all very keen to ramp up our work in the tech and biotech sectors to help add significant value. So on behalf of the Haggarty-Weir Consulting team, have a happy new year and we look forwards to engaging with you in 2019.