As the day of the Women of the Future Awards is upon us one important word that comes to mind is motivation.
Awards are all about motivation: motivation to nominate yourself or someone else and motivation to feel that sense of achievement if you are lucky enough to be crowned a winner.
To get there, however, comes down to motivation again. Motivation to work hard and keep working hard. The ability to motivate your team to believe in your vision and bring their own drive to the game. And ultimately, the ability to motivate customers to invest in your products, to use them and to spread the word for you.
At the same time, motivation comes from truly loving what you do and believing that it has a higher purpose beyond the mechanics of the daily grind. As Steve Jobs said, "the only way to do great work is to love what you do".
This week my company, Zaggora, launched our signature product, HotPants, in the top 200 Boots stores in the UK. Transitioning from a single retail channel to multiple channels has shown us more than ever the importance of social interaction and feedback and the power of motivation. In the interconnected world we live in - where we shop online, communicate online and live our lives staring at computer screens - it's easy to forget the importance of leaving the office and speaking to people face-to-face, and the sheer enjoyment that brings.
Yet, despite the fact that we seem to live our lives predominantly online, close to 80% of retail is conducted predominantly offline. In this ultra-busy consumer retail environment, engaging people who can help you transmit your message is crucial. The visits I made to Boots stores this week were probably one of the most enjoyable aspects of what I do. Being on the retail floor, getting to know the staff selling our products, and educating them about how we aim to help women reach their goals is one of the most energising experiences I have had.
At Zaggora our mission is to provide people with technology-enabled products that motivate them to lead more active, healthier and happier lives. Our belief in this bigger picture spurred us to visit these hundreds of staff in person and talk to them about our products. And we had a clear effect. Case in point: by the time we emerged from one of the larger Boots, five store advisors were planning to purchase our product and tell every customer they spoke to about it.
The current scarcity of employment for young kids coming out of school or university, compared to years past, has provided an incentive for many to strike out on their own. Many of them come to us for advice or funding for their ideas. What always strikes me is the stark difference in the persuasiveness and inspired, innovative thinking between those who have the vision and motivation and those who do not. Put simply, their motivation comes back to the love Jobs identified: those who absolutely love what they do and those who only love a quick buck.
I am not a proponent of blind love. At the end of the day, love and money go hand-in-hand in business. But with the right motivation, they have the best chance of a successful marriage.
The awards ceremony will take place on Tuesday 20 November and is hosted by Real Business in association with Shell.