Forget the Five-Year Plan: this is what you need for success


My role as a businesswoman wasn’t something I expected, but here I am: the Director of a company that my mother founded as a hobby when I was four. It certainly wasn’t something I’d planned long term for, but was instead the result of a series of accomplishments that pushed me into the place I’m in now. Growing up, I would help mum in the business out of obligation, not because it was a passion. Then, through a variety of circumstances, at 24 I ended up taking over the home-based business – I was $20K in debt and only had a couple of staff. There was a lot I had to do.

I can now proudly say that my company is an internationally stocked gourmet sauce brand. Roza’s has become a name synonymous with outstanding taste and quality, made with all natural, fresh and local ingredients. With an annual turnover of $2.9 million and stockists country-wide, I’ve certainly achieved a lot in five years – but not without some lessons, one of which flies in the face of much heralded advice, that you need to have a five-year plan.

Focus on the small wins

Throughout the years, and still as I go through each day, I’ve learned to focus on the small wins. Running a business is like a marathon, not a sprint. If you spend the whole time thinking about how many 10’s of kilometres you have ahead, you get tired just thinking about it, it seems unachievable, and you are unlikely to last the distance. Whereas if you stay in the moment, focus on your breath, each pounding step, success based on small milestones – before you know it, you’re much further along than you thought possible.

There is no way, five years ago, that I could have expected or planned to be where I am now. I know where I want to be in one year, and it’s nice to think about where I might be in two – but in my experience, by the time year two comes around I will have learnt and grown so much both as an individual and a business owner, that a lot of my original plan will be redundant.

Be agile to respond to opportunities

A small growing business like mine has to be agile to respond to opportunities, change to mitigate threats, and respond to trends to stay competitive, so it’s impossible to map out where we’ll be in half a decade. That doesn’t mean I don’t operate with strategy; however instead of looking at a plan to make decisions, I rely on the philosophies of the brand, opportunities that present themselves, and my intuition, to navigate the best way forward.

Focus on short-term goals

Focusing on the short-term goals is important because they’re moments of growth and acknowledgement of how your business is being built. They are moments that encourage business owners because it’s about achieving something, but also learning from your mistakes and resetting your path if needed. Here are some of the small wins I’ve had in the journey of Roza’s:

When turnover had just reached enough to expand the business I decided to move the kitchen from out of home to a commercial premises. We moved into an old seafood export warehouse that, to be honest, was dingy and still strongly held the aroma from its previous storage use, but it was still a win. We were clearly growing.

A complete product rebrand was another positive progression for us. I stayed true to mum’s philosophies, but created something that was timeless and showcased the new era of Roza’s. It wasn’t until I branched sales out to interstate that I realised a rebrand was even necessary; it hadn’t been a part of my growth plans. Another experience where I had to learn, grow and change on the fly.

The next business development that heralded an accomplishment for us was our partnership with HelloFresh. It’s an international company, but it chooses to work with a host of family run businesses as suppliers, and we’re proud to be one of them. We’ve been supplying our sauces to them in bulk for about nine months now, it’s exciting to know that the sauces we craft out of love are in thousands of people’s homes around the country. Expanding the foodservice portion of the company had been on my mind for a while and I had slowly been working toward it – the partnership with HelloFresh didn’t just cement it, but grew the part of our business significantly, fulfilling a short term goal.

Each of these accomplishments were stepping stones – signs of growth and of recognition. They weren’t about ticking something off a five-year plan; they were natural progressions that I was proud of the company achieving.

Instead of putting my focus on a five-year plan, I targeted short-term goals, worked hard to achieve them, and celebrated when we did. These wins were sometimes the difference between feeling exhausted or excited about the future. So, before you start mapping out the next ten years of your life, I’d encourage you to answer the question: where do you want to be next month, at the end of the next quarter, or next year? It’s these answers that will shape your path to the next 10 years.

3 top tips

Here are three things I learned, hard and fast, that have helped me become a better businesswoman and leader.

  1. Every mistake is a learning curve – learn to love them.
  2. No one will ever be as passionate about your own brand as you are.
  3. Know your strengths, know your weaknesses and know when it’s right to move on them.

About Jasmin Robertson

Literally one saucy lady, Jasmin Robertson is the Director of Roza’s Gourmet, a Brisbane based, family run business that lovingly creates an extensive range of gourmet sauces and dips. What started as a backyard business by Jasmin’s mother, the eponymous Roza’s brand has catapulted under Jasmin’s leadership to become a huge success, selling 12,000 products a week with an annual turn over of $2.9 million. Jasmin was recently included in the 2016 Hot 30 Under 30 List and was an official delegate of 2016 Australia Week in China.

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