The road to success for an entrepreneur often involves a few potholes before finally nailing the right idea or business. The difference, for many, between giving up and persevering through the tough times can be getting advice from people who have done it before.

Winnipeg’s Tom Haughton, whose career has crossed several spectrums and continents (with a professional stint in Barbados), enjoys sharing what he has learned over the course of his 20-year career. As vice-president of My Place Realty (MPR) in Winnipeg, Haughton works to provide quality, multi-family homes that people are proud to call home.

In this interview, Haughton offers several nuggets of wisdom to entrepreneurs who are willing to learn—and smart enough to listen.

Q: Before you joined My Place Realty, you worked with an international business. Tell us how other entrepreneurs can make the leap to a new endeavor.

Tom Haughton: It helps to know the ins and outs of different industries. But the underlying principles of leading and growing a business, and establishing a brand are really the same. The industry is less important than knowing how to establish and maintain a good relationship with customers. And ensuring that those coming up behind you in the organization are equipped with the training and tools to do it right themselves.

Q: What skill is essential for every entrepreneur?

Tom Haughton: I would say learning. It never stops—it should be a lifelong pursuit. I am always looking for new ways to enhance my skills and abilities. I have done so through coaching sessions, self-development seminars and more. Thanks to these training opportunities I have been able to build upon my capabilities and talents. If you embrace change effectively, your staff will too. Learning new technology, for example, may be difficult or expensive to implement, but it is key to keeping your business current.

Q: What helps you be more productive on a daily basis?

Tom Haughton: I believe open communication with my team and business relationships is critical to our success. Active listening is one of the most critical components of open communication.

Q: How important are vision and goals to success?

Tom Haughton:  Vision is, in some ways, a metaphysical word. But in business leadership, it has a practical application. Whether you have employees or you work out of your home, you are a leader. By knowing what motivates you and through clearly identifying your purpose, you set the tone and atmosphere for your business.

This is a problem for entrepreneurs in the start-upphase, because they are required to wear so many hats. It is easy to get lost in the minutiae. But ultimately, you must shake off the actions that don’t fulfill your purpose, so that you can hone in on what does.

Q: Talk about the role of networking.

Tom Haughton: Build strong business and social networks to share creative ideas and valuable resources, and to find the mutual support you’ll need. Networking is fun and can be beneficial to your career. Also, to be successful, you need to take risks and trust in yourself. Finally, take time in life to travel, expand your horizons and make time to rejuvenate yourself. Without health and happiness, wealth is worthless.

Q: Do you have any advice about team building?

Tom Haughton: From my experience, creating a team of members who truly recognize the strengths of each other and work together to achieve our common goals is imperative to success in any business undertaking, regardless of the industry or market. At My Place Realty, we work hard to create a cohesive team that not only works well with each other, but believes in our central mission statement: matching quality multi-family homes with tenants.

Q: What final piece of advice would give to all people in the business world?

Tom Haughton:  Always have trust in yourself and never accept failure. Success is always just around the corner. Also, give generously. When you sacrifice your time and energy to help others, it reminds you that we each have a part to play in the game of life. It’s great for your company’s sense of social responsibility and for team-building, but most of all, it feeds your individual connection to the world. Chances are, it will make you hungry to do more.  

Published by knorr kendra