When it comes to lessons she has learned that continue to benefit her business, Cotswold-headquartered Oasis Events, Dany Freemantle is clear – trust and reputation are key and continuing to learn fundamental to success.
Her Gloucestershire family business has staged events that have transformed some of the most unlikely locations into the perfect spaces for everything from private parties to corporate occasions, weddings to awards nights.
Freemantle, whose company is also the event partner for both of SoGlos’s flagship business and lifestyle awards, spoke to SoGlos as part of our Gloucestershire business lessons series compiled in partnership with online training provider Nimble Elearning.
She said: ‘Working to gain trust and preserving reputation are key to everything – they open doors and make doing business easier.
‘Whether that’s with our team – who may leave the business and become our suppliers or even our clients (and that’s happened over the years) – mutual respect has enabled those developments to be fruitful and valued.
‘With clients, it speaks for itself really, but it’s become a cherished virtuous circle over the years that consistent, careful delivery for every single client earns us the trust and reputation which gets us the next job.
‘Word of mouth counts for a huge amount in an industry where people spend a lot of money on a one-off, special event and they need to feel assured about who they are dealing with – and who holds their reputation in their hands on the day or evening of their event.
‘With suppliers, I believe in trusting people to do what they’re good at without micromanaging them, that gains their trust and the work we do together is better because of it.’
As for a mantra?
‘Look after your people and they will look after you,’ said Fremantle.
‘I believe in pursuing kindness even when times are tough. Behind every cross word or failure is always a reason – even if it’s not a good excuse – and it doesn’t take much to dig down and empathise with people to understand where they’re coming from.
‘We all get better outcomes by being kind, avoiding confrontation or quick wins – the long game is to look after people along the way and hope that down the road they will look after you in return on some level.’
And lastly, on the importance of fostering a culture of continual learning and development within teams.
‘It’s fundamental. It has helped with our company growth over nearly 20 years of staff retention and can open doors to new opportunities for the business.
‘We had a much larger team in the days of operating a hire business before we trimmed down to become more of an agency. Training and development kept our team motivated to stick around in what can be a fairly gruelling industry at times, and allowed everyone access to a step up, to a specialism or to a leadership role if it suited them.
‘Our team now is mostly freelance – our supplier teams are bespoke to every job – and we see around us that individuals and companies that prioritise education, standards and progress flourish and thrive.
‘The days of being locked into one role, or one business, are over. As leaders, it’s our responsibility to support and cherish the evolution of those we train and depend on… and who may even become our suppliers and clients as time goes by. These last two years above all others have taught us not to stand still.’
To read the first article in the business lessons series, in partnership with Nimble Elearning, visit: Gloucestershire business lessons: How a learning culture is driving Forge Engineering to success.