10 questions for Laura Weaving of Duo Global Consulting – Business Live

The founder and CEO of the North East-based business behavioural specialist answers our questions

Laura Weaving founded Duo Global Consulting which helps businesses to “out-behave” their competition. The consultancy works with clients to make cultural changes that impact on growth.

What was your first job (and what did it pay)? I worked in a local restaurant when I was at school, I think at the time it was only minimum wage, but we got tips which topped it up. I distinctly remember one time I got left a £20 tip by a table of Americans and was absolutely outraged that I had to then put it into the “shared” pot when I had managed the table singlehandedly!

What is the best advice or support you’ve been given in business? It’s two-fold – the first was the phrase “scared money never wins” so if you’re in a situation where you’re only taking work because you’re scared or fearful of your cashflow you will end up doing work you don’t want to do, or devaluing the work you do do. On the other hand, I recently had someone I really admire give me a piece of advice about better approaches to risk and that if you get too comfortable in your cashflow that you will start to make ‘comfortable’ decisions that don’t always result in big wins or big scale because you’re too scared of losing the comfort. So in essence, it’s a fine balance between good cashflow that you can then be confident in saying no to business that doesn’t align, but not too good, so that you still make big decisions and take the risks you need to to scale.

What are the main changes that you’ve seen in your business/sector, and what are the challenges you’re facing? We’re in the people business and essentially help leaders better understand their people, to increase performance and productivity. The challenge with this is staying ahead of the ‘understanding’ – everyone is different, generational differences come into play every few years, motivations change due to big world events like Covid – so our job is to bottle that understanding and give it to managers and leaders in a digestible way that they can action.

How has the pandemic changed the way you work? The pandemic completely changed the landscape of work and people, so it has not only impacted how we work in our business and with our team but also with what we deliver to our clients. The positive from this is I think people are now more interested and understanding of people’s different behaviours, situations and motivations, and more willing to flex their management and leadership styles accordingly as we had no choice during the pandemic.

Who is your role model in business? There are so many – most are the people closest to me that I work with every day – my business partner Sarah, our team, our clients. If I had to name an external person it would probably be Suneera Madhani, founder of billion-dollar fintech Stax – she has broken pretty much every glass ceiling there is to break but does so without sacrificing her family and personal life – all while doing lots of amazing travel.

What would your dream job be? It is somewhere between an interior designer and a dolphin trainer. I love design and house renovation and have flipped a few properties but also love nature, and specifically the water. My daughter is now carrying on the aspiration of becoming a dolphin trainer, so I am hoping to live that dream vicariously through her.

What advice would you give to someone starting out a career in your sector? Find a gap in the market, come up with a great idea to solve it, create a recurring revenue model, prioritise cashflow over everything else, and have big aspirations.

What makes the North East a good place to do business? The people. It sounds cliché but the people are so friendly and willing to help that it really does make business a pleasure. Combined with that nature though there are some of the smartest entrepreneurs I have ever met in this region, and so much passion and innovation that I think sometimes goes unrecognised by other parts of the UK.

How important do you think it is for business to play a role in society? Really important. In our podcast, Misbehave, we seem to have a bit of a running theme with our guests and their higher purpose, and a lot of that conversation is around if we just solved a lot of societal problems from a business mindset – there would be faster and more impactful change. I can see that change coming though, there has definitely been a shift post Covid of more intentional business and people wanting to do real good so I see over the next 10 years wider society feeling the positive impact of that.

Outside of work, what are you really good at? I really love travel – it’s one of my biggest passions and what lights me up inside. Because I’ve done so much of it, and now usually have a five-year-old in tow, I feel I’ve got really good at the art of travelling and having adventures whilst also being able to work from those places and be an inspiring mum to my daughter.

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