AMERICAN EXPRESS: BUSINESS PLATINUM

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PANELIST: American Express Idea Exchange, Sydney Australia

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At the @AmericanExpress Idea Exchange I spoke on my decision to close the #SamanthaWills jewellery business after 15 years. ⠀ ⠀ A gentleman in the audience asked, "Can you help me understand your decision? If the business is profitable, in growth, has significant brand market share & an streamlined back of house + supply chain operation in place, I don't understand the logic behind your decision. Why wouldn't you continue the companies legacy by offering it to long standing members of your team?" ⠀ ⠀ There were two words in his question that I thought really important to talk to; Logic and Legacy. ⠀ ⠀ LOGIC - There was NO absolutely logic behind my decision to close the business (rather than sell it). I replied to the gentleman in the audience this; "When I made the decision, I did not run it through a filter in my mind, I simply put my hand on my heart & knew it was the correct decision because it FELT right. There is a difference between thinking something & feeling something. Thoughts can get clouded & frantic, but you can't fake a true feeling." ⠀ ⠀ LEGACY - The second part of his question is something I truly love talking about. The final slide of the majority of my keynotes is, 'In your career, don't ask yourself WHAT it is you want to do, but ask yourself what you want your LEGACY to be'. ⠀ ⠀ To me, the legacy of the SW jewellery brand was best honoured by closing. ⠀ ⠀ It was to honour everything we had stood for, for 15 years; to honour our consumers & our team. I felt the brand had said all it had to say alongside of a product, continuing with it would have seen it as a business with a product, not a brand with a voice. ⠀ ⠀ The definition of legacy is; 'Legacy; noun, an amount of money or property left to someone' - the gentleman's question is important because the legacy of a business IS honoured by selling & having it continue on,but the legacy of a brand I believe (in this case) is honoured by closing, reflecting,celebrating & moving forward - all with purpose. ⠀ Thank you #AMEX for facilitating these conversations, having open networking forums is so important for small business, I was very humbled to be involved in this project. - SWx

Samantha Wills