Experiencing tough times as founder of HR consultancy Hunter Adams has taught Dean Hunter some valuable lessons.
Make the most of the good times
I guess you could say I’d got used to the good times. After years of being in cushy corporate roles, I launched my own HR consultancy and it immediately took off. This was Scotland in the early Noughties and the oil and gas industry was bullish, which is where I ended up getting most of my clients. We went through the most amazing 2,000 per cent growth in the first few years and I expanded the team massively. Life was good.
Question your situation
Then came the oil crisis of 2014/15 and the bottom fell out of the market pretty much overnight. We were suddenly exposed and my business plan had no relation to where we found ourselves. My instinct was to protect the team and ride it out, but what should have been a blip of a few months turned into a four-year-long nightmare. There were many evenings where I found myself sitting on my back step with a glass of wine feeling completely overwhelmed. How was I going to keep the team busy? How would I pay the bills? The business felt like a noose around my neck.
Rely on your people
My mind kept going back to the security of corporate life during these dark times. Anyone who has been on the ropes knows the temptation to cut and run, but in reality that was never an option for me: this was my team and they were relying on me to get them through this. Despite all the sleepless nights, the pressure and the guilt, I knew I had to keep going. It was actually the team who got me through in the end as my personal resilience was at its lowest. Company culture and camaraderie really are your most valuable assets in times like these and how you handle culture will define your future growth.