3 ways to be a better team leader

In Good Company: "How I run a successful female-led café"
In the latest instalment of our series 'In Good Company', profiling small business owners, we talk to Manchester café owner Lauren Irlam…

When it comes to independent cafés and restaurants, it's fair to say they live and die by their customer service as much as they do the quality of their food (or coffee).

And for Manchester-based independent café Nibble, creating a warm and inclusive environment that replicated a friend's living room was top priority — starting with a female-led team headed up by founder Lauren Irlam.

With glowing Google reviews and cakes now loved across the UK (After Eight brownies, anyone?), Lauren is blazing a trail.

Here, she shares her best tips for successfully leading a team…

1. Have fun with it

"The people you surround yourself with really influence how much you get out of your business, so never stop laughing. You want to be doing something because that's how you want your life to be. That's why I made sure to build a team that knows how to get along with one another and have a good chuckle. I really think you have to be actively involved in your team in order to understand, and listen to them in a way that makes them actually feel heard. Things do get stressful, but there's always something to laugh about. That's definitely kept us all sane here at Nibble throughout a rubbish time of lockdowns and lack of support for the hospitality industry."

2. Believe in yourself

"When you're a female business owner, unfortunately there will be people that are quick to label you as a confrontational or emotional female or whatever. But you are your business, so no one knows it better than you do. In my case, it helps that I know from Google Analytics that people are engaged in what I'm doing and visiting the café's website, which backs my self-belief with hard facts. I think as women we find it hard to turn around and say to ourselves 'I'm proud of what I've achieved', but we need to believe in ourselves more and not get knocked down by things."

3. Get as much experience as you can

"Cut your teeth working for other people and use that time to improve your knowledge and learn from mistakes before you start doing things off your own back. There are things that I wish I'd got to grips with better before I started my own business. Everything is great now, but it has been really hard work and stressful at times. A lot of it has been due to mistakes I've made personally because I didn't know any better. If you're not gaining new experiences or learning, then go somewhere else to get what you need."

Nibble's Google toolkit
Google Maps
Make sure you're easy to find and stand out from the crowd when people are looking for your kind of business
Find out more
Google Analytics
Drill into stats and simple analytical tools to refine your search engine optimisation (SEO) and marketing
Find out more
Google Reviews
Encourage your customers to leave Google reviews so that your hard work and personal touches shine through
Find out more

In the past 18 months, an average of 5,000 British businesses a week sold online for the first time. Google provides companies like Nibble with tools and training to support their growth. Whatever your mission, Google has free tools to help your business today.

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Image credits: Google
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