The best advice I ever got: Liz Dickinson

Written by Susanne Baillie
Liz Dickinson

President & CEO
Physi-Cal Enterprises
Vancouver, B.C

Xchange asks Canada’s top women entrepreneurs to share their most meaningful business lessons. Each issue we bring you the advice that has helped shape the lives and companies of these winning businesswomen.

Liz Dickinson is president and CEO of Physi-Cal Enterprises, a Vancouver-based manufacturer and distributor of Mio, a fitness / healthcare wristwatch that measures your heart rate and records the calories eaten and burned during a day. Founded in 1999, Physi-Cal has grown its revenues to $4 million, earning Dickinson 92 spot on the 2003 PROFIT / Chatelaine list of Canada’s Top 100 Women Business Owners.

BEST ADVICE: “Acknowledge your weaknesses and surround yourself with people who can fill those gaps.”

“It’s really important for you to take a hard look at yourself and assess your true strengths and weaknesses,” says Dickinson. “You’ve got to be absolutely honest with yourself and surround yourself with people who can fill your skills gaps.” It’s advice Dickinson has heard many times since she founded Physi-Cal in 1999 — and “it’s absolutely the best advice I’ve ever followed.”

“Everyone has their own particular gift. I’m particularly strong at sales,” notes Dickinson. “And though I do have a background in commerce and have the ability to read financial statements, I know that I’m not the best person out there in terms of managing the financial aspects of the business, such as cash flow, raising capital and assessing the best way to financially run a business.” So one of the first people Dickinson brought onto her team was a strong chartered accountant. That hire was worth every penny, she says: “In fact, making that decision has kept my business afloat.”

If your skills are untested or you aren’t sure where your natural abilities lie, Dickinson recommends soliciting honest appraisals from past employers, co-workers, even family and friends. Then seek out people with experience and background in areas that complement your gifts. Don’t try to handle everything yourself. “You risk going under,” she warns. “No person is an island.”

© 2004 Susanne Baillie

Originally appeared on PROFITguide.com