Six Lessons on Business after Six Years in Business

3 minutes read

After celebrating a mammoth six years of Aruga in June, Co-Founders Donna Kramer and Adam Brunes poured a peppermint tea to muse over six significant lessons in business.

1. People do business with people they like

Our primary motivation in launching Aruga was to have ultimate decision-making ability over the projects we take on, and, critically, the people we work with. Values-alignment is non-negotiable, and we find asking “Would you have a beer with them?” – while hardly scientific – generally gives you the right answer. People are at the heart of all our decision-making, from colleagues to clients, partners and suppliers. 

Adam (right) pictured with Courtney Stewart, Graeme Nimmo and Dr Jeanette Young at the 2023 La Boite Season Launch

2. Don’t judge a fish for its inability to climb a tree

If you ask ChatGPT what fish do better than any other species, it will tell you things like ‘swimming’ and ‘underwater respiration’. Makes sense – fish ARE excellent underwater. But if you expect a fish to climb a tree, or hold court around the family dinner table, you’ll always be disappointed. The same goes for people. If you allow individuals to play to their strengths and provide support structures for them to do so, everybody wins. 

3. Question everything

Six-year-olds are on the money when their first response to anything is “But why?” Our biggest discoveries, innovations and efficiencies have always come from regularly questioning and challenging the way we do things. We’ve never been afraid to pull things apart completely and rebuild with fresh perspective – in particular, always looking for ways to eliminate unnecessary admin and manual processes.  

4. The grass is greener where you water it

Contrary to popular belief, the grass is not greener on the other side, but rather where you water it. Creating an environment in which everyone has the opportunity to continually learn and grow, with investment in mentorship and skills development, is critical to stimulation and success – both for the individual and the business. In the current ‘War for Talent’, we are fiercely committed to growing our own. 

Team Aruga cooking up a storm at Vanilla Zulu (February 2023)

5. Sleeping on something always helps.

This one’s easier said than done, but some of our worst decisions* were spur-of-the-moment. The older and wiser us now knows that if the answer to a problem doesn’t present easily, it’s best to give it some space and return to it with a clear mind.  

*Like that time we got our business credit card approved and purchased $200 worth of toothpaste-tasting Aruga-branded candy hearts

6. It’s more important to enjoy the journey than worry about the destination

Finding the joy in the everyday is something we all have in common at Aruga, whether it’s a Friday pub lunch, a Mick’s Nuts 3pm snack run, a team night at the theatre or simply taking turns as Sonos DJ. Celebrating the wins, sharing the LOLs as well as the load and channelling that Friday-Feeling every day is the compass that keeps us on course.