Archives For Women in Business

Opening words

One thing I have learned is that most people express the same idea, but it is the details in the expression, and the words used, that give the idea its colour and texture, and bring the idea to life. What I also have learned is that we a unique combination of our beliefs, values and experiences, and there different words, combination of words or stories will resonate differently. There I believe it is important that the many varied was the same idea is expressed, should be compiled and shared. Who knows, sometimes in inadvertant remark or story will have an impact… it’s not up to me to decide what is worthy or not… but what I can do is create the space to share the stories of those whom I admire and respect.

Below are people that I have come across on my own life journey whom I deeply admire and respect. Whether it be their tenacity or courage, or relentless drive and passion that keeps my own engine revving, each person below brings a beautiful angle to the table that I am incredbily proud to share. As we continue on our sharing over this anthology, I will share tidbits and stories as to why I hold them in such high esteem, and what I love about them.

Look for the angles

Alex Louey. Founder and Managing Director at Appscore. Melbourne, Australia.

The best business advice I have received is “always look for the angles”. For example, when you’re pitching, or selling, or proposing a partnership, you need to find out what will spark the other person’s interest so that they can’t help but want to work with you.

The act of “doing business” is a lot like dating; everyone likes something different so you have to find where someone’s sweet spots are. If it’s a no, it’s often not because they don’t want to use your service(s); you just haven’t pitched your service(s) to solve their problem(s).

Listen to your gut

Andrea Grisdale, Founder and CEO at IC Bellagio, Board Member at Entrepreneurs’ Organization. Bellagio, Lake Como.

Warren Rustand taught me the value of listening to my gut, and so I share with you the following: Always listen to your gut or your intuition. Even if every single person in the room believes otherwise, and that room is filled with people who you believe are more experienced, more intelligent, and more prepared than you are, do what your instincts tell you you do. Listen to the point of view of others but go with your gut; it will never fail you.

Looking back, experience confirms this for me. Whenever I made a decision that was contrary to my gut or intuition, whether it be because I wanted to people please or I capitulated under the pressure of being surrounded by — in my opinion — people who were more intelligent, experienced or qualified than I was – those decisions have always turned out to be the wrong decision.

Conversely, whenever I made a decision that honoured what with my gut or intuition was telling me, it was always the right decision. Even as I reflect on this, I cannot help but laugh as my dear friend Alonso (who has a tendency to analyse everything to the nth degree) becomes incredibly flustered by the “moments”.

Daniel

Measure Twice, Cut Once.

Ironically, what I now know is some of the best business advice I was given was in my year ten woodwork class, by my then teacher who was teaching woodwork to boys whom were very frivolous and quick to make decisions on cutting a piece of beautiful timber.

His message to me then which has stuck with me, and I believe I still say it ten times a week to my current staff is this “measure twice cut once” the reason this is so important is often people are quick to make decisions, or actions where they then later have to take double the time in fixing.

So, “measure twice cut once” sticks with me every single day in ensuring that we do things properly, and prior to delivering, executing, or starting something we ensure that all the checks and measures are taken to be a successful deployment or implementation. There are so many others but this one is a favourite of mine, especially being the son of a builder

Do the most important thing(s) at the start of the day

David Fastuca. Founder at Ambisie, Founder at Locomote. Melbourne, Australia.

Spend your first 2 hours of your work day doing the most important thing(s) so that if you did nothing else, you would be happy. This is an idea that has been drummed into me over time by various mentors and business people. I find that I — and many people I know — have a tendency to get so caught up in “doing things” that we forget — or worse — neglect the things that should be done to help move our businesses forward.

Most skills can be learned, but it is difficult to train people on their personality

Jamie Skella. Chief Operating and Product Officer at Mogul, Former Chief Product Officer at Horizon State. Melbourne, Australia.

I didn’t have the luxury of mentors at my disposal as a young entrepreneur, so most of the business advice I garnered was done so at arms length as I closely watched those succeeding on the global stage (as well as those who were making mistakes).

One of the earliest meaningful pieces of advice I remember paying attention to was Richard Branson’s “most skills can be learned, but it is difficult to train people on their personality”.

Alas, some lessons need to be learnt first hand and I still fell into the trap of hiring based on credentials instead of cultural compatibility at one critical juncture in the past. It’s not a mistake I’ve made since as a hiring manager and it’s also a learning I’ve carried over into my investments: I back entrepreneurs first and foremost, not their CVs; that distinction is critical.

Life is too short to learn everything through experience

Keith Roberts. Founder, Author and Speaker at OAKJournal, Board Member at Entrepreneurs’ Organization, President at Entrepreneur’s Organization, Founder and Creative Director at Zenman. Denver, Colorado.

The idea that “life is too short to learn everything through experience” applies to my business, my personal, and my family life. It seems like common sense, but when applied to all facets of your life, it can have a significant impact through: (1) avoiding pitfalls; and (2) identifying possibilities.

It means that you can avoid potential hardships by learning from what others have done before i.e. their experience. The practice of looking into the past also reveals opportunities that have gone unseen. Don’t make mistakes or miss the chance to capitalize on trends that are visible by looking at historical/competitor data.

This idea was taught to me by a gentleman by the name of James Webb. James and I couldn’t be more opposite in our personal life, but throughout the years we have become lifetime friends.

Let people go if you cannot serve them

Raymond Chou. Founder and CEO at Infront Consulting APAC. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

I used to hate letting non-performers go because I had this strange thought in the back of my mind that said, “If you let them go, you will destroy their life.”

This little voice was challenged one day when I was asked, “If this person continues working for you, am I right to say he will never progress in his career?”

To this question I responded “yes”, to which they replied, “So why are you destroying this person’s career when you could let them go somewhere else where they can be a superstar?”

It was at this point that I finally understood the meaning of “letting someone go”. This is something that I have carried with me since.

The riches are in the niches

Ron Lovett. Founder and Chief Alignment Officer at Connolly Owens, Founder and Chief Community Officer at Vida Living, Author at Outrageous Empowerment. Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Verne Harnish shared an idea that I carry with me, and that idea is about focus: (1) Take an industry and break it into sectors; (2) Pick 10% of the overall sector where you think you have the most opportunity and can beat the competition; and (3) double down and completely focus there. Own 70% of that 10%!

In my last business (security guarding) we were focused on a model but not a market segment (customer). If I could go back and do things again, I would have put a lot more of my energies into focusing, and I believe that I would have built a much larger business as a result.

If you are in a crisis, committees of 1 make the best decisions

Tony Falkenstein. Founder and CEO at Just Life Group Limited, Founder and CEO at Just Water, President at Entrepreneurs’ Organization. Auckland, New Zealand.

In this time of COVID-19, I reflect on the advice from John Fernyhough, who was a very successful lawyer and entrepreneur in New Zealand. One of his great lines is “as a lawyer I will tell you what the legal position is, but then we decide what the commercial action is; that’s the fun part”!

John’s advice in a crisis is “take absolute control; you are like the pilot of a plane, you get paid the big money for when you are in trouble so forget discussions and meetings; just take the action you think is right, and execute fast”.

I became CEO of a long established family company that had gone public; it had millions of dollars of obsolete stock, it had no good processes, controls or reporting, it rented a building that it didn’t need, and every Executive had an Executive Assistant. The son of the Founder was the Production Manager, the Board had monthly catered meetings with drinks and yet the Company was insolvent. The Directors hadn’t realised it. Nobody had.

I drew big red crosses through the management team, including the Founder’s son, rented out the excess building, found a creative way we could use the stock, put a customer service person who had a “just do it” attitude into credit control, and found a new major revenue product. I went to the bank who had the company ‘under watch’, told them what had been done, and said they could put us in receivership now, or lend us more money.

All this happened within one month from joining. We then developed the new management team from existing staff who stepped up to the plate.

The result? The company’s share price moved from 48 cents to over $13 in 3 years. The big learning: First impressions are generally right, so if you are in a crisis, committees of 1 make the best decisions.

What do you think?

Do you agree or violently disagree with anything shared in this article? Or do you have any of your own stories that you want to share? Pop them in the comments and I will personally reply.

Call to action 

My goal is to help 1,000,000 people. My wish is to have these articles shared 1,000,000 times through the various social networks. For this reason, I provide this collection online for free and all I ask of you is this: If any of these articles have helped you in any way, please take a moment to share on social media, email to someone you think will find benefit, or print and leave it on the desk of someone whom you believe has the motivation, but lacks the tools to take themselves to the next level.

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After I launched my business online, I started selling cupcakes at the markets. I set my market-selling date before I registered my home kitchen because I knew that if I set a date, and put down a deposit to sell at a farmers’ market, I would be pushed to tick off all the tasks on my list: (1) create the product line; (2) create the flavours; (3) create a menu; (4) register a business name; and (5) get the food registration etc. I wanted to work backwards with a timeline. If you have a goal and don’t set a date, you tend to let things drag it on. That’s how I made myself accountable to making my business work.” — Sheryl Thai

I started thinking about how other entrepreneurs work because I didn’t feel like an entrepreneur. I didn’t think I was an entrepreneur. I knew that I had a “small business owner” mindset because I wanted to do everything and didn’t want to delegate. That realisation was a defining moment. There was a time when I was so tired, I was taking cupcakes out of the oven, and my arms couldn’t life the trays because of how heavy they were. I remember dropping them and I broke down and ran off to the cupboard upstairs. I locked myself in there and cried for an hour. I needed to change and figure out how to be an entrepreneur. That’s when I started finding other people that was doing what I wanted to do and started learning from them.” — Sheryl Thai

I picked up the phone, called up a law firm, and said, “Hi! I can build websites for you.” The lawyer said, “No. You can’t. Good luck.” He hung up on me. I was crushed. After that, I felt like I was a terrible sales person for a very long time. When I consider sales with WeTeachMe, I find that WeTeachMe touches on who I am and my core values, so I don’t really need to “sell it”. I talk about the “why”. Why am I passionate about WeTeachMe? Why am I passionate about learning? Why am I passionate about education? And why did I start WeTeachMe? I found that our first 100 customers bought into me.” — Kym Huynh

One of the most exciting things about starting your own business is that you get to create the world as you see it. You get to instil it with the values that are important to you. And you get to fill it with people who align with your values.” — Kym Huynh

Our decisions on who we hire, celebrate or fire are based on values. When your values are clear and simple, they provide a framework for people to make decisions; what to do and what not to do.” — Kym Huynh

Our lives are so short. Things can happen through no fault of our own. We might be at the wrong place at the wrong time. I do not want to spend an iota of time doing something unless I am incredibly passionate about it.” — Kym Huynh

I believe in this idea that learning is something that you carry with you for the rest of your life, and it’s one of those things that no one can ever take away from you without your consent. In life you can lose your job, your house, the clothes on your back, but you will never lose the knowledge in your head, and with that knowledge you can always start again.” — Kym Huynh

The one you want to listen to is the one that has achieved you want want to achieve. I say to this person, “Teach me everything you know. I’m going to sit, I’m going to absorb, and I’m going to be willing student.” — Kym Huynh

With goal setting, the most amazing thing is when I have clarity in my 10 years goals, and break that down into years 5, 3 and 1. I started achieving my 3 year goal in 1, 5 year goals in 3, and 10 year goals in 5. Every year I reset the 10–5‑3–1. It’s this incredible accelerated pace of achieving goals.” — Kym Huynh

Sometimes you can be your own mentor by reading. I love reading. I listen to podcasts nearly every day. It’s about continual growth. I ask a lot of people what they listen to and what they read. I believe that success leaves clues and so you find people that have done it or created something that you want to create, and you can learn from them. It’s a shortcut.” — Sheryl Thai

Before I was made redundant, I had already starting little things on the side and baking cupcakes for friends and family. When starting a business, sacrificing your Friday nights is just one of those things that you have to live with. I was at home and waking up and thinking about my business way past midnight. Weekends were dedicated to improving my baking skills and to learning as much as possible. I did for that a good year before I was made redundant at my job.” — Sheryl Thai

There really is no concept of “full time”. It’s all encompassing. It’s all I think about, all the time; from the moment I wake up to the moment I fall asleep. It’s not segmented 9–5 5 days per week. It’s just… life. Life melts into this big cacophony of everything.” — Kym Huynh

The days are long and the years are short.” — Kym Huynh

What’s really helped me is realising that a lot of entrepreneurs go through the same thing.” — Sheryl Thai

The bigger my businesses is, the more money I make, and the bigger my challenges are. For me, I now see my challenges as a privilege to deal with them because it means that I’m growing. The challenge is a learning for me.” — Sheryl Thai

With thanks to

Sheryl Thai founded Cupcake Central (and League of Extraordinary Women) because guess what — she loves cupcakes! Her passion has risen out of her kitchen to 5 store locations across Melbourne with millions of cupcakes served and just as many diets broken! Sheryl describes how she discovered her passion and what she did to be able to enjoy the sweet taste of success.

Kym Huynh is a Founder at WeTeachMe and the driving force behind Masters Series. Kym discovered his passion for teaching after a bad car accident prompted him to think about what was important to him in this life. He’s now planning to turn his passion into the world’s biggest school without campuses.

About Masters Series by WeTeachMe

Masters Series is a show about inspiring entrepreneurs, creative thinkers, and visionary dreamers, and the stories behind how they built their companies.

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Show brought to you by

Masters Series is presented by WeTeachMe.

Our strategic alliance partners: MYOB, SitePoint and Entrepreneur’s Organization.

Our media partners: Startup Victoria and Digital Marketers Australia.

Our content partners: Written & Recorded.

The views expressed by the contributors on this show are linked websites are not necessarily endorsed by the publisher.

Question of the day

What was your favourite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

 

When things go wrong in business, it can feel like the whole year has taken a turn for the worse. Will things ever get better? These founders say yes! And while it may not appear that way at the time, every challenge in business is an opportunity to learn.

Mia Klitsas & Jeff Gore are co-founders of feminine hygiene brand Moxie. While they have solved the problems of tampons getting lost in handbags, they have created a few challenges for themselves that have been difficult to overcome. Mia and Jeff point out the importance of profit over revenue and focussing on what’s important.

Tom Harley is the co-founder of Harley & Sons Roofing. After rounding up his plumbing brothers to work with his dad, Tom has led the way in developing a business that is doubling in size each year. Tom says if you don’t know something you have to get out there and learn it.

About Masters Series by WeTeachMe

Masters Series is a show about inspiring entrepreneurs, creative thinkers, and visionary dreamers, and the stories behind how they built their companies.

Subscribe to podcast

Podcast brought to you by

Thank you to Jahzzar for the music.

Masters Series is presented by WeTeachMe.

The Masters Series podcast is produced by Written & Recorded.

The views expressed by the contributors on this podcast and linked websites are not necessarily endorsed by the publisher.

Question of the day

What was your favourite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

 

Businesses connect directly with their customers through websites, apps, social media and anywhere else that will hold some well crafted content. The common thread among all these channels is words — words which can wield a lot of power! In this podcast you’ll get a masterclass in the art of copywriting and a content strategy to put them all to good use.

Georgina Laidlaw is a copywriting specialist with the experience (and pedantry!) of an english teacher. Georgina works with brands like REA, Aconex and CyRise to help them express themselves clearly. She warns that the written word has no tone of voice which leaves it open to misunderstanding.

Hannah Kallady is a Digital Strategist with ntegrity where she works with brands to get their words in the right place through communication strategies. Hannah believes strongly in the power of the story to connect and even stimulate our minds in ways we don’t quite understand.

About Masters Series by WeTeachMe

Masters Series is a show about inspiring entrepreneurs, creative thinkers, and visionary dreamers, and the stories behind how they built their companies.

Subscribe to podcast

Podcast brought to you by

Thank you to Jahzzar for the music.

Masters Series is presented by WeTeachMe.

The Masters Series podcast is produced by Written & Recorded.

The views expressed by the contributors on this podcast and linked websites are not necessarily endorsed by the publisher.

Question of the day

What was your favourite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

 

One of the best ways to start a business is to create a solution to a common problem. Then, rather than trying to convince people to buy something they may not need, you can offer something of immense value.

Ben Trinh is the founder of Life Ready Physio & Pilates. Fresh out of university, Ben realised there was a fundamental problem in the physiotherapist’s business model. His solution has grown to 30 locations and over 300 employees in less than a decade.

Demi Markogiannaki is one of the founders of WeTeachMe. Demi worked with her co-founders to create a solution to help teachers find their students — but that wasn’t the solution they were looking for. After listening to their customers, WeTeachMe grew to become the go-to marketplace offering hundreds of classes to thousands of students.

About Masters Series by WeTeachMe

Masters Series is a show about inspiring entrepreneurs, creative thinkers, and visionary dreamers, and the stories behind how they built their companies.

Subscribe to podcast

Podcast brought to you by

Thank you to Jahzzar for the music.

Masters Series is presented by WeTeachMe.

The Masters Series podcast is produced by Written & Recorded.

The views expressed by the contributors on this podcast and linked websites are not necessarily endorsed by the publisher.

Question of the day

What was your favourite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.