“My philosophy is I want to find a way for everybody to win. There are some cultures where you only win if other people lose. I want to do business with people and want them to have a great experience. I want to be able to meet every client that I’ve worked within 20 years’ time and make them feel that they got good value. It’s one of the core values I have that I add value to people’s lives and not take away,” declares Alliance Software CEO and Owner, Ben Stickland.
Solving problems, family and his Christian faith are some of Ben’s great passions. He admits that he does not have any entrepreneurial background in his family, but he has always been into ventures since he was a kid. “I was born in a small country town and then moved to a regional city before I became a teenager. I had a very good family life to middle-income parents and a couple of older sisters. My dad was a teacher, and my mum was a nurse. They have no entrepreneurial background,” he began.
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Learning takes place in many forms and places, not only in classrooms or books. There are other artistic means where individuals and groups can draw lessons and insights for growth and development. One particular medium where entrepreneurs can gain inspiration and motivation is in the film industry. With numerous movies shown each year around the world, there are stories which can teach business owners a few lessons on how they can improve themselves and their ventures.
The movie industry is a rich repository of resources like films that have business angles, which may be beneficial to your entrepreneurial journey. It’s a great way to learning and chilling out, absorbing the story and the lessons behind the stories.
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If an entrepreneur is a social media platform, what would he be? He would be a mix of the popular social media we see these days. As much as every entrepreneur is unique, every social media network also has its respective strengths and interesting features. We can pick a thing or two from each platform and blend them in moulding the qualities of a business owner.
Let’s merge these social media features with the characteristics of an entrepreneur and see how it will develop. So, familiarise yourself with each platform and learn how you can utilise them in your business.
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What is an entrepreneur? Dictionaries describe an entrepreneur as someone who starts and runs a business venture. However, every entrepreneur may vary from one to another, depending on their capability, preferences and work style. Still, business owners need certain qualities to help them through the stumbling blocks and challenges that the entrepreneurial journey poses to them.
Let’s spell out the makings of an entrepreneur and see how each quality can help a business owner grow and develop. These are characteristics that you can learn to cultivate in yourself or your team members. Other entrepreneurs who have been on the journey for quite some time have exhibited these qualities or have cited them as among the important tools for the survival and longevity of one’s career in business.
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If there is one word to describe Gary Tramer, founder of companies like LeadChat and PoweredLocal, it is enthusiasm. This business owner is oozing with energy, and his vibe extends to his colourful entrepreneurial journey. His journey is an adventure filled with ups and downs, but Gary finds joy and excitement going through the peaks and troughs of the entire experience.
Gary’s business journey is a wild escapade full of learnings. He has started a business, grown a business and sold a business. There are some failures as well, but in each mistake and win, he picks a valuable lesson every step of the way. It began from his own home, as he ascertained through his family about how he would fare as an entrepreneur.
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“Be resilient. You need to be able to learn to do pain well. When you’re in self-doubt and fear, understand that you’re going through a personal growth phase, where you’re being asked to change, adapt or improve. Your capacity to respond to those occurrences ultimately turns to success. I usually embrace those periods even though I don’t enjoy them,” Banjo co-founder and CEO, Andrew Colliver, shares. He subscribes to this business philosophy, which has guided him through all these years.
Change is something that Andrew has experienced in his 20-year business career. The shift from two decades of being a banking executive in the corporate space to entrepreneurship was a huge one. “I had a health scare five years ago, which caused some changes to the way I view the world and my place in it. I thought of things that I should have done when I was in my early 20’s. But I was so immature and reckless in my 20’s. I was not capable. But I needed to know who I was as a person without the business card and salary cheque telling me who I was, and why I was here. Then I underwent the transition into the entrepreneurial world,” he began.
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Getting into details and combining professional services with fun experiential events is the forte of Harry Samuels, owner of The Production House Events (TPHE). In a highly competitive industry and ever-evolving landscape, they set itself apart from the others by going out of their way and putting people at the centre of things.
Harry might not have any entrepreneurial background in the family, but he has always been passionate about business. In fact, he even took up a bachelor’s degree in business, majoring in marketing and management during his university years. He went on to build a career in the marketing field as he worked in various corporations until he became the CEO of a supply company. His work experience brought him overseas, particularly in Sri Lanka and New Zealand. In those jobs, he was always involved with organising corporate events.
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When Craig Sanford established Sierra Legal, what he had in mind was something very different to the traditional “ivory tower” law firms in the industry. Thus, he created a boutique firm that provides high quality and commercially focused legal services to its clients, using a close-knit team of friendly and highly experienced lawyers who enjoy a technology savvy and truly flexible working environment. For a boutique firm, Sierra Legal has some great clients, including Medibank, BP, Hisense and Chubb Insurance.
The entrepreneurial route was not something Craig contemplated when he began his career. “In fact, if you ask my friends and the people where I worked at the time, they would have said that I was the last person they expected to jump out on his own,” he claimed.
His family does not have any entrepreneurial background. His parents and those of his wife, Katie, were not entrepreneurs. According to this legal adviser-entrepreneur, “Initially, the scary part was being on my own and not having that support network around me. I’ve been with EO Melbourne now for four or five years. But in the early days, I didn’t have those people available to guide me along my way. I had family and friends I could talk to, particularly my father, who’s always been a bit of a mentor to me. But it was a challenge not having people around me with entrepreneurial experience to give advice.”
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The Gables is an establishment that traces its history since 1902. For Managing Director and Business Owner Jessica Souter, it’s a tough and exciting challenge to preserve a significant piece of Melbourne history. The garden was laid out by no less than William Guilfoyle, the landscape architect of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne.
The Gables has a rich and colourful past, which includes being an illegal gambling house in the 30’s. “It was a sly-grog shop. It was a speakeasy. So, I’m a caretaker of this beautiful venue,” Jessica claimed. In fact, 1920’s famous Australian gangster, Squizzy Taylor, held a lavish 21st birthday party for his girlfriend in this venue. Keeping the genuineness of the place is a tall order for Jessica. As such, “Everything I do, whenever I renovate or do anything around here, I try to do it as authentically and respectfully towards the house as I can,” she declared.
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“The customer is king. Cover your back. Always do what you say you will do.” These are just a few of the business philosophies that Ina McCorkell goes by, Owner and CEO of EasyChef. For over two decades in the business, Ina imparts her grains of thoughts and nuggets of wisdom on how to overcome the challenges of the entrepreneurial journey.
Both of Ina’s parents were self-employed, so taking the entrepreneurial route seemed a natural progression for her. “When you grow up in an environment where people create their destiny, it encourages you to see it as normal. It’s a lot easier if your family are already doing their own thing. Four of my siblings do their own thing,” she professed.
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