Failure doesn’t discriminate when it comes to building a business – start-up setbacks can hit both inexperienced and the veteran innovators but a little education on the subject can certainly lessen the possibility. We’ve partnered with Macleay College, who encourage an entrepreneurial mindset, to shine a spotlight on three of their young students (and entrepreneurs-in-the-making) that have begun their journey to business success. With a guiding hand of Macleay College and along with their pre-existing sense of resilience, adaptability and hard work, there’s nothing standing in their way on the road to success.
From his self-cooling can (that Coca Cola beat him to patenting) to his optical eyewear business that he “gave up too early”, there’s a clear entrepreneurial streak in this former horse podiatrist.
What lessons did you learn from watching your family run a business?
I learnt how to motivate myself, how to converse with clients and what is essential to provide good customer service. I also learnt that working hard is just as important as working smart, to keep your head up to see the direction you are travelling is very important also.
What do you think went wrong in your first few businesses?
[With the eyewear company], we failed and gave up to early so that was the end of that business and a great lesson learnt. The coffee shop was successful but unfortunately I chose the wrong business partner and decided to ‘cut bait’ while I still could, limiting my losses. With [ticket reselling business, Get Ya Tickets], the problem I had like most green entrepreneurs, was that I spent way too much time and money on the idea before working out if I had a customer therefore I spent little money on marketing and advertising; hence very little business.
What kind of leader would you like to be in business?
I always saw myself as a democratic leader but after studying at Macleay I now believe we need to wear different hats with different employees. I would say I aspire to be laissez-faire style leader, I also wish to encourage creativity and flexibility in the business culture around my future business endeavours.
What do you see as the difference between a start-up that succeeds and one that fails?
Establishing if you have an idea worth pursuing or more to the point a real problem worth solving before spending loads of money and time on the business idea itself. Most start-ups don’t have loads of capital to spend on advertising so finding an idea that people are already actively seeking out significantly reduces the risk of business failure.
After a successful stint working at Walt Disney World in Florida, Francesca came home to Sydney to try her hand in the world of television. Gathering up as many insights as she could during her internship at Channel 10, Francesca hopes to turn these learnings into the foundation for her own disruptive production company.
What have you learned from working in fast-paced media?
What was apparent to me from day one was that working in broadcast media is not for the faint of heart. You have to be ready for anything and always prepare for the unexpected. Effective communication is an absolute necessity and there must be mutual trust among you and the team you’re working with. Whatever challenge is thrown your way, always keep an open mind and a willingness to get the job done as best you can.
What have you seen in the media landscape that you would like to improve through your own production company?
Something I would like to see more of is the audience in a position of power. Right now, I feel as if viewers are limited in choice for how they are entertained. What I hope to achieve with the prospect of my own company is the inclusion of modern technologies, such as virtual reality, with a focus on the opinions of the public. This approach to entertainment would allow audiences to experience the content of their choice in a tailored and pleasurable method.
What’s the most helpful lesson you’ve learned at Macleay?
We should all strive to remain curious and always thrive for more. Do more, see more, be more. This further extends to the advice of simply venturing out and talking to people. Collaboration is key and taking on board feedback received from others will help you improve in every way possible. Persistence, diligence and self-discipline will see you through almost anything. Never fear failure because it is in these moments of doubt that you will learn the most.
Hands-on internships and impactful mentorships have formed the practical basis for Kira’s learnings: she’s now had experience in content writing, email marketing, social media strategy and press release writing, all under the guidance of established entrepreneurs, setting her in good stead to build a company with a supportive, attentive and appreciative culture.
Tell us about your entrepreneurship project last year.
My partner Georgia and I created ‘The Whole Kit’ an at-home retreat experience full of locally made spa products. A week before pitch day, Georgia got stranded in Bali. She is a rock star public speaker and the idea of pitching without my co-founder was pretty daunting. Thankfully, she made it back in time and we managed to place second in the pitching competition, and second in tradeshow sales. The project absolutely pushed me outside of my comfort zone, but the confidence and skills I gained made it worth it.
What initiatives from your internship with Velvet Onion would you implement in your own business?
Focus on company culture early, and made sure that everyone in your team (even the interns!) is involved. Give back to the community and the industry, whether that is through internship programs, mentoring, or education. Research; listen to my team and my customers. Leadership style, be the kind of leader your team aspires to be. Charbel [Zeaiter] is such a passionate leader, and if I can emulate that, I will.
From your experience, what do you think a start-up needs to succeed?
A visionary leader who is both a great leader and a great manager; a great vision for why the company exists; and a team of committed and hardworking people who live and breathe the culture and the vision of the organisation.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned at Macleay?
If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. One thing Macleay really excels at is pushing you outside of your comfort-zone, ultimately though that is what is going to make us stand out as graduates. They have definitely challenged my perception of what I am capable of.
Macleay College offers 1 Year Diplomas in Business Management (Entrepreneurship) and 2 Year Bachelor Degrees in Business (Entrepreneurship) in Sydney and Melbourne. Find out more at www.macleay.edu.au