Today I attended a breakfast event “Catapult Your Business To Success” featuring Australian Shark Tank’s Steve Baxter. Its questions-to-panel format fostered audience participation in a way that I’d not seen before. And I’ll explain how it worked below.
But first, about the panel members.
Steve Baxter is for many Aussies most recognisable as being a Shark on TVs Shark Tank. He founded River City Labs in Brisbane, which is a tech startup co-working space dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs in developing and upscaling their ventures. In late 2018 he took over the role of Queensland’s Chief Entrepreneur.
Elaine Jobson is Chief Executive Officer for Jetts Australia and has had 23 years in executive position in the fitness industry – all around the world. She thrives on building successful companies by fostering leaders and developing great cultures.
Shanna Bignell is a marcomms specialist for Typefi, a platform that provides customers with the ability to take a single source document and, in minutes, render it into their choice of over 30 formats for print, online, and mobile.
Mic Black, top guy at Mic’s Lab describes himself as an ‘innovator for hire’. Mic’s Lab is a creative technology R&D lab which develops interfaces with embedded electronics in a way that is making real change in in communities all over Australia.
Ian Mason was an unexpected bonus guest. He was instrumental in the creation and development of Virgin Start Up, Sir Richard Branson’s not-for-profit company for entrepreneurs. Ian was the Leader of the UKs delegation to the Y20 Summit, putting forward the views of young people in the UK to the G20 World Leaders at their annual summit. He is founder of the Future Leaders Network, an organisation that aims to develop the business, academic and political leaders of the future.
The ‘interactive innovators breakfast’ was sponsored by Advance Queensland and #SCRIPT. The hundred or so attendees sat at the usual breakfast meeting round tables, with the panel seated at one end of the room. Above their heads was a huge screen.
After the panel was introduced, attendees were asked to submit their questions with their handheld devices via Sli.do. As the questions were entered they appeared on the screen (and our devices), and if we were interested in the answers we were to put a check agains the question. The questions of most interest to the audience were put to the panel.
There were no presentations, no pitches. Just a 90 minute Q&A session (without the all too common posturing from attendees wishing to draw attention to themselves). The questions of most interest were answered thoughtfully – and the time-wasting ones ignored.
I’m not sure if they were learnings, but I did jot down a few key points that I’ll share here:
A hurdle to moving forward. Stop overthinking and start doing. Don’t agonise over options. Stop refining the offering/trying to make things perfect. Instead just go for it, then refine later.
* Leave ego at the door:
Make someone else look amazing, acknowledge their talents and successes and nurture them. Your success only relates to the success you create for others.
* Know what you don’t know:
Harness the expertise of others – you shouldn’t expect to tackle every aspect of your business by yourself. Take advice, but be careful from whom you take that advice. Avoid people who quote experts, but who cannot prove themselves to be experts.
* Persevere or Pivot:
A Silicon Valley term. Are you creating a successful business/product/service or flogging a dead horse?
* Social Media:
Don’t build your business on someone else’s platform (e.g. Facebook or Instagram). Its like having a retail outlet in Westfield: another entity is controlling your future. Treat social media as a mail list not a base for your business – it is a way you communicate with your leads/clients.
* Any events suggested for tech innovators?
Hackathons (more for techies, but the only response from the panel).
* On social entrepreneurship
“In order to do good you have to do well”. Build a profitable business then look at social causes. If you start a business as 50/50 profit/charity, it won’t be long before the charity bit takes over, and the business eventually fails
* The difference between female versus male entrepreneurs
Steve believes that males, especially young males, are more determined and aggressive about their ideas and their determination to follow them through. It is just the nature of the beast, which is why he prefers (with exceptions) to work with young males. An example was given: A woman looks at a job post that lists 10 selection criteria and thinks “I only fit 7 of these. I won’t apply”, whereas a young man will more likely say “I check three of those boxes, I’m perfect for the role”.
* On broadband
Steve Baxter said that our internet speeds and prices are a disgrace by world standards and we have the means to fix it. Queensland has 6000 km of fibre optic cable throughout the state. The Queensland Government needs to learn and understand how it can utilise this to deliver high speed bandwidth with infrastructure they already own. He will continue to aggressively lobby on this.
An interesting group of people….. being the Sunshine Coast there were the usual tourism/accommodation people there, but I also spoke to a Beau who has a fledgling mobile gym business, a guy who wants to bring frozen beer technology to Australia from the Philippines (!), and an off road caravan builder – among others. As I said, interesting mix.
Well done to #SCRIPT on an informative event.
I had the opportunity to speak briefly with Steve after the event – here’s our pic >>>>