With rising interest rates and a volatile global economy, this year we’ve seen businesses placed under more pressure than ever before. So what would Aussie business leaders do differently if they could start over? Australia’s most disruptive entrepreneurs reveal how they would have approached leadership if given the chance to start again
Nic Brill, CEO of PoolWerx
If given the chance to do things differently, I would have proactively sought out mentors and expanded my network from the start, to gain diverse perspectives and guidance. Networking opens doors to opportunities and helps in navigating challenges effectively.
I would have also embraced innovative risk-taking. Business success often requires stepping outside of one’s comfort zone and exploring new avenues. Being open to calculated risks can lead to breakthrough opportunities that I might have missed by playing it too safe.
Importantly, I’d also make work-life balance a priority. For me, being aware of your personal warning signs of stress can equip you to better manage it and your overall mental health. It’s important to remember that working hard doesn’t mean working non-stop.
Jun Lee, Executive Director of Innoveil Gami, trading as Gami Chicken
I would smile more. When we first started, we were not only a young brand but also inexperienced in the hospitality industry. Consequently, as the brand owners, we had to work at a very fast pace. We often had to skip our lunch and dinner to keep up with our work. When you don’t even have time to eat, you sometimes feel like you don’t have time to smile.
So given those lessons, I would make the effort to smile every morning and afternoon. If I could, I would even smile during stressful events. Smiling not only allows you to think with a moment of pause but also provides comfort to others working with you and those who listen to your directions. This, in turn, helps them work with better motivation and leads to positive resolutions.
I would also communicate more. You may agree that even when you think you have communicated very clearly, your team may not have understood it in the way you intended. I’ve learned the hard way that I should not assume my communication was clear enough. Sometimes, communication needs to go down one more layer to ensure that we are all on the same page in terms of understanding. Better communication also involves better listening. Even when your team raises points that you initially think shouldn’t be considered, they may provide essential insights from a different perspective. It’s crucial to listen to them. This can make your decisions more relevant, wiser, and inclusive.
Finally, I would take the time to guide more. The team you may find in the early stages of your business often possesses more heart and passion but may have less professional knowledge. These are brave individuals who are willing to work with you even when you may not be able to offer the same level of security as big corporations. Guiding your team in this context can be very different from guiding a team in a large corporation. I would take on a more hands-on role, involving more guidance, teaching, and motivation to young professionals I would have met then.
Jade Winter, Co-Founder & CEO of Studio Pilates International
Reflecting on my leadership journey, one aspect I would approach differently would be to place an even greater emphasis on building a robust company culture from the outset. Placing as much emphasis on fostering an environment that encourages innovation, collaboration, and mutual respect as possible, as this is absolutely pivotal for long-term success.
Secondly, I would have taken even more leaps into the unknown. One of our guiding principles is to dive in and figure out how to swim later on. Of course, we check the depth of the water first, but when you’re part of an innovative company doing things nobody else has done before, there isn’t always a roadmap.
Lastly, I’d take more time to stop to smell the roses. One of our core values is – ‘The journey is the gold medal. Have fun, instill this in others and realise that the destination is a bonus.’ This is a reminder to myself and to all of our team members to enjoy the process of building something great.
Dhanush Ganglani, CEO of Eden Exchange
I’ve learnt the importance of encouraging consistency, not complacency. Each day is a chance to work towards a goal, and ensuring your workforce is on the same page is crucial to achieving those milestones. It’s also important to foster people’s desire to work hard – which I describe as helping them to “develop the muscle to hustle”.
As a leader, you need to play to people’s strengths – but you also need to ensure you’re surrounding people that understand their weaknesses and want to go above and beyond when necessary.
Finally, it’s important to encourage your team to be brave, but make sure they’re not being brash. As a leader, you need to be courageous, and reflect on what works, and what doesn’t. When it’s time to change something, don’t be afraid to make the change. Much like a river that will twist and turn in whatever direction to get to the ocean, leaders need to be agile in their thinking – no one approach will solve every problem.
Ryan Gair, CEO and Co-Founder of Rate Money
At the beginning of our journey, it would have been beneficial to invest more into processes and systems. At the start I was very focused on growth and sales, which has also worked in our favour, but in hindsight having clear processes and systems in place would have further facilitated this growth.
Investment in the right tech and CRM systems is also important. Having the correct technology and being across the latest innovations is just as important as having the knowledge and expertise. Both will help you proceed further in the journey and at a rapid pace.
About Eden Exchange
Eden Exchange is a revolutionary online marketplace for buying and selling businesses. Its premier, all-in-one platform seamlessly connects buyers and sellers, reshaping the landscape of business transactions. With an extensive network with expertise in business sales, Eden Exchange guides clients and users through each step of the business transaction, offering support from lead and deal origination to preparation and transaction. Trusted by an extensive range of clients, including renowned brands such as The Cheesecake Shop, Roll’d Australia and Poolwerx, Eden Exchange has become the go-to destination for businesses of all sizes to achieve their goals. For more information, visit edenexchange.com or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
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