Challenges Aussie Entrepreneurs Faced and How They Overcame Them
Every business confronts challenges. Entrepreneurs need to constantly watch for problems facing their business and juggle multiple responsibilities to overcome these challenges. We asked some Aussie entrepreneurs what problems they faced this year, and they responded with these proven suggestions.
Amir Farhand, Founder & CEO, Soar
There has been a lot of uncertainty about both the local and international economy this year. If you have global customers, or at the very least, have a business that has a global supply chain, this always plays on your mind. You are constantly shadow boxing, because it makes it very hard to see how you should construct a marketing and sales strategy i.e. questions like, where shall I focus the next 12 months given that Brexit has now stalled and the US and China are in a trade war?
At Soar, we overcame this by really focussing on existing customer sectors and trying to figure out how they were thinking. If they were bullish in their own vertical, then it allowed us to zero in and see how we could better serve them. For example, this was the case with the mining industry. I’m not sure the East Coast of Australia has caught on yet, but the mining mini-boom (at the very least) is back in the West and although the US and China are at it again, it hasn’t really hampered mining customers using more of our products.
Anna Ji, Director (Product & Growth), Clipchamp
Hiring quality tech talent quickly is no doubt an ongoing challenge, as it takes quite some time to fill these roles. When there is such an internal demand to hire fast, sometimes it’s easy to forget all of the key components that work together to make this hiring process less of a challenge long-term. This is why we are putting a greater focus on building our brand, leveraging our networks and continuing to cultivate strong partnerships with reputable universities that are producing stellar talent, as we move into the second half of the year.
Jonathan Jeffries Co-founder & Director, Think & Grow
One of the greatest challenges we’ve observed is growing in international markets at scale. For some business types, organic growth of clients occurs more easily than others. For companies challenged with B2B enterprise sales, the question or challenge becomes, do we go direct? Or, do we find a channel or partner? Following this, a company’s next greatest challenge becomes how do they establish an on-the-ground presence to support their international growth strategy. In turn, multiple time zones can also present challenges. Having teams in the EU/UK, East Coast North America and Australia - also referred to as the “triangle of death” - provides the toughest shift of leading and managing.
My advise? Ask the right questions, challenge your preconceptions, learn from seasoned entrepreneurs who have been there, done that, and seek out the right expertise on scaling internationally.
Tim Moylan, Co-founder & CTO, Shootsta
Globalising our product proved to be our biggest challenge this year. Over the past six months, we’ve tried a variety of methods to optimise our video production method for our clients. We originally thought a “follow-the-sun” model that utilises editors around the globe for a fast turnaround was the best approach. However, this year, we discovered our clients get the best results when working directly with a localised team that has the ability to tailor content. Despite all our growth, we learned that the fundamentals stayed the same. You have to listen to your client and adapt your business model to suit their needs.
Gemma Lloyd, Co-founder & CEO, WORK180
The biggest challenge I've faced this year is becoming pregnant for the first time, raising capital for the third time, and overseeing an international expansion of our business – all at the same time. To put it mildly, it's been a whirl-wind nine months, and my co-founder, Valeria Ingantieva, and I have certainly learnt a lot in terms of our own capabilities, perseverance and the ability, and willingness of our team to step up when necessary.
I learnt a few valuable lessons. Firstly, to cut myself some slack and put my health first. There is no sense in killing yourself working when you're feeling sick and have another human to care for. Secondly, the importance of having a flexible workplace is paramount to a woman's success. Thirdly, the importance of hiring the right team.
Des Hang, Co-founder & CEO, Carbar
The trickiest to date has been finding talent to fuel our growth. It’s one of those challenges that’s easier said than done. We’ve been building up the brand and promoting it heavily to help secure the best talent for our business, but this challenge is only set to ramp up as we continue to grow. As we promote the brand, we’ve noticed another challenge. There are now over six separate car subscription services in Australia; the sector which we were first-movers in has now become quite crowded with fast followers. To tackle this, we’re continuing to promote our offering and its differences and have expedited our own expansion plans. We realise however that we can’t dwell on our competitors. We need to run our own race, build the business and continue to execute on our strategy.
Ainsley Johnstone, Co-CEO, Think Talent
People and cashflow have always been our biggest challenge and opportunity. We can’t grow and innovate without bringing on top talent, and making sure they are supported to succeed. So we have invested in PR and culture to attract the top talent, which includes work day design and new incentive structures. We are encouraging a prototype, test and play approach, and are exploring employee experience through service design with Academy XI.