If we look at the statistics of small business success in Australia we quickly see that the odds are stacked against us. We have around 2.1 million businesses in Australia, sole traders are making up over half of all businesses with approximately 1,000 new businesses starting every month. There are about 1.2 million micro businesses, meaning they have one operator, a partner or up to five helpers or employees.
Regardless, many businesses will not survive the first year in business, and even if they do, many more don’t make it past the 3 or 5-year mark. And, if that was not enough, the fast-moving business, technology and market landscape with ever-changing consumer behaviours can make the playing field seem forever slanted.
Even the more reason to not go it alone, but to seek out information, insights and tips from those that have gone before. Success leaves clues, goes the saying, and that could not be more true than as found at the recent Flying Solo LIVE event held in Melbourne.
The sheer calibre of successful entrepreneurs, experts and former soloists in business provided incredible value to the hundreds of business owners and those looking to start one in attendance at the Melbourne Convention Centre in the Victorian capital.
The day as it happened
The keynote presentations from Catherine Cervasio, who’s baby brand made inroads into China long before it was trendy; David ‘Kochie’ Koch, TV host, leading business commentator and chair of Port Adelaide AFL club; and Katie Christie, acclaimed time-investing guru, delivered invaluable and essential insights relevant to anyone in business.
With the panel discussion lead by Robert Gerrish (Flying Solo Founder) with the likes of social media Rockstar Katie Jeanes (Pinstripe Media), Jeremy Hunt (CBEC) who specialises in taking health brands into China, Elizabeth Formosa (Fashion Equipped) who works with diverse brands and mentors businesses in the fashion sector; and Little Earth Nest founder Pippa Buxton, we were already granted some priceless takeaways well before lunch.
But, it did not stop there… yet another panel discussion covering all things marketing and more with Jo Burston, who’s Job Capital venture turned over 40 million in just five years; Brad Krauskopf, Hub Australia founder; Tom Griffith, co-founder of Emma & Tom’s; Dave Chaffey, MD of KBB Digital Agency; and Sarah Prescott, head of marketing at social enterprise Thank You, meant that many a question was catered to by the best of the best.
Incredibly insightful was the chat between David Koch and legendary Holly Ransom, who interviewed Barak Obama on his recent visit Down Under, giving us all a phenomenally broad and indepth feast of tips and tricks from those that have successfully taken their once solo-business idea to a state where extended teams, expansive markets and massive learning curves are part of every day.
For any bedroom business operator, aspiring solo-entrepreneur or growing SME guru, the event presented invaluable information and I was surprised to see any empty seats – although there were only a few.
What attending Flying Solo LIVE did for me, other than soaking up all the priceless content and taking the opportunity to interview some of the greatest business minds in Australia, was to re-realise just how important it is to learn from those that have done it, to motivate oneself to get off the couch or office chair and attend events, presentations and panel discussions. Essentially, to not go it alone!
To top it all off, we were also blessed to hear from representatives of the Victorian State Government as we had light shed on the ample events, initiatives, support, outreach and funding programs they offer to start-ups, micro and small businesses across the Garden State, which gives so much opportunity to budding entrepreneurs here.
Apart from the networking with likeminded folks around the coffee-cart during the breaks, the incredible insights and the proximity that the day offered left everyone the richer and far more inspired than any book ever could.
When it comes to giving your venture, whichever stage it is at, the best chance for survival and success, events like this are simply a ‘must’.
For more of the like, check out www.flyingsololive.com.au and www.festival.business.vic.gov.au