Leading a community of 350-plus startups, she talks about the key elements of starting a business and the importance of a supportive network.
What do you think is one of the most critical elements to get right when starting a business?
You have to be very clear about who your market is and how you can best service them – that’s got to continuously be your focus. Everyone is operating in highly competitive environments, so you need to make sure all aspects of your business, your product or offering are aligned to your customer needs. To do this, you need to talk to people – there’s lots of desktop research you can do, but you can’t go beyond those face-to-face conversations.
It’s also important to understand what your competitors are doing, including testing their product offering and considering how frictionless the journey is. This all takes time and effort, but it will save you angst and problems further down the track. If you get this right from the start, the opportunities are there to have a successful business.
How important is it to embrace social responsibility when you build your business these days?
Whether you’re driven by profit or purpose, I think all businesses should be looking at their triple bottom line and either give back in some way, or ensure their business operations don’t have a negative impact.
It comes back to making sure you’re aligned with the values and expectations of the people you serve. The people factor is a key consideration now, and it gives you that added level of authenticity.
It’s also another compelling reason for them to buy from you or work with you, particularly for younger people, who as we’ve seen with the recent climate protests, are very socially aware.