The Sydney start-up scene is alive and kicking in 2012. In the past few years kick-starter style outfits, incubators, coworking spaces, accelerators, angel investors and venture capitalists have emerged as driving force behind innovation and entrepreneurship.
No longer known as the domain of eccentric entrepreneurs with ‘big ideas’, founding, funding and growing a business from a start-up to something more is increasingly an open book to anyone with the drive, determination, smarts and professional network to make it happen.
The Australian Computer Society (ACS) this month hosted a captive audience of Sydney’s hopeful start-up community and start-up curious for an in-depth 3+ hour workshop and panel session that covered some of the “A-B-Cs” of Opportunities for Startups in Australia.
The Commonwealth Bank’s (very slick) open plan offices at Commonwealth Place played host to Opportunities for Startups. A fitting surrounding for such a forum with a space designed to promote freer flow of work and ideas.
Among forum panellists were some of Sydney’s startup and innovation notables (see below) all there to frankly and openly share their experiences and war stories of working to take an idea and turning it into a successful business model.
Opportunities for Startups panellists included:
- Kim Heras – Co-founder at PushStart, one of Australia’s top startup community accelerators.
- Anoop George – Senior Director and Country Head at MindTree Australia
- Natasha Rawlings – Direct Marketing pro, Founder and CEO at StreetHawk, a mobile shopping startup
- Philip Takken – Audit and Assurance Senior Director at Deloitte’s Technology, Media and Telecommunications (“TMT”) practice in Sydney
- The night was facilitated by Jenny Bhuiyan, Event Convener at the ACS and head of the Women of Entrepreneurs Sydney Chapter
Revealed early by speakers in sharing recipes to startup success was that not one seems to be the same. All had learned things the hard way and offered the audience insights into what worked for them, what didn’t and what others can learn from their experiences.
Perhaps most intrinsic to all panellists was an emphasis on speed and pace when moving in the startup space. When asked for their top tips to share with anyone considering/contemplating jumping into the startup game, the following pearls of wisdom were shared:
Startup Tips Shared by Panellist over the Evening:
- “Fail Fast”: Find out what doesn’t work quickly
- “Learn Fast”: Learn quickly from your mistakes
- “Understand your profit model”: Passion will only get you so far
- “Always have a financial buffer”: Be prepared for a considerable period of time without income and all the psychological pressure that goes with that.
- “Pick your co-founders carefully”: You’ll be spending a lot of time with them
- “Spread the word about your business”: Share your information and ideas with people outside of the business
- “Sell from the Start”: When you’re trying to sell to someone – that isn’t your friend – you will find our very quickly what people really think of your business and products
- “Persevere or Pivot”: Keep going but be ready change and recalibrate very quickly
- “Keep your business plan simple”: Complexity can kill
- “If in Australia, be prepared to spend time attracting investor dollars”: Australian investors generally require a working profit model before making a commitment
- “Learn how to do things yourself”: Whether it’s basic HTML coding, sales and marketing, you can’t afford to pay people to do everything
About Ambassador // All about Social Media, PR and travelling, Nick is big on any form of written, verbal and visual communication. By day, Nick is a PR and Social Media Consultant at an independent PR and Communications based in Sydney, @DEC_PR. Connect with Nick via @NickHealy
photo: cc license, basheertome