Yesterday I attended the ‘Entrepreneur’s Convention‘, run by the Entourage. Billed as Australia and New Zealand’s largest conference for entrepreneurs, I’d missed the previous two times it has been to Perth, so was keen to give it a look this time. So keen in fact, I bought myself a VIP ticket, which got me preferred seats in the front few rows, a VIP area with food and drinks in the breaks and a goodie bag.
I heard three speakers in the morning, all quite different. Jess Wilson was a young lady who had developed a fashion app, having been told she would never be able to do much in her life by her career counsellor. I think everyone in the audience (Riverside theatre was about 75% full) probably wanted to slap that counsellor. How could you crush someone’s dreams like that? However well intentioned. She showed us a picture of her sitting next to Richard Branson on Necker Island, where she’d visited earlier this year. A motivation story, and she came over as a genuinely resourceful and impressive young lady.
Next up was by far my favourite. Tammy May (see picture above) founded MyBudget in 1999, aged 22, and has since had 3 children (they were watching on admiringly) and grown the company 50% year on year to revenues of $35 million. While I listened to Jess as a nice motivational story, I took copious notes with Tammy. How she arranged her systems and procedures for growth, managed her time, her team, and spoke with passion about the things she got right, and her mistakes… incredibly useful insights.
You always pick up a few things from stories like this. Here are 10…
- Educate the market (use advertising and PR, free media)
- Grow yourself and your leadership team as leaders
- Delegate and have trust in your staff’s abilities
- Get the right people on the bus (Jim Collins, ‘Good to Great’)
- Continually update your systems and procedures to handle growth
- Make decisions on the data and your gut instinct – “what gets measured, gets done”
- Everyone should know the top 5 company priorities (management team, staff, suppliers…)
- Passion and enthusiasm are invaluable – keep a positive attitude, be genuinely nice to people, build relationships
- Continue to grow and learn
- Follow your instincts – often your first impression is right
And finally, enjoy it, spend time away from your business.
A better list of 10 things I could not imagine. I spent my whole time nodding. Probably my favourite was the ‘everyone should know the top 5 company priorities‘. These could change from time to time, but it ensures everyone is rowing on the same boat in the same direction. Great advice. I think I might just use that one.
Overall, the conference was OK. Not great, but OK. I felt a bit like it was a bit self congratulatory, verging on the cult-like, especially when Entourage founder Jack Delosa took to the stage (twice, before lunch). He came over well, but there was not a heap of content, and he didn’t tell his own story, nor many stories for that matter. The best bits from him was when he spoke about the Einstein theory (1916) that was later proved correct in the famous 1919 experiment, that showed that light did bend around the sun due to gravitational pull. “The gap between where you want to be and where you are now, will be your greatest motivation.”
All a bit hands in the air, let’s clap together, and motivational for me. And of course, the ‘sell’ then came in later, asking attendees (most of whom were there for free) to attend one on one training sessions over the ensuing days at a (greatly reduced) fee.
However, Tammy May’s session made it all worthwhile for me. I gave away my VIP ticket for the afternoon for a staff member.