Are You the Next ‘Budding Captain’ of Your Industry?


Are You the Next ‘Budding Captain’ of Your Industry?

The world’s biggest brands have, more often than not, humble beginnings.

Starting off as an idea that then grew into a global juggernaut, they went through difficult initial phases that saw their owners live a hand-to-mouth existence.Fortunately for these wide-eyed entrepreneurs, they overcame that, becoming big successes and raking in billions every year.

Australia is, like many global economic forces, home to thousands of budding captains of industry. From their parents’ bedrooms to shared office space, the next Wesfarmers (owners of Bunnings Warehouse to you and me) or Woolworths could be about to break out.

The list of most recent floaters on the ASX shows a varied bunch. One of the most notable names on the list is Oliver’s Real Food, the organic health food chain. Founded in 2003, the past 14 years saw it grow from an idea by CEO Jason Gunn to offer a healthier alternative to the likes of KFC and McDonald’s to gain 3% of the East Coast fast food market.

Fresh ideas.

Oliver’s raised $15 million from floating on the ASX. That, coupled with an annual turnover of over $40 million shows that a good, unique idea can go a long way towards turning a Small Business into a supersized one. They now have plans to open up dozens of new outlets across Queensland and New South Wales.

Great ideas need to be fleshed out, something that some of Australia’s biggest brands worked out early on in their life cycles. The need to work out who their customers should be, who to market their products to, and where they should sell them, was recognised almost instantly.

This can certainly be said of Canva, an Aussie startup behind free graphic design software that has achieved global recognition. Its founders, based in Perth, hit upon the idea that graphic design could be simple. From a partnership, they have since gone on to employ hundreds of people across Australia, New Zealand and France.

Willing to change.

Canva’s founders saw their company grow because they were willing to learn from their mistakes. The addition of new features and refinement of existing ones led to more customers coming their way, looking for a cheaper and simpler alternative to expensive rival programs.

Their premium, paid-for service has millions of subscribers. In total, more than 10 million people throughout the world are using Canva, free or paid-for, creating business cards, memes and infographics with it.

Normally, when a big business makes a change, investors will usually panic. A change is usually seen as a sign of failure, but the ability to adapt is something Small Businesses would find greatly beneficial. In actual fact, a step towards sorting out any problems would be welcomed by those who are share trading.

Finding a gap.

Successful big companies can, if they do all the right things, go from the startup phase to the ASX 200 index in just a few years. Fortescue Metals Group, one of the index’s biggest names, rake in over $7 billion per year and are among the world’s biggest iron ore producers. Despite being a staple of the ASX, they were only founded in 2003.

In a sector where competition is scarce, Fortescue had a head start over many other new businesses. This is because their founders saw a gap in the market and just went for it. Small Businesses with aspirations of growth should look at any potential areas that rival companies have yet to exploit and see whether there is a market for it.

Fortunately for Fortescue, there aren’t that many iron ore producers in the world, let alone Australia. From their first mine in Cloudbreak, a further three in Western Australia were developed, using profits from there. Patience was needed until their second mine was opened, but their rapid ascent helped them to give Small Business reason for hope.

These are a few things your Small Business could do to become a leading light of Aussie economics. Be willing to change, find a gap in the market and if possible, come up with a unique idea. Whilst there is no magic formula to follow, you could do worse than follow in the footsteps of Canva and co.

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