Review of Melbourne Unconvention
I recently attended the Melbourne Unconvention along with 900 other entrepreneurs and business people. Hosted by The Entourage, the day was to be jam packed full of real life stories as well as advice on starting and running a business. I went along with an open mind to listen to the eight hours of keynote speakers as I am always keen to hear inspiring stories and pick up business tips. The host and MC, Richard Bell, promised in his introduction that the day would not involve any selling or sales pitch!
We heard an inspirational story from Brad Smith, a two-time Australian Young Entrepreneur of the Year, runner-up International Young Entrepreneur of the Year and Founder of Braap. He spoke of his childhood and the inspiration he got from his mum as well as his many challenges and knock-backs. His determination and creativeness is motivating.
Jack Delosa’s role on the day was to provide business advice. He is the Founder on The Entourage, a entrepreneur business community and educator. He shared a series of steps that he uses to guide people to entrepreneur success:
1. Employ lean start up strategies – put a process, a methodology around the development of a product. Provide tools to test a vision continuously. Instead of asking yourself “Can this product be built?” ask “Should this product be built?”
2. Millionaire mindset – Find your passion. Do it your way but have advisors/mentors.
“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” Isaac Newton
3. Leverage your marketing – who are your marketing partners? Establish strategic partnerships.
4. Sales strategies – How do you provide an environment that helps your customs make a good decision. Control the process. Know who your brand is and what it stands for. Define your target market, determine your outreach, know your questions, deliver, build and monitor.
5. Develop your online strategy – the internet has levelled the playing field between businesses of various scales. Online is a way to build relationships.
6. Management and leadership – build a good culture and enable other to do good work.
7. Create your financial scoreboard – know your numbers every day and how you stack up against the competition
8. Venture capital – to seek investors you need to be able to clarify what your product is and who the market is you are selling to
Mark Bouris posed the questions to make us think if we are up for running a business:
- Are you prepared to work hard?
- Are you relentless?
- Do you love a challenge?
- Are you prepared for the constant stress and uncertainty of running a business?
He went on to clarify what he calls the three qualities required to be an entrepreneur:
- Empathy – Empathy allows us to create bonds of trust. It gives us insights into what others may be feeling or thinking and it helps us understand how or why others are reacting to situations
- Fortitude – Fortitude is the strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger or bear pain or adversity with courage. This could also be referred to as grit – determination to carry on.
- Accountability – Accountability drives you to achieve what you set out to do. It is the obligation of an individual or organisation to account for its activities, accept responsibility for them, and to disclose the results in a transparent manner. It also includes the responsibility for money or other entrusted property.
Peter Lackovic, the CEO of The Entourage and sales and marketing specialist, covered the steps of effective sales:
- Positioning strategies – This includes brand, product, competitive prices propositioning. Focus on the characteristics of the product or customer benefits. Create a buying mindset in your consumers.
- Opening strategies – Every customer you come across has buyer resistance. Lower buyer resistance to get permission to make a sale. You must get into the buyer zone – the emotional brain (green brain) rather than the logical, analytical brain(red brain)
- Solution strategies – Ask yourself what need am I delivering a solution to not what problem am I fixing?
- Presentation strategies – Green brain your presentation. It is not what you do or the outcome of what you do, it is the effect that outcome has. Give your products or services a green brain name. Limit your options/choices to two or three where no is not a choice.
- Starting strategy – “Let’s get you started” Sometimes the window of opportunity is small but you have to take it.
“The modern day consumer is rapidly changing and evolving. They have access to more information than ever before, and they have a greater ability to research, compare and shop around than what was possible for previous generation” Peter Lackovic
Andrew Morello, the Head of Business Development and the winner of the first series of The Apprentice share his story. He admits he is in business to make lots of money so he can pay other people to do things so he can spend more time doing things with the people he loves.
Justine Flynn spoke of her journey creating the Thankyou Group, a social enterprise that exists to fund projects in developing nations. She admitted there were a lots of mistakes made but with a small determined team they battled on and have a great success story that she says is far from over.
Although it was a long day, this free event was a great opportunity to hear inspirational stories, network with some interesting people and listen to some business advice. However, repeatedly asking the crowd “Are you getting this?”, “Write this down” and requesting the single clap of applause wore thin pretty quickly. Also, the selling came through loud and clear.