Tony is 1st Time mentor for startup weekend, and wishes that it was around when he set up a few ventures. Some have failed and some have been successful allowing a range of experiences to pass on. After taking some time off for family and further education, set out on a consultancy role and then finding himself directly in the IT industry and the growth/ opportunities that this offers for business and its people.
Tony has a variety of experiences ranging in founder roles, sweat equity positions and numerous management roles spreading across a variety of industries and organisation sizes. This broad base of experiences from around the globe right back to his home town of Tauranga within the commercial and Not for profit sectors has resulted in Tony becoming a BESTCOPS with knowledge in:
Business and people growth (innovation/process, procedure efficiency).
EBIT and financial management.
Stakeholder communication & Management engagement (people focused leadership)
Tactical and Strategy development, management and execution
Systems development and business direction
Tell us a bit about your adventures in the entrepreneurial world so far.
A: Mixed bag of dos and don’ts and lessons learnt along the way. Not a serial entrepreneur per say, as the best things I have probably produced are my kids… but they don’t make money!
Founded and sold businesses in UK and NZ as well as founded and abandoned some in between! Been involved with seed capital or sweat equity, across different industries and services from sports and recreation, speed dating and tourism ventures through to technology and franchising a network and referral based organisation.
Many lessons have been heard, seen, tried, tested, failed and succeeded and have also held appointments in sales, operations and project related teams. Having been an employee, consultant and contractor from startups through to multinational companies, have been involved with business from a variety of levels.
What are the elements of starting up a business that get you most excited?
A: The drive and passion that is exuded during this process. The excitement of providing a product or service to make lives easier, better, comfortable, enjoyable etc. is a great reason to get out of bed and make a difference. The process of market validation to the first customer acquisition are the exciting times…… this is when you know you may have something that could be a viable offering or where you can find a gap to fill. The start up time for a company is a time of examining and re-examining what you can best offer customers and adapting to make it a success.
What is the most important thing that you think entrepreneurs should know?
A: Do what you love to do!
Set goals, Keep it brief, keep it thorough, allocate and set deadlines, know the market, surround yourself with people smarter than you and work harder than anyone else you know.
Don’t undervalue yourself or your product/ service.
Also ensure adequate financial planning is made, don’t let the enthusiasm, excitement and passion lead to a belief that profits will start from day one.
How can you help Tauranga’s Startup Weekend participants?
A: I am hoping to look at teams involved and determine what part of the process from design through to execution I can assist with. Have the ultimate goal of seeing teams producing a viable product at the end. I am not going to fish for budding entrepreneurs, but am aiming to help them throw out their own lines to fish for themselves.
Why should someone who has been thinking about a business idea go to Tauranga Startup Weekend?
A: No business plan can foresee the future with 100% accuracy, situations change and potential difficulties arise. Many great ideas don’t get started due to fear, uncertainty or lack of knowledge. This weekend can ease the pain of getting that idea out there. Mundane money makers – something your customers can’t do, don’t want to do, don’t have the time to do, or can’t get done well elsewhere.