The Naked CEO – Heinz Australia

Judith Swales, Managing Director of Heinz Australia, shares her insights on childhood lessons, innovating a heritage brand and what she looks for in a graduate with The Naked CEO Alex Malley and student diarist Adam Rosenberg.

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Comment on leadership

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We’re lagging in innovation

 We’re lagging in innovation

Vince Chadwick

January 19, 2012

Cutting edge … countries with the best reputation for innovation.

WHEN it comes to innovation, Australia seems to have an image problem.

That’s the assessment from studies released by Thomas Edison’s old company, General Electric.

The GE Global Innovation Barometer ranked Australia’s status as an innovation leader 16th out of 30 countries. Only 2 per cent of 2800 senior executives surveyed worldwide mentioned Australia as an innovation champion.

However, 18 per cent of Australian business leaders nominated their own country.

”There’s a disconnect between local reality and international perceptions,” said GE’s Australian vice-president for strategy and growth, Michael Ackland.

He cited the 86 per cent of local executives who agreed that innovation was the main lever for a more competitive economy, though 92 per cent did so globally.

Another study commissioned by GE from the Milken Institute, an independent researcher, found Australia led the world in five of seven innovation indicators such as university-industry collaboration and research and development spending.

According to the Innovation Barometer, however, only 28 per cent of Australian executives said research and development corresponded to their personal definition of innovation. Globally the figure was 41 per cent.

Before 2008 the Milken study found business was the main driver of research spending in Australia.

”With our spending at 2.2 per cent of GDP, Australia still comes in below the OECD average, but it is rapidly closing the gap,” the study said.

Thirty-one per cent of Australian executives felt the innovation environment had worsened in the past five years, while 66 per cent said government support for innovation was not efficiently organised.

This was despite the federal government’s 2009 white paper Powering Ideas: An Innovation Agenda for the 21st Century.

The dean of UTS Business School, Professor Roy Green, said the government’s research and development rebate was having some effect, but he said the commodity boom was breeding complacency.

”I’m not surprised if the perception is we are well down the ladder,” he said. ”Behind the massive returns from our terms of trade, we are witnessing the structural deterioration of our economy.”

Professor Green said that Australia’s ”high-cost, high-dollar environment” underscored the importance of emulating countries such as Sweden, which produced high-quality products.

”If we’re going to compete on cost, then we’re finished,” he said. ”We must move up the value chain and plug into global supply and global markets.”

The US took out top spot in the Global Innovation Barometer ranking, with 65 per cent

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/small-business/entrepreneur/were-lagging-in-innovation-20120119-1q7bn.html#ixzz1nAUzD3gI

 

The Six Disciplines Entrepreneurs Need To Succeed

“Another important discipline involves proper planning. Creating a business plan in the beginning will raise your likelihood of future success because it forces you to think about and plan for critical issues you will face down the road. Furthermore, by devoting time to planning each year, you will be better equipped to adapt to changing market conditions.“

Entrepreneur-success-1000x700

When starting out in business, you may be able to fumble your way to short-term success if you have a good product and a measure of business savvy. If you want to experience long-term success, however, there are some core disciplines that must be learned and executed. At some point (sooner is better than later), you will need to become skilled in the following six areas:

1. Conducting Market Research: Doing market research will provide you with key information about the industry in which you operate. It will also help you develop your business plan and adapt it over time. Adequate market research includes, at a minimum, the following areas:

  • Industry: Trends, main competition, growth rates, sales figures

  • Competition: Profile your competitors; examine the good and bad points about their operations

  • Ideal Customers: Their demographics, geographic locations, typical profile

2. Testing Your Ideas: Starting a new business or launching a new product can be intimidating, but it’s also very exciting. Sometimes the excitement causes entrepreneurs to over-commit time and resources on untested or unproven ideas. This is a recipe for failure.

Find ways to test every idea before rolling it out. With the Internet, testing an idea does not have to be difficult or expensive. Search engines and social networks provide some incredible tools that can be used to effectively test and perfect business ideas.

3. Developing Business Plans: Another important discipline involves proper planning. Creating a business plan in the beginning will raise your likelihood of future success because it forces you to think about and plan for critical issues you will face down the road. Furthermore, by devoting time to planning each year, you will be better equipped to adapt to changing market conditions.

There are several mobile and desktop applications that make creating business plans much simpler than it used to be.

4. Saving vs. Spending: It’s easy to spend money on a new venture, and many entrepreneurs overspend in the beginning. Because it can take a while to get established and begin generating revenue on a consistent basis, it is wise to maintain a cushion at all times. A new business owner should have at least six months of operating costs socked away before going into business.

5. The Art of Negotiating: Knowing how to negotiate is one of the most powerful skills an entrepreneur can acquire. When opportunities arise, you must know how to negotiate for lower prices when buying and higher prices when selling. If negotiating is not one of your strengths, study the art of negotiating and practice doing it whenever you get the chance.

6. Mental Toughness: If you’re not resilient, you won’t be able to bounce back from the setbacks that you will face. Every entrepreneur inevitably faces setbacks and failures. Some will be small, and some will be so big that they will seem overwhelming. You must cultivate mental toughness and the determination to press on despite obstacles if you’re going to survive in the business world.

Last Word

You have the ability to build a successful business. Thousands of people have done it who have no more ability than you do. To succeed, they simply learned the necessary behaviors to make their dreams a reality, and consistently took action to reach their goals. You can do the same.

Source – Forbes

Australian manufacturing is not dead

Here are 3 case studies how some Australian manufacturers are coping with the high Australian dollar and high labour costs on Australia.

08:19:00 21/06/2013

Diversification the key to survival for Australian manufacturers

Is there a place for old-style manufacturing in Australia’s future? Spring-making may seem like old fashioned manufacturing, but like many of the businesses we’ve heard from this week, to survive and be a success the Jubilee Spring company at Ourimbah on the New South Wales Central Coast has had to adapt and innovate. Managing director John Guest’s advice is: diversify. MORE

08:24:00 21/06/2013

Weir Minerals relocates to exploit mining boom

Times are tough for Australian manufacturing even though the Australian dollar has fallen from its recent highs. But while some companies are struggling to survive by going off-shore, a big US company is reversing the trend. Weir Minerals has moved its divisional headquarters to Australia to be closer to the production phase of the mining boom. MORE

08:26:00 21/06/2013

Manufacturing workforce shrinking

The Prime Minister’s taskforce into manufacturing found that 100,000 jobs have been lost since 2008. Those companies that aren’t struggling or have gone under are operating well below capacity. It concludes that Australia is looking down the barrel of imminent danger of large job losses and a loss of capabilities as the workforce shrinks. Shane Infanti is the CEO of the Australian Manufacturing Technology Institute. He’s not sure if Australia is over the worst of it and he says there needs to be more industry-led research. MORE

ABC – AM 21/6/2013

Questions

  1. What are the problems faced by Australian manufacturers.  Make sure you give examples in your answer.
  2. What strategies are being used by successful businesses in these difficult economic conditions?

10 communication tactics for entrepreneurs

A few years ago, my accountant, who is also self-employed, shared his definition of an entrepreneur:

“I am a self-employed individual working for a lunatic.”

As I mark this proud milestone, I have taken time to reflect on the entrepreneurial roller coaster I have ridden.

Here are 10 communication tactics every small business owner must know:

1. You must know how to sell. Too many people decide to hang their shingle out only to learn they don’t know bubkus about sales. Entrepreneurs must be diligent at developing the self-confidence, attitude,   discipline, and perseverance to ask people to hand over their hard-earned money.

2. You must live the ‘publish or perish’ mentality. In my pre-blogging days, I wrote bylined articles for trade publications and membership newsletters. Early on, I landed a spot as a columnist for the Princeton (NJ) Business Journal. I generated content and built my credibility. My volunteer gig lasted more than two years, and ended when the paper merged with another publication.   

 3. You must be willing to speak in public. You were brave enough to launch a small business. There’s no time for being shy or nervous. Partner with a networking group to be the guest expert at a meeting, conference, or webinar. You’ll be front and center with dozens of potential prospects interested in your topic. Beats cold-calling.

4. You must be able to validate others.  Validation is an acknowledgement that the other person (your prospect or client) is being heard. Validation is proof that you are listening. For example:  “I can imagine that the loss of your vendor has been difficult.”

 5. You must know how to ask for what you need.  No one expects you to know everything. That’s why there are contact lists, databases, and rolodexes filled with names of people who can provide products and services to you. Get rid of this self-induced pressure and be willing to speak up. Asking for help is a sign of a true leader.

6. You must be able to identify your ideal customers. This is accomplished by self-communication. Ask yourself: Who do I enjoy working with? What niche am I passionate about? Who needs my expertise? Do these people have the budget or resources to pay me?

7. You must have thick skin. People can be awfully mean. They say crap that’s not helpful or positive. Entrepreneurs are so fully vested in their own businesses that it’s hard not to take things personally. Don’t take the BS to heart.

8. You must communicate patience when educating people. Clients do business with you because you offer a valuable product or service that they want or need.  You, on the other hand, are entrenched in your niche or business and will have to slow down to educate those who don’t know all the ins and outs like you do.

9. You must develop charisma. Charisma is that special charm or personality trait that draws people to you. Self-confidence, along with a friendly and easy demeanor, will take you a long way in business.

10. You must be willing to reinvent yourself. Chances are you are planning to be self-employed for a long time. Businesses and people change. It’s a given. How can you effectively communicate changes in your messages and direction, without alienating people?

Cheers to the brave small business owners around the world!

What have you learned along the journey?

Source :

Susan Young
getinfrontcommunications.com x
syoung@getinfrontcommunications.com

Stewart plans $30m skyrail

ENTREPRENEUR Errol Stewart wants to build a $30 million skyrail over Launceston, which he thinks would make a profit and become one of Australia’s top tourist attractions.

Mr Stewart said yesterday he looked at the project several years ago and shelved it, but the state government’s new tourism campaign, released this week, prompted him to have another look.

Mr Stewart said his proposal offered a 12-kilometre round trip with a stop in the middle, and passengers would glide about 15 metres above the trees. He said it could start at his newly planned silo hotel, beside the North Esk River opposite the Seaport. It would head across the Tamar River and up Cataract Gorge as far as the suspension bridge.

“It would be an iconic must-do travel destination,” Mr Stewart said.  “The trip would take an hour, employ plenty of people (probably 50) but it would  be a must-do if you came to Australia.”

The cost breakdown is: 80 towers at $250,000 (total of $20 million), two  stations at $2 million (total $4 million), cable and carriage cost totalling $5 million, $1 million in other costs, for a project cost of $30 million.

Infrastructure Minister David O’Byrne said the government was  focused on diversifying Tasmania’s economy, “by playing to our state’s natural economic strengths”.

“That’s why we support business through funding programs like the Tasmanian Innovation and Investment Fund,” Mr O’Byrne said.

The Examiner 25 March 2013