A postcard from Sydney
Posted: Tue 13th Dec 2011
Sometimes you have to go a long way to make notes on what needs to be done closer to home. Today I found myself taking a seat in the Sydney Convention Centre to attend the Growth Faculty Event on Unwrapping Genius to listen to a line-up of business, social and screen stars including Martha Stewart, Muhammad Yunus and George Clooney. This line-up of inspiring individuals did not disappoint. One after the next they offered their stories and points of advice on topics ranging from leadership to innovation. Here's a few take-away comments and tips:
Martha Stewart - be where your customer is
Martha Stewart gave credit to her curiosity as the basis for building a lifestyle empire. What's also important, she said, "is to be where the customer is and give them what they want and need". Sounds simple but worth reminding ourselves of this key business basic.
Muhammed Yunus - do the opposite
On a different note and entity, Muhammad Yunus told the story of how he built the Grameen Bank and 50-plus other businesses to serve the needs of a nation. "When launching Grameen Bank, I looked at what the other banks were doing and did the opposite," said the man who can credit 97 per cent repayment rates on loans to 8.3 million people. The work of the Grameen Bank did not stop at business loans; the operation is now involved in supplying clean water, nutritional yoghurt, electricity and affordable shoes to a receptive population through joint ventures with large corporates and in the form of social business.
Russell Simmons - spot the 'wide space opportunity'
Hip Hop entrepreneur and Chairman of Rush Communications, Russell Simmons, is also in the business of financial services and about to buy a TV channel to bring entertainment to his market of urban youth. His was a story of building a business by spotting what he often referred to as 'wide space opportunity' and filling the gap that wasn't being filled by large and established corporates.
George Clooney - shine your light on others
George Clooney was up next. What can I say? The hall filled and he spoke with charm and grace about the humanitarian projects in which he is involved. One of his more poignant points was on how celebrities make the most of the hot light that shines on them to deflect some of the light so it shines on those who need it but don't receive it. He was charming, funny and modest. And yes, undeniably a delight to listen to and look at.
The power of individuals to effect change
A clear comment from all speakers, delivered in their own personal style, was on the power of individuals to effect change and generate profit. And what a contribution they are each making; from Martha Stewart who helps Americans (and an increasing number of other nationalities) build and maintain beautiful homes to Professor Yunus who is helping millions of Bangladeshis equip themselves to improve their own lives. One could not help but be inspired and having heard their stories, I'd like to suggest there are three key take-aways for you in your own business which are:
Pursue your passion
Deliver with honesty
Oh and do attend events that provide you with the time and space to work on your business rather than in it. It's an individual investment well worth making! Emma Jones is founder of Enterprise Nation Photo credit: Candice Kao