Panel chat ends Bootcamp
Three WA entrepreneurs shared their tips and advice with local business people keen to pursue their career dreams in an engaging panel discussion to finish the 2017 Pilbara Business Bootcamp.
In a session facilitated by Karratha & Districts Chamber of Commerce & Industry president Kylah Morrison, panellists Kara Lauder — Kader Boot Co-founder, Margaret River Discovery co-owner/operator Sean Blocksidge and start-up Cribber co-founder Jasmin Ward opened up about the contributors to their success, what prompted them to take their first steps as entrepreneurs and their advice for other business founders.
Mrs Lauder was a stand out, providing a Pilbara perspective on her experience of starting a western boot business from her home in Paraburdoo. The enterprise was seeing rising customer demand, had taken her on a promotional trip to Hollywood for the 2017 Academy Awards and country music star Kirsty Lee Akers had come aboard as a brand ambassador.
She said putting in the time and effort to craft a top quality product had been key to her success.
“Having a great product just speaks for itself. I spent six years getting the product right,” she said. “A lot of people seem to think it’s an overnight thing that you can just have a product and you can sell it but I think you really need to believe (in it) and you have to work hard.
“After six years we’re so happy with our boots. People try them on and want to buy another one. Then they tell their friends about them and it’s other people talking about your product that will sell it more than anything I can put out on social media.”
She encouraged small businesses to collaborate with similar companies that were not competitors to help each other succeed.
Mr Blocksidge said the internet and the opportunities it presented for marketing directly to customers had been the biggest factor in the success of his regional tourism company, which consistently rates as the number one Margaret River tourist experience on TripAdvisor.
“I work pretty hard on social media, I’m on Facebook and Instagram. That would be the key focus for me,” he said.
“Yes you have to run great tours, all the business behind the scenes has got to be fabulous, but it’s very much about having a focus on digital for me.”
Ms Ward recommended seeking out a big company, such as Woodside in Cribber’s case, as a partner or advocate and being persistent about pursuing them.
Mrs Morrison said the panel segment, a regular fixture of the Business Bootcamp, allowed guests to ask questions of entrepreneurs about the early stages of their careers.
Pilbara Business Bootcamp panellists Sean Blocksidge, Jasmin Ward and Kara Lauder.