Amidst the doom and gloom of the pandemic and what it means for the economy, two business experts say now is the time for people to harness their ingenuity and ideas to scale and grow their businesses.
Tommy McCubbin, a creative director and author of the tech podcast “Future Sandwich,” and Steve Sammartino a self-proclaimed tech nerd, global speaker, and futurist, believe ingenuity will reboot the global economy. The two thought leaders have launched a new TV series to give digital enterprises the tools they need to scale.
With the help of sponsor Shopify Plus, the series, “The Rebound” is set to inspire and motivate people to scale their big idea into a successful business to ultimately help everyone get back on their feet following the pandemic. The show will air on Saturdays across Australia.
As Sammartino says, the pair recognized there was an opportunity for someone to come in and offer a much more technology-based, optimistic, and high-energy way of inspiring people for better business in 2021.
“Schools don’t teach people to be entrepreneurs, they teach people to be employees. We don’t think people are given enough credit for what they are capable of. So we want to take some of the stuff that's been off-piste, and bring it into the mainstream and give people the opportunity and the credit that they actually can evolve and grow if they're given the tools and the knowledge to do it,” Sammartino says.
“This is a revolution which enables possibility, and we don't think enough people know about it. We want to hand this knowledge over and provide inspiration to everyone to become experts in their own right and grow that business they have always dreamed of, or scale the enterprise they’ve started.”
It’s time to up the education about ‘entrepreneurial ethic’
Sammartino and McCubbin say it will be this entrepreneurial ethic that will save the global economy.
Most people don’t lack ideas, they simply lack confidence.
“People need an understanding of finance and business and the factors of production. We're trying to demystify all this so that people can understand a job is only one revenue source, and is the only one you ever hear of at school. But I can think of at least a dozen other sources. You don't need a ‘job.’ What you need is a sustainable revenue stream,” Sammartino says.
Scaling a business has never been easier, thanks to technology
The pair also say conducting business on the internet is now easier thanks to the various technologies available, and people do not need to be experts in tech to grow.
“We all used to be entrepreneurs before the Industrial Revolution, because less than 5% of people were employees then. Everyone ran their own businesses 200 years ago, and we want to bring it back. All you need is a minimal viable proposition,” McCubbin says.
“And that's where technology like Shopify fits in. Everyone keeps saying: ‘We just don’t know the tech bit, but we plugged in Shopify and all of a sudden we're up and away’. This is the ethic everyone needs to understand—you don’t need to know absolutely everything. You don't need to be good at everything to have a successful business.”
“For some reason in the digital revolution, everyone thinks they need to know how to code or be a tech expert,” Sammartino adds.
“I mean, we've all been driving cars around for 100 years, but who the hell knows how they work? No one,” he says. “So why are we thinking we need to know how to code or do the back end of an app, or understand what goes inside a laptop? We don't need to know everything. Collaborate, outsource your weaknesses, that’s what growth is all about.”
Shopify Plus brand, Frank Body, is a prime example of leveraging technology to scale an online business to global success.
It had a minimal viable proposition—to create a body scrub out of coffee grounds and essential oils, but had a limited idea about manufacturing or distribution.
It started small: mixing up, packaging, and mailing its product by hand. It hadn’t found a manufacturing partner in time and the orders were flowing through so it used a cement mixer to create the product, taking orders to the post office at lunchtime to post. As orders grew globally, however, the enterprise needed to scale. Packaging and logistics needed to become more sophisticated while retaining the brand feel.
“We had a product customers couldn’t try and see on the shelf, and pick it up and test it,” Steve Rowley, CEO of Frank Body, said. “And we wanted the least barrier to purchase with a low price point and free shipping, which we achieved by using a squish packet of [fewer] than two centimeters which goes through the Australia Post system as a large letter rather than as a parcel.”
On day four, their business went global. “We had to battle a lot of challenges... we didn’t know how to ship an order to Sweden, for example, yet we had the order sitting there. We had problems that needed solving very quickly to make sure we met customer demand.”
“The great thing is being an ecommerce business you can appear larger than you are, and your website is the customer reference for who you are and what you’re doing."
"We were just making it up as we went along, and that’s the idea of bootstrapping and just getting it done.”
Rebound’s top tips for success
- You do not need permission from anyone to become an entrepreneur or scale your business globally
- People underestimate the ability to navigate and make meaningful connections on the internet
- You need a big idea—something complementary to who you are and what you’ve learnt. The idea also needs to fill a gap in the market and serve a need. Ideally, Rebound advocates for being a master of at least one theme of your proposed business.
- You don’t need to know everything about it or be a tech expert. Work to your strengths and outsource your weaknesses.
- You don’t have to do everything by yourself; we are a collaborative species. Gather a great team around you with relevant skills.
Rebound, sponsored by Shopify Plus, will air every Saturday from Nov. 14 to Dec. 19, 2020.