Fascinating workshop: Hello 2020

Fascinating workshop: Hello 2020

On Thursday 7 November, The Canvas Riversands hosted an inspiring presentation and discussion ‘Hello 2020 Powering Up for the Year Ahead’ led by successful entrepreneur John Paul Waites.

Waites is a straight talker who’s been around the block and is the co-founder and CEO of Worx Group, a leading full-service event management and marketing company.

Starting up with a shoestring budget, he and his wife Kim Winstanley managed to get some funding capital from family but they bootstrapped this business from nothing and he remarked, “We got a few corporate events and just went hard.”

His experiences over the years make him the perfect choice for advising would-be entrepreneurs. He shared some key pieces of advice on what it takes to make it as an entrepreneur and how to market a business.

”An entrepreneur needs to realise things never happen on your schedule. You often focus on how you’re going to grow but you don’t sit back and think about the negative consequences. Journeys are often unmet and those who don’t know how to handle that will fail. As an entrepreneur, you live in two worlds – with failure on one side and success on the other – and you can’t have one without the other.”

John Paul Waites

Waites’ three key tips to becoming an entrepreneur.

  1. You need to have patience and be ready to do this. There’s too many “Just do it” pieces of content that says there’s no perfect starting time – to just jump in – but I’m not convinced that’s the right model. My experience in jumping too soon was that I simply wasn’t ready. I didn’t have the right mentors in place, I wasn’t accurately prepared and I hadn’t worked on my shortcomings. You have to do your preparations in advance and connect properly before you start up. Businesses that succeed are the ones that have done the work. I still have moments today where I’m jumping in – instead of preparing properly – then I have to sit back and fix something I broke along the way. Not being prepared burns budget, time and energy.
  2. You need a genuine network and you must have an understanding of how the industry works. Know where your channels of entry are, who’s going to help you get in there and maintain them.
  3. You have to have a sense of self-awareness – you need to know that you genuinely capable of doing this and you’ve got 20 years of hard work in you. Realise that in this journey, there’s no fall-back plan. Young entrepreneurs often underestimate the burden of the journey and the pressures they’ll face. If you can’t handle the stress you won’t be able to handle the success.

His advice on how start-ups can market their brand effectively:

People tend to look at their ability to execute a job and not execute as an entrepreneur when taking the leap into entrepreneurship. You need to have a whole host of different skill sets, and skills like social media marketing are key.

  1. Target properly – rather be super narrow and oversell to a narrow gauge audience. You need to know who your customer is. Spend an exponential amount of time finding your customer base and then go directly to the market platforms they’re on.
  2. You have to be consistent! Do what you’re going to do consistently, especially if social media is your platform of choice. If your audiences miss you today, then they can catch you next week – but consistency rules. Keep doing the right thing all the time.
  3. Over-prepare on your social media platform – make sure you understand what the platform does and then amplify your message using the tricks and tools that the platform offers. This way you’ll get exponentially better results. Often people don’t understand how these machines work – they just want to push their content out and then it doesn’t get traction – and there’s no point in publishing if you can’t get traction.

My biggest social media tip? Be where your customers are: if they’re on LinkedIn – be on LinkedIn. A good example of this is: Kylie Jenner and her successful billion-dollar make-up business. She built her business on Snapchat and when everyone moved over to Instagram and Instagram Stories she switched over and quickly became one of the most vocal and best users of the platform for her purposes. She built her community quickly and was then able to monetise by selling the product that everyone wanted. Too often people are on every platform all the time, but it’s better to be at the right place at the right time.

But despite the hard work it takes to get there, you can become a successful entrepreneur – if you want it enough.

“This is one of the best and worst times ever to be an entrepreneur or marketer; you have access to global markets and social media is an amazing tool to help you launch your business. You just need to know how to use it properly.”

John Paul Waites