Small And Start up Businesses Are Alive And Well

Josh Hawkins
February 12, 20143 mins read

Good news … small and start up businesses are alive and well in Australia! 

I was lucky enough to be invited to the ‘So you think you can start up’ pitching event organised by Servcorp and ‘Start up Smart’ last Thursday evening in Sydney. 

It was a fantastic event and really highlighted a growing optimism in the market place and some excellent and innovative platforms, products and people. 

There was an expert panel on hand to assess and deliver the results of the evening, the panel consisted of:

  • Jana Matthews - International start up expert
  • Marcus Moufarrige - COO Servcorp
  • Ruslan Kogan - founder Kogan Technologies
  • Hamish Hawthorn - Sydney Angels committee / CEO ATP Innovations
  • Garry Visontay - Sydney Seed Fund

For an industry (Recruitment) that predominantly focuses on blue chip or large business more generally, Kogan Technologies is a great reminder that partnering and assisting SME and start up companies where possible as a supplier of any kind could be the best decision you ever made - Kogan Technologies has become a major player in the market place in only 7 years. 

Jana Matthews provided some excellent advice that was targeted at assisting people looking to start up but actually I believe there is a relatively universal application in just getting your ideas across and taken seriously. Jana offered the following advice:

  • Have a clear and sizeable market and target audience
  • Product/Service/Idea – is it a solution to a problem and does it meet a need?
  • Does it have the ability to get traction with your market or audience?

Whether you are pitching a business, product or just an idea at work, you need to apply the above. 

For me as I have a focus on the retail and FMCG sectors, it was interesting to hear Ruslan’s outlook on retail businesses – physical, online and omni-channel. This topic is particularly interesting for me following my previous blogs on Online Vs Brick and Mortar Retail.

He puts a view forward that omni-channel doesn’t exist really – this is just a physical retailer with a website essentially. To enforce this notion, Ruslan highlighted price point as the first hurdle to the idea of omni-channel retail – a view I also agree with. 

The dilemma is that if: 

  • You match the prices in store with your online presence – people can check it out on your site, put it into a search engine and find it cheaper via other pure online retailers instantly = No sale.
  • Alternatively you can lower the online price to compete with purely online retailers but then if you do that why would anyone make a purchase in store? = No sale.

Ruslan went on to highlight that you cannot look to companies like Apple as an omni-channel retailer as they are in fact a product business. They make very popular products and sell online and in a physical store as people will pay the same price from any channel as it is the specific Apple products that are desired. 

Thus from this I would agree that omni-channel retail doesn’t exist, at least in the traditional retail model, it is actually a term applied to product businesses that are vertically integrated with a direct go to market strategy. Not a traditional ‘buy for this much, sell for this much’ retailer.

The big question is what does this mean for traditional retail? Will the high street just be full of super desirable products as price point is not the focus with everything else utilising an online platform? 

I would be interested to hear your comments and experiences.

Josh Hawkins's picture
Associate Manager
jhawkins@morganmckinley.com